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You can still get every Dark Horse ‘Star Wars’ comic for $300

dark-horse-star-wars2

The hours are ticking down not just on 2014, but also on Dark Horse’s Star Wars license. However, before the publisher says goodbye to a galaxy far, far away, it’s having one epic final sale, dubbed the Star Wars Farewell Megabundle.”

How epic? How about digital versions of every Star Wars comic published by Dark Horse over the past two decades, for $300? That amounts to about 50 percent off the entire digital library. That’s everything from 1991’s Star Wars: Dark Empire to 2014’s The Star Wars, and everything in between – Legacy, The Clone Wars, The Old Republic. All of them.

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Comics A.M. | Theakston threatens action against Kirby Museum

Jack Kirby Museum

Jack Kirby Museum

Legal | Illustrator Greg Theakston tells The Comics Journal that during his Christmas vacation, he plans to file a police complaint against the Jack Kirby Museum and Research Center, alleging it stole about 3,000 photocopies of Kirby’s pencil work. Theakston gave the photocopies to the museum, but he contends it was intended to be a loan, while the museum says it was an outright donation. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because Theakston has been threatening legal action since August. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Paul Tumey posts a charming series of letters from Pogo creator Walt Kelly to a young pen pal (who had a pet alligator named Albert), along with plenty of backstory. [The Comics Journal]

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Comics A.M. | Two charged in theft of $5,000 worth of comics

Crime

Crime

Crime | Police in San Antonio, Texas, arrested two men on Friday on charges of stealing $5,000 worth of comics from a local collector. After the robbery, the collector contacted local comic shops and asked them to keep an eye out for the stolen goods. Several retailers gave police information, including a license plate number, that led to the arrests of Gino Saenz and Jose Gonzalez on charges of theft. [San Antonio Express-News]

Digital comics | Humble Bundle sold $3 million worth of DRM-free digital comics in 2014, the first year in which the company included e-books and comics in its bundles. Total e-book revenues were $4.75 million, of which $1.2 million went to charity (including the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund). That may sound like a lot of money, but as director of e-books Kelley Allen said, “The numbers generated by the book bundles look like a rounding error in comparison to video games,” because the audience for the latter is so vast. Humble Bundle’s e-books are DRM-free, which has been a stumbling block for traditional book publishers, but comics publishers are more flexible, Allen said. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Creator loses original art, more in car break-in

Josh C. Lyman

Josh C. Lyman

Crime | Artist Josh C. Lyman reports that thieves broke into his car sometime on Monday or Tuesday and stole about 40 pieces of original art (some of it commissioned), 1,200 prints, plus convention setup materials, art supplies and clothes. “I’m more devastated in the fact my originals are all gone … some of my better non-commissioned work of the last 3 years … along with all of my tools I have earned and acquired during the aforementioned periods. Tshirts and the like I can slowly replace … but it’s the matter of having all this potential art for shows gone; along with all the posters I had left,” he writes. Lyman contacted police and has notified local comic shops to keep an eye out for the missing work, and he has posted images of the stolen art. [Facebook, via Bleeding Cool]

Censorship | Rachael Jolley takes a long and wide view of the pressures that political cartoonists are subject to, looking at several recent attempts to suppress editorial cartoonists as well as the history of tensions between creators of political cartoons and those they portray; the article also includes comments from Neil Gaiman on the topic of censorship. [The New Statesman]

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Fighting sexual violence in India with ‘Priya’s Shakti’

Priya coverPriya’s Shakti is a comic that aims to change the world, or at least, one part of it.

The creation of writer Ram Devenini and artist Dan Goldman, Priya’s Shakti uses elements of Indian religion and mythology to take on the difficult topic of rape and send a strong message that it’s a crime and the victim is not to be blamed for it. The comic tells the story of a rape survivor who’s cast out by her family, a situation that angers the gods; the resolution comes with a call to action.

The comic is available for free on comiXology and debuts in print this week at the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention. However, it’s not limited by the usual distribution structures: As Devenini explains to ROBOT 6, the creators have partnered with the Indian charitable trust Apne Aap Women Worldwide to get the title out to girls in classrooms and communities far from comics shops. They also painted street murals in Mumbai that include an augmented reality feature; when viewed with a smart phone, parts of the murals are animated.

