Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
WonderCon opened its doors Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center, a first for the convention as it moves south from its usual San Francisco home this year. Will it be a permanent move? The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, who is at the show, has some thoughts on why that may not be a bad idea.
Here’s a round-up of news from yesterday at the show:
• Daredevil and Irredeemable writer Mark Waid announced several digital comics plans, beginning with a PDF comic available now on his website. The zombie comic, called Luther, is drawn by Jeremy Rock. It will be followed in May by a digital comics imprint. “In May, I’m rolling out a digital comics website where material will be going up in weekly or twice-weekly installments. But before that, on April 2, MarkWaid.com goes live again as a process blog for webcomics and what we’re doing. All throughout April, we’ll be giving sample material away for free, showing what the format can do, and I’ll be doing interviews with pioneers in this field. My own artists will also be there to talk about the projects we’re doing and how we’ll be building them.” Waid was also on hand for the Marvel House of Ideas panel, which went into detail on their recently announced digital and augmented reality plans.
Comics | Bryan Young talks to Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater about the attempted boycott of Life With Archie #16, which featured the marriage of Kevin Keller, as well as the changes that have taken place within the company to make that marriage possible. “When I got to Archie my first mandate was to talk to the staff and creators and say ‘Change things up. Try new things. Be bold. Be daring. Be creative.’ If there was an idea I felt was out of line or too crazy, I’d nix it. But for the most part, people like Dan Parent came to me with excellent ideas and suggestions. Kevin Keller is a perfect example of that. I don’t think you would have seen the previous regime publish Kevin.” [The Huffington Post]
Awards | Cartoonist Alison Bechdel has won the 24th annual Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement, presented by the Publishing Triangle, the association of lesbians and gay men in publishing. [GalleyCat]
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Dark Horse Presents is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Puss in Boots Movie Prequel – I don’t care for movie prequel comics as a rule, but swashbuckling cats are awesome in any incarnation. As long as these are fresh gags and not just ones warmed up from Shrek, I expect to enjoy this.
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal: Creation Myths, Book 1 - I just introduced my son to The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth a couple of weeks ago, so this is great timing. He had the same questions about The Dark Crystal‘s world that I always do, so I’m looking forward to seeing Archaia’s take on answering those. Totally feel like the world’s in good hands with this publisher and these creators.
The Sigh - If Archaia’s snagging Marjane Satrapi’s (Persepolis, Chicken With Plums) new book has been reported already, I missed it. I’m surprised that wasn’t bigger news.
Siegfried, Volume 1 – I’ve been meaning to read P Craig Russell’s Ring of the Nibelung adaptation for years, so I think this might be what pushes me to finally do it. It would be fun to read Russell’s and compare it to this version by Alex Alice.
On the same day that Fantagraphics announced The Complete Zap Comix, the publisher revealed it will bring yet another treasure trove of groundbreaking comics back to the stands. At its panel at Comic-Con International and in an interview with The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon, Fantagraphics announced it had acquired the rights to publish the EC Comics library from the representatives of its late publisher, William M. Gaines.
Known for pushing comics’ boundaries of formal innovation and craft as well as raw content before anti-comics hysteria and the creation of the Comics Code helped stifle the publisher in the mid-’50s, EC has generally been reprinted in formats that center on its (in)famous horror, crime, science fiction, and war anthology series, such as Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, The Haunt of Fear, Crime SuspenStories, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Two-Fisted Tales, and Frontline Combat. What sets the Fantagraphics reprint project apart is that individual creators’ work will be culled from the series in which it appeared and presented in a series of black-and-white solo spotlight volumes. The first four books announced will collect war stories written by Harvey Kurtzman (Corpse on the Imjin and Other Stories, featuring art by Kurtzman, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, and Joe Kubert), suspense stories by Wally Wood (Came the Dawn and Other Stories), horror stories by written by Al Feldstein and illustrated by Jack Davis, and science fiction stories by Al Williamson.
Click on over to The Comics Reporter for more details, including an interview with editor and co-publisher Gary Groth.
Legal | The general affairs committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has approved the government’s revised amendment to the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance, clearing the way for a vote by the full assembly on Wednesday. The controversial bill would further restrict sexual content in manga, anime and video games. A breakdown of the legislation can be found here. The Mainichi Daily News provides commentary. [Anime News Network]
Legal | In a surprise move, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has decided that the DC superhero- and Wizard of Oz-themed drinking glasses recalled last month because of high lead content aren’t children’s products and, therefore, not subject to recall. [The Associated Press]
Passings | Bluegrass musician and comic-art collector Don Lineberger, 71, died Dec. 5 after being pulled from a house fire in Valdosta, Georgia. Smoke inhalation is believed to be the cause of death. A banjo player who performed with the likes of Bill Monroe, Glen Campbell and Steve Martin, Lineberger was also known for his extensive collection of EC Comics memorabilia. Posters in this thread at the Collectors Society message board are attempting to compile a list of original EC work likely lost in the fire. [The Valdosta Daily Times]
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
Today it’s time (long pat time actually) to take a look at one of the most influential and undisputed masters of the comics medium, Harvey Kurtzman.
While the U.S. comic-book scare of the 1950s boasted Senate hearings, bonfires and the founding of the Comics Code Authority, it always seemed to be lacking a certain … something. It turns out that “something” was vampire-hunting children.
Don’t worry, though, Scotland had our backs.
In its preview of an upcoming BBC Radio 4 documentary, BBC Scotland recounts the incident that set off the United Kingdom’s horror-comic panic and led to strict censorship laws: On the evening of Sept. 23, 1954, hundreds of children, armed with knives and sharpened sticks, descended on a Glasgow cemetery to hunt the so-called Gorbals Vampire, a 7-foot-tall revenant with iron teeth who was said to have eaten two local boys.
The children, ages 4 to 14, were sent home by a constable, but they returned night after night, determined to find and destroy the fiend.
Of course, there was no vampire, and no missing schoolboys. But just as the Glasgow youths were swept up in an urban legend, they were caught up in a media and political feeding frenzy as adults were eager to find an explanation — or a scapegoat, perhaps — for the unusual, and unnerving, behavior.
Much like politicians on this side of the Atlantic, those in the U.K. settled on American horror comics, such as EC’s Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror. Never mind that there were no iron-fanged, kidnapping vampires in any of those titles. In 1955 the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act was passed, banning the sale to minors of magazines and comics portraying “incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature.” And, well, that was that.
The Radio 4 documentary, which airs at 4 p.m. PST on March 30, sounds fascinating, as it includes interviews with people who as children participated in the hunt for the Gorbals Vampire. (You should be able to listen to the story on the BBC iPlayer.) Plus, y’know, vampire-hunting children!
More than five decades later, it appears as if the iron-fanged creature actually may have sprung from a local nursery bogey — a monster created by parents to keep naughty children in line — called the Iron Man, and not from those awful, awful American horror comics. So … oops?
(The accompanying newspaper clip is borrowed from the Southern Necropolis Research website).
Welcome to another edition of Send Us Your Shelf Porn. Our special guest this week is Joe Hare, the manager at Comix Connection in Mechanicsburg, Pa., one of several stores in my area and one of my favorite places to shop. Joe’s a great guy and he’s got quite an impressive collection of comics, as I think you’ll agree.
Before we start down that road though, it’s time for the weekly pitch: Shelf Porn needs your help to keep it going. Send us photos of your collection or perhaps just suggest some people you know who might be interested in contributing by emailing me at cmautnerATcomcastDOTnet. We’re always on the lookout for good shelves.
And now here’s Joe …