INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Ed Piskor’s bestselling book series Hip Hop Family Tree will released beginning in August as a monthly comic, a first for Fantagraphics Books. Each issue will feature a new cover and splash page, “director’s commentary” from Piskor and other extras.
Debuting in 2013, the Eisner-nominated series chronicles the history of hip hop, tracing the genre back to its origins in the South Bronx. The 32-page first issue shines a spotlight on those break-dancers, graffiti artists, DJs and MCs who formed hip-hop culture in the early 1970s.
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]
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]
Awards | Jillian Tamaki has won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Prize for children’s literature illustration for her work on This One Summer, a graphic novel collaboration with cousin Mariko Tamaki (who was nominated in the text category). Their first book, 2008’s Skim, was previously nominated in the text division, further demonstrating a separation of illustration and story that Jillian Tamaki finds “strange.” ““I think we are both creators of the book,” she tells the Edmonton Journal. “You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honor and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.” [Edmonton Journal, via The Comics Reporter]
Legal | The Wally Wood estate has sued Tatjana Wood, ex-wife of the late cartoonist, claiming she’s in possession of 150 to 200 pages of his art erroneously sent to her address in 2005 by Marvel. The couple were married in 1950 but divorced in the 1960s; Tatjana later worked extensively as a colorist for DC Comics. Wally committed suicide in 1981, leaving “all bank accounts, whether savings, checking, Certificates of Deposit, or otherwise” to Tatjana, and everything else to his estate, supervised by John H. Robinson. [The Comics Reporter]
Creators | “I’m an acquired taste,” says Howard Chaykin, who was speaking to the press in advance of this weekend’s Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival. He talks about working for small publishers, his unhappiness with the licensed Star Wars comics he did for Marvel, and the current trend of movies based on comics: “It’s really just a matter of the guys who beat us up in high school finally figuring out a way to make money off our asses.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
Pittsburgh Magazine has produced a remarkable profile of Ed Piskor that includes a print interview and a video of the artist walking through his childhood home, where the drawings he did as a teenager are still visible amid peeling paint and fallen plaster.
Both pieces focus heavily on the milieu in which Piskor was raised, the Homestead neighborhood of Pittsburgh, which took a sharp nose dive after the steel mills closed; Piskor’s parents were among the many who lost their jobs. When he was growing up, the neighborhood had a heavy gang presence, so Piskor spent a lot of time indoors, drawing, but it was also there that he was exposed to hip-hop and became fascinated by it; his Hip Hop Family Tree has grown out of that youthful obsession.
Conventions | Vocativ put together an interesting, if somewhat late, video report about the Middle East Film & Comic Con in Dubai, often viewed by Westerners as a conservative Muslim city. Yet the April convention, which drew about 35,000 attendees, featured both women in traditional hijabs and cosplayers in somewhat-revealing costumes. More interesting still, the number of women artists outnumbered the men. The piece also touches upon the reaction to the new Ms. Marvel, a Muslim teenager from New Jersey. [Vocativ]
Creators | “Never having known how to work in this style, suddenly in my 80s, I discover I can”: Jules Feiffer talks about his latest graphic novel, Kill My Mother, a noir-ish tale that is a sharp departure from his earlier work. [Los Angeles Times]
Legal | Attorney Evan Stassberg finds two significant problems with Comic-Con International’s trademark-infringement claim against Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term “Comic Con”: There are a lot of shows called “comic con,” so it could be argued it’s a descriptive term that’s not specific to the San Diego event, and precisely because there are so many events that use that term, it could be argued that Comic-Con International organizers haven’t been policing their trademark. Strassberg adds, “The Salt Lake organizers’ steadfast defiance and ongoing gravitas has turned a simple trademark dispute into a national news story with mountains of free publicity for the Salt Lake event. If this was intentional, it is an astonishing display of marketing genius. If this was mere happenstance, it is the comic book convention equivalent of the accidental invention of Post-It notes.” [Deseret News]
Passings | Manga artist Hiroshi Obi, whose best known work is the Shonen Jump series Ganbare Goemon, died Sunday at age 54. His most recent project was a Yatterman remake, Yatterman Dengeki Daisakusen!, and he also taught in the manga department of Tokyo Kogakuin College of Technology. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Filip Sablik of BOOM! Studios talks about marketing Lumberjanes on Tumblr, and how Beware the Valkyries, a group of women who work in comic stores, helped promote the comic with a special “Lumber Day.” [ICv2]
Creators | Mike Donachie profiles Canadian creator Diana Tamblyn, who’s nominated for a Shuster Award for her graphic novel From the Earth To Babylon: Gerald Bull and the Supergun. [Metro]
I can’t think of a better way to close out the day than with an adaptation of the Spike Lee-directed 1990 Levi’s commercial featuring a young Rob Liefeld, as drawn by Ed Piskor … channeling Rob Liefeld.