I spoke with Devenini and Goldman about making the comic, the special features, and how they plan to spread the word.

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Comics A.M. | The mystique of the Marvel writers’ retreat

Marvel

Marvel

Publishing | Alex Abad-Santos examines how Marvel has created a mystique around its writers’ retreats, using the necessary secrecy to transform the planning meetings “into something fans are genuinely interested in.” The piece goes beyond that, however, touching upon recent accusations of sexism, and the inclusion of newly Marvel-exclusive writer G. Willow Wilson in this month’s retreat. [Vox]

Comics | Matt Cavna interviews Matt Bors, editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which has become the go-to site for journalism and commentary in comics form. [Comic Riffs]

Best of the year | The Publishers Weekly critics vote for the best graphic novels of the year; Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer tops the list, and there are plenty of interesting suggestions as books that got even one or two votes are included. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | U.K. publisher Great Beast to close

Great Beast

Great Beast

Publishing | The British independent publisher Great Beast, which has released the work of Dan Berry, Marc Ellerby and Isabel Greenberg, among others, will close on Jan. 7. Founded in 2012 by Ellerby and Adam Cadwell, the publisher was something of a victim of its own success, as Cadwell explains: “As the group got bigger, as the books became more successful and as we widened the range of shops we sold to there became more of a need for the management and promotion to come from one or two people and Marc Ellerby and I (Adam Cadwell) happily took up that role. However, as time went on we found that the time spent working for the benefit of the group was getting in the way of us actually making our own comics, which is why we started the group in the first place… We looked at many ways of monetising the group so we could pay someone to run things whilst still giving the creators the bulk of the profits but we just couldn’t find a fair way to make it work.” [Great Beast Blog]

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Need a gift idea? Marvel Unlimited is offering a deal

marvel unlimited-unwrapIf you’re still searching for a gift for a Marvel fan on your shopping list, you might keep this in mind: The publisher is offering a two-month subscription to its massive digital archive for the price of one.

Through Jan. 4, new and returning subscribers can purchase two months of Marvel Unlimited for $9.99, gaining access to more than 15,000 classic and newer comics, dating from the Golden Age to about six months ago. In October, the publisher added some of its Season One graphic novels to the lineup.

Marvel Unlimited can be accessed on the web and through the Marvel Unlimited app on iPhone, iPad and select Android devices.

For full details, visit the Marvel Unlimited website; to take advantage of the limited offer, use the promo code “Unwrap.”

ComiXology returns with ’12 Days of Free Comics’

the wake1ComiXology is back this year with its own take on an Advent calendar, the third annual “12 Days of Free Comics.”

Each day through Dec. 22, the company will offer a digital comic for free, beginning today with The Wake #1 by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (it may be a holiday tradition for Snyder as well, as last year’s event kicked off with Batman #13).

What’s more, each comic can be gifted to friends, family members or co-workers. However, each day’s selection is available for download only until 11 p.m. ET (a slight change from last year, when you had 24 hours).

“It’s been an outstanding year for us at comiXology, and we want every comic fan to help us celebrate with our third annual 12 Days of Free Comics,” CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “It’s you, the comics fan, that push us every day to create an even brighter future for comics, graphic novels and manga worldwide. These comics are for you!”

Sign up for alerts, or keep eye on the comiXology Tumblr or blog for each day’s offering.

Comics A.M. | Putting ‘Star Wars’ #1 sales in historical context

Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1

Publishing | John Jackson Miller reflects on the news that the first issue of Marvel’s Star Wars will sell 1 million copies, and notes the last comic to do so was a Pokemon title in 1999. The last direct market comic to reach that mark was Batman #500 in 1993. Miller also delves deeper into history, pointing out that Marvel’s original Star Wars #1, released in 1977, also sold more than 1 million copies, making it the first comic to reach that height since Dell’s Uncle Scrooge in 1960. [Comichron]

Passings | Maurice Tanti Burlo, editorial cartoonist for the Times of Malta, has died at the age of 78. Burlo, who used the pen name Nalizpelra, was working for Telemalta in 1977 when Prime Minister Dom Mintoff suspended a number of Telemalta staff, including Burlo, for supporting doctors, nurses, and bankers who went on strike. Burlo started cartooning to “get back at Mintoff,” and just kept on doing it; he published three books of his work and won the BPC Award in 1998 an 2002. [Times of Malta]

