Finn Wields a Lightsaber in New "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Footage
Conventions | Comic-Con International is seeking a new sponsor for Artists’ Alley after DeviantArt, the sponsor of the area for the past two years, withdrew support. In a letter sent Wednesday to exhibitors, organizers said they are seeking a new sponsor and remain committed to Artists’ Alley. Heidi MacDonald provides context, noting that the development comes amid ongoing fears about the future of Artists’ Alley, which occupies valuable floor space in an exhibition hall starving for more. [The Beat]
Political cartoons | Michael Cavna has issued an open for cartoonists to draw cartoons in support of imprisoned Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, and tweet them with the hashtag #Draw4Atena. Robert Rusell, executive director of Cartoonist Rights Network International, has written an open letter to the leaders of Iran asking them to intervene. [Comic Riffs]
Word of the investment first trickled out in late September, but documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday offer the first details. The figure was confirmed by GigaOm. Autodesk is now deviantARTt’s largest investor.
DeviantART entered into a partnership in April with Madefire, allowing the community’s members to make their own motion comics using Madefire’s tools, and then distribute them through deviantART and the Madefire’s app. What will come from the Autodesk investment is unknown.
“Sometimes what you get out of an investment or a partnership doesn’t have to be very tangible,” Autodesk’s Samir Hanna, who will join the deviantART board, told Techcrunch in September. “If that happens, well, we have all sorts of tools that artists use. If they choose to use our tools, that’s great, but that is not something that we would be pushing for.”
DeviantART claims 27.8 million users and 2.5 billion page views per month.
Artist Stjepan Šejić is no stranger to drawing the female form: He’s made a name for himself with that on such Top Cow titles as Witchblade and the current series Aphrodite IX. But what he does in his off time seems arguably more exciting than even a green-haired assassin or a supernatural female cop. It’s called Sunstone.
Serialized on his DeviantArt page, the slice-of-life comic is a collaboration between Šejić and his wife, writer Linda Luksic-Šejić. It revolves around a lesbian romance but is set inside the risque world of fetishism. In the opening dialogue of the comic, the primary character Lisa describes it pretty aptly, although tongue-in-cheek, with this: “Dear reader, this is the story of how I met the woman of my life, the one that compli … Wait, don’t leave yet! This book has lots of Hot Lesbian Bondage Sex!!!! Good … That got your attention …”
Manga | The recent move by a Japanese school board to restrict student access to Keiji Nakazawa’s Barefoot Gen has resulted in a surge in sales of the book — so much so that the publishers had to increase their reprint numbers by a factor of three, bookstores are reporting shortages, and an e-book distributor expects it to make the Top 10 this month. As we noted Monday, the board has reversed its policy. [The Mainichi]
Digital comics | Marvel has updated its Marvel Unlimited app for iOS and Android, addressing the two chief user complaints by doubling the number of comics that can be downloaded and read offline from six to 12 and improving searchability by allowing users to search by publication date. [PC Magazine]
That means creators will be able to make their own motion comics using Madefire’s tools, and then distribute them through deviantART and the Madefire’s app. DeviantART also has a new Motion Books section in which visitors can preview a dozen Madefire titles previously only available on the company’s iOS app, and purchase chapters for 10 cents each (they remain free through the app for a limited time).
Last Friday, Sean Murphy and a host of comic artists and animators joined forces on Twitter for a live chat about exhibiting at conventions, copyright law and the issues of being a working illustrator. Partnered with deviantART, the group included artists Murphy, Eric Canete, Jeff Wamester and Chris Copeland and copyright lawyer Josh Wattles.
The chat came together following Murphy’s blog post “5 Reasons To Write,” which created quite the fervor in the artist community. DeviantART, who hosts his blog, reached out to Murphy and used that post as a launching pad for the discussion. Although the chat is finished, readers can view it by searching Twiter for “#daChat” and looking at the Sept. 28 tweets.
Pretty much since the Womanthology initiative began, Robot 6 has done its best to cover it. A few weeks back, some questions came about how the money raised for the Womanthology project was to be spent and further questions resulted based on the response to the concerns. Rather than stand on the sidelines as the discussion played out, I contacted Womanthology organizers to see if an email interview was possible. Laura Morley, Womanthology’s project administrator, was willing to take my questions. Thanks to Morley for her time, as well as to Michael May, Sean T. Collins and Graeme McMillan for interview prep support.
Tim O’Shea: Laura, how did you come to be involved with Womanthology?