It’s an excerpt from Hip Hop Family Tree Vols. 1-2: 1975-1983 Box Set, which collects the first two volumes of Piskor’s bestselling chronicle of the history of hip hop, originally serialized on BoingBoing. It’s due in November from Fantagraphics, which describes it as “the ’90s-est.” You don’t get much more ’90s than that Levi’s commercial.
Check out the full strip at BoingBoing, and watch the original TV ad below.
While looking for some art earlier I can across something cool — artist Tom Scioli, who is hard at work on IDW’s Transformers vs. G.I. Joe comic, posted some alternate covers for the project from Rob Liefeld (Youngblood) and Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family Tree) on his Tumblr.
“I can’t believe they’re letting us do this,” John Barber, who is writing the project, said yesterday at WonderCon. “It’s coming from a real pure place. The storytelling is crazy innovative, pure sci-fi, army cosmic clash between Earth and alien invaders. The Free Comic Book Day story on May 3, the Joes are engaging in a final showdown with Cobra and that’s right when Starscream shows up pursuing Bumblebee, that’s when things get out of hand. It’s so much fun. I’ve been a fan of Joes and Transformers since I was able to read.”
Check them out below. The comic kicks off this summer.
Fantagraphics has unveiled the Hip Hop Family Tree Vols. 1-2: 1975-1983 Box Set, complete with two new covers by creator Ed Piskor (one side of the slipcase pays homage to EC Comics, the other to 1960s DC).
And if that weren’t enough, it comes with the exclusive bonus Hip Hop Family Tree #300 “Milestone, Variant, Limited, Ashcan Edition!” In the words of the publisher, “Foil-stamped cover! Rob Liefeld! It’s the ’90s-est.”
On sale in November for $59.99, the box set collects the first two volumes of Piskor’s bestselling chronicle of the history of hip hop, originally serialized on BoingBoing.
The first 112-page volume covers 1975 to 1981, with appearances from the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Russell Simmons, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring. The second volume moves on to ’82-’83, with Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Beastie Boys and more.
Digital comics | Google was granted a patent this week for “Self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications,” which means the Internet giant apparently has patented a mechanism for creating comics about your status updates and chats and sharing them via social media. This sounds a lot like the wildly popular, but widely reviled, Bistrips. [Geekwire]
Best of the year | Brian Truitt takes a look back at the year in comics, picking out some significant events and offering his nominations for best creator, best comic book movie, and best comic in a variety of genres and formats. [USA Today]
Best of the year | Writing for The Advocate, cartoonist Brian Andersen reflects on the year’s 10 greatest LGBT moments in mainstream comics. [Advocate.com]
Passings | Lew Stringer reports that British artist Charles Grigg died Wednesday at age 97. Grigg is probably best known for drawing Korky the Cat, whose adventures graced the cover of the weekly comic The Dandy for decades, and he drew a number of other strips for The Dandy and The Topper as well. After he retired he had a second career drawing naughty postcards. [Blimey!]
Retailing | The direct-market trade organization ComicsPRO has announced its annual membership meeting will be held Feb. 26-March 1 in Atlanta. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Art Spiegelman talked to students at Lakeland College recently and then sat down to answer some questions about his love of comics, how his depression affected his work, and whether he has any regrets about the way he portrayed his father in Maus. [The Lakeland Mirror]
Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s hit pirate adventure One Piece has sold 130.15 million copies in Japan since 2009, the year that market research firm Oricon began reporting book sales. The series, which debuted in 1997, has 72 volumes — a total of 300 million copies — in print. [Anime News Network]
Tributes | The statue of Family Circus creator Bil Keane was finally unveiled in Scottsdale, Arizona. [KPHO]
Events | We relay a lot of stories in this space about cartoonists being suppressed abroad, so it’s heartening to see a country where conditions have improved: Next week, there will be an exhibit of cartoons in Myanmar, as part of the Tazaungdaing festival. The Tazaungdaing comics show is a longtime tradition that was shut down in 1997 under pressure from the government but was resurrected in 2011 when censorship laws loosened. The exhibit takes place on a street named for U Ba Gyan, who was a prominent cartoonist in the 1930s; he used to exhibit his cartoons by putting them on lanterns around his house, to escape official censors. [Myanmar Times]