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Comics A.M. | Furry convention disrupted by chlorine gas

Midwest FurFest

Midwest FurFest

Crime | Nineteen people were sent to hospitals early Sunday following what appears to have been the intentional release of chlorine gas at the Hyatt Regency in Rosemont, Illinois, host of the Midwest FurFest furry convention. The incident began shortly after midnight, when firefighters and hazmat crews responded to a complaint of a noxious odor on the ninth floor of the hotel, where they found high levels of chlorine gas. Guests were evacuated, with many sent to the nearby Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Hazmat technicians found what they suspect to be powdered chlorine in a stairwell at the ninth floor. The Rosemont police are treating the event as a crime, as it appears the gas release was intentional. The hotel was decontaminated and the attendees were allowed to return around 4:20 a.m. Midwest FurFest, which with nearly 4,000 attendees in 2013 claims to be the second-largest furry convention in the world, issued a statement about the incident. [Chicago Tribune]

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New comic tackles the problem of rape in India

Priya's-Shakti

Priya’s Shakti is the first comic released in India to use augmented reality, a digital effect that animates some of the panels when they are viewed with a smart phone.

That’s impressive, but it’s not the most remarkable thing about the comic. What sets Priya’s Shakti apart is the subject matter: It’s a story about rape. In the comic, a rape survivor and the goddess Parvati travel around the country and the world, fighting sexual violence and the attitudes that underlie it.

Producer and writer Ram Devineni and artist Dan Goldman (Red Light Properties) created the comic, which has been awarded a 2014 Tribeca Film Institute New Media Fund grant, and they partnered with the NGO Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which works for social and policy changes to improve the standing of women throughout the world, to help get it into as many hands as possible.

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DC brings single-issue comics to iVerse’s ComicsPlus

iverse-dcDC Entertainment is making its monthly titles available for download on iVerse Media’s ComicsPlus App, with the publisher’s back catalog set to be added in the coming weeks.

The move comes as the digital distributor releases ComicsPlus 8.0 for iOS 8, which features the new uView enhanced reading experience, graphic novel rentals with offline reading, improved search capabilities, ePub, PDF, CBR and CBZ file support, an in-app parental controls.

“We want to be wherever comic fans are building their libraries and this new partnership with iVerse Media brings bestselling DC Entertainment titles from DC Comics and Vertigo to a broad, new digital audience,” Derek Maddalena, DC’s senior vice president of sales and business development, said in a statement. “The fantastic new features in the ComicsPlus app, paired with our iconic characters like Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, deliver a great digital reading experience.”

Read iVerse’s ComicsPlus 8.0 press release below:

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Comics A.M. | ‘One Piece’ edges out ‘Attack on Titan’ in Japan

One Piece, Vol. 75

One Piece, Vol. 75

Manga | The top-selling manga in Japan this year was One Piece, with nearly 11.9 million volumes sold; Attack on Titan came in a close second, with 11.7 million. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | Jim Zubkavich updates his post from last year about the long-term sales and profitability of his series Skullkickers. There are some interesting angles to this, including the cost of his deluxe collected editions, the boost he got from his “reboot,” and the importance of digital sales in the long term: “Since there’s no print run or storage limit with digital they continue to build profitability over the long haul (particularly with the early issues as new readers sample the series during comiXology sales). Many issues that lost money in their initial print release have been able to make back their losses thanks to digital.” [Zub Tales]

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When aliens make amends: Nolan T Jones on ‘Colonial Souls’

CS-1-tease

After lifetimes spent conquering alien species, what happens when a race of humanoid bugs finds itself about to die out, and is forced to work with others to survive? That’s part of the premise of Colonial Souls by Nolan T Jones and Andrew MacLean, a four-issue science fiction series Jones is self-publishing digitally.

The first issue arrived earlier this month, and the second went live this morning on the comics’ website (where you can also find previews of both issues). In addition to buying single issues, you can also get a price break by opting to purchase a subscription to the full series.

I spoke with Nolan about the comic, its distribution method and his other projects, including the role-playing website roll20.net.

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