Laura Morley: I’m an aspiring comics writer, and saw the original tweet Renae De Liz sent out in May, seeking women to contribute comics to an anthology for charity. I hadn’t actually crossed paths with Renae back then, and saw the message via someone else’s retweet – I wish I could remember whose, so I could thank them! It’s been an amazing experience for me. Then, since I’m one of those perverse people who gets a kick out of wrangling spreadsheets, I sent an email offering to help out with admin for the project – from that I wound up coordinating the admin effort, which has meant acting as a first point of contact for our contributors and our Kickstarter backers. You can also hear me sounding British on the Womanthology Kickstarter video.
O’Shea: Can you explain how it came to be that there is a hardback anthology and a sketchbook associated with Womanthology?
Morley: Publishing a hardcover volume was the plan from the beginning. The book is going to be pretty hefty – it’s over 300 pages long, on a 9×12 inch format, and we wanted to make something truly elegant that would serve as a good vehicle for the beautiful work inside. The sketchbook came about, I believe, as an opportunity to showcase some more of the work by our creators. Some contributors preferred to draw pinups than full stories, and some wanted to do both; some writers wanted to share samples from their scripts – we thought this would be a good way to get more of it out to the audience it deserves.
Tomorrow, the Game of Thrones is afoot once more. After six long years of waiting (longer, in the case of some characters), A Dance with Dragons — the fifth volume in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire, the first volume of which, A Game of Thrones, being the inspiration for the hit HBO series — will finally be released. Personally, I’ll be so cut off from the Internet in order to read the thing that you’ll have to reach me by raven. But until then, let’s celebrate the publication of this long-anticipated hope-it’s-a-masterpiece with a gallery of the best Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire art the Internet has to offer. Please note: If all you’ve seen is the TV show, there are some mild SPOILERS ahead in the form of characters you haven’t met and, in a couple of cases (though nothing major, so don’t panic) events you haven’t seen. Just avoid that map at the bottom and you’re all set.
Many thanks to Zack Soto’s The Wall Defends Itself tumblr, Kris Mukai & Maritsa Patrinos’s Game of Thrones minizine, the #Winterfell deviantART community, and Elio & Linda of Westeros.org for helping me discover many of these treasures.
Check out the whole gallery after the jump — click on any image to go to its original source, or as close to it as I could get! And please, NO SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS, for any book in the series. I will be very strict about this. Longsword-swinging strict.
Publishing | Arune Singh, Marvel’s director of communications, addresses how Marvel works with media outlets to break major storyline news and in many cases spoil the story, like Ultimate Spider-Man dying. Their goal is to hopefully bring lapsed or non-fans into stores: “When we line up this kind of mainstream media coverage, it’s offering the promise of breaking this big news to the outlet. It’s with the knowledge that they’ll be the ones making the headlines, being referenced by other sites and getting the attention. But if we wait till the story breaks or the Wednesday books go on-sale, someone else is going to buy the issue early in the morning and break the news. Is it possible that mainstream outlets will still pick up on the news then? Yes, it’s possible. But the only way to guarantee that big, sweeping placement worldwide — as you’ve seen with the Death of Spider-Man — is to break it before anyone has a chance. And that kind of placement is, as I mentioned above, what will get us attention from outside the industry.” [ComicsAlliance]
Retailing | Toronto retailer Chris Butcher worries about how well the two late Green Lantern movie prequel comics — one shipping this week, one shipping in August — will sell so long after the film’s release. He also discusses the lateness of the final issue of the War of the Green Lanterns crossover, which won’t come out until after the epilogue story in this week’s Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11. [Comics212]
As reported in What Are You Reading?, I am a huge, huge, huge fan of writer George R.R. Martin’s bold, bloody, brilliant epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. And I pretty much can’t wait for HBO’s adaptation of the series, Game of Thrones, which stars Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Mark Addy, and Lena Headey and hits televisions on April 17. Finally, of course, I like comics and cartooning. So here’s a two-great-tastes-that-taste-great-together situation if ever there was one: deviantARTist Gianluca Maconi’s A Song of Ice and Fire gallery, featuring drawings of many of the major characters. That’s the black-clad bastard son Jon Snow and his direwolf Ghost above; click the link for Maconi’s vivaciously drawn takes on the rest of the Stark family, the Lannister siblings, King Robert Baratheon, Danaerys Targaryen and more. (And if you’re curious about the books but aren’t convinced they’re worth your while, allow me to make the case.) Winter can’t come soon enough.