Emerald City ComiCon
Publishing | Dark Horse President Mike Richardson discusses how he became one of the first publishers of manga in the United States, explains how the company selects its titles, and suggests some manga for first-time readers. [Previews]
Digital comics | Retailer Ron Catapano points to the comiXology server crash triggered by the response to the free Marvel comics promotion as “the problem with digital content that fans keep complaining about”: “I can’t read the books I paid for because I can’t save them on my own computer and I’m limited in what I can save to my tablet by the small storage on tablets. Instead, the books I pay for are kept by comiXology and as long as I have a high speed internet connection available… I can log on and read my books on their web site or I can download a few to my tablet. BUT NOT TODAY … because someone decided it was a good idea to put 700 Marvel issue #1′s up for free at the same time.” [ICv2.com]
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. Below you’ll find a breakdown of the big announcements that came out of this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, our contributors’ picks for the comics of the week — from Age of Ultron to Al Capp — and the top events to look for in the next seven days (hint: convention season is fully under way).
Awards | Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have awarded the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Graphic Novel of 2012 to Chris Ware for Building Stories, and the prize for Best Web Comic to Noelle Stevenson for Nimona. Each winner receives $1,000. [Salon.com]
Comics | Tom Spurgeon talks at length to Gary Groth, co-founder of Fantagraphics and editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal, about the prospects for young creators today versus years ago, changes at The Comics Journal, and Groth’s own interview with Maurice Sendak, which runs in the latest issue of TCJ. [The Comics Reporter]
Matt Fraction said at the Emerald City Comicon this weekend that he’ll write an issue of Hawkeye about sign language when the character once again has his hearing damaged. That’s pretty cool.
Now it might seem wrong to wish hearing loss on anyone, even a fictional character, but it’s the latest in a series of cool moves by Marvel. If you’ve been following along, you know that last week Marvel and hearing aid makers Phonak kicked off a poster campaign aimed at hearing-impaired kids who feel awkward about wearing hearing aids. That poster campaign came about after a mom, Christina D’Allesandro, reached out to Marvel last May because her son refused to wear his hearing aid. He said superheroes don’t wear them, and his mom was hoping Marvel could point out one who did.
“Tom Brevoort brought up Hawkeye’s loss of hearing back in the ‘80s, which spurred me to send a shot of the West Coast Avengers #1 cover to Christina, suggesting that she tell Anthony that not only do superheroes definitely wear hearing aids, but that he could be an honorary Avenger if he wore his,” Marvel Editor Bill Rosemann told me last year.
At their RevolutiONIze panel at the Emerald City Comicon today, Oni Press announced a new science fiction series, Letter 44, by Charles Soule (Swamp Thing, Strongman, Strange Attractors) and Alberto Alburquerque (Elle, Skullkickers).
“Letter 44 is a new sci-fi series that asks, ‘How would people act when faced with a true threat?’ It begins with the newly inaugurated President Blades sitting down in the Oval Office, reading the letter left to him by the outgoing president. That letter is simply addressed to ’44,’” Oni Press’s Editor-in-Chief James Lucas Jones, said in a press release.
“The contents of that letter? Seven years ago NASA discovered some sort of construction project out in the asteroid belt. No one on Earth knows what it is, and the outgoing President sent astronauts up there to investigate. As the story opens, they’re about six months away,” Soule said. “This is a story I’ve been working on for several years, and I’m very excited to see it come to fruition. Alberto’s very conscious of the technical details of the spacecraft and other sci-fi elements, as well as the Earth-based stuff. His work is amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the look of the book.”
Letter 44 goes on sale this October. Check out a page of art from it below.
If you want to capture a ghost, call the Ghostbusters, but if you want to steal a ghost, apparently you need Jackson T. Winter.
Winter is the main character in Ghosted, a new series from Skybound by Joshua Williamson (Masks & Mobsters) and Goran Sudzuka (Y: The Last Man). Announced at the “Skybound On The Rise” panel at the Emerald City Comicon, the five-issue miniseries is about a thief, Winter, who is broken out of jail by a collector putting together an Oceans 11-esque team of experts with the intent to “steal” a ghost.
“Winters is not a good guy. He’s cold, but you can see fire in his eyes — a genius criminal who takes planning capers to another level,” Williamson told USA Today, who have several preview pages from the first issue. “It’s about money and he uses people to get what he wants. He’s seen some really screwed up things that have left him feeling cursed and haunted. The man has seen death in many forms and understands its power.”
Fatale artist Sean Phillips will provide covers for the comic, which starts in July.
“The announcement of our ElfQuest line was originally planned for a Saturday panel announcement as part of WaRP’s presence at Emerald City Comic Con, but some very enthusiastic and cyber-savvy fans sleuthed out the team-up early and shared the news, so we’re hitting the web sooner than planned,” said WeLoveFine’s Nicole Campos.
The shirts are available now both online and at WeLoveFine’s ECCC booth, #838-839. Check some of them out below. And don’t forget that a new ElfQuest story is currently running over at BoingBoing each week.
If you thought the 100 Bullets saga was over, think again. The creative team behind the 100-issue series are bringing back one of the book’s most popular characters, Lono, for a new miniseries in June.
Announced by Vertigo Editor Mark Doyle at the DC All Access panel at the Emerald City ComiCon, the comic reunites the entire creative team — writer Brian Azzarello, artist Eduardo Risso, colorist Trish Mulvihill, letterer Clem Robbins and cover artist Dave Johnson. “All I can tell you is that the guy you love to hate is back,” Doyle said.
Described as a “sort of sequel,” Doyle said the book takes place after the events of 100 Bullets #100. Readers of that series will remember that the last time we saw Lono, he fell through a window after being shot. The body, however, disappeared, leaving behind a trail of blood and the question of what happened to him. I guess we’ll find out in June.
Dark Horse has provided Robot 6 with a first look at the cover for its upcoming hardcover collection of Sacrifice by Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose, announced this afternoon at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.
Debuting in December 2011, the self-published fantasy/adventure centers on a troubled Joy Division fan named Hector who’s plucked from the 21st century and thrown into the middle of an Aztec civil war. After a nearly year-long delay, the series returned in January with Issue 4; the final issue arrives March 20.
Humphries, who has gone on to write Marvel’s Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates and Uncanny X-Force, told Robot 6 in September that self-published projects like Sacrifice and Our Love Is Real “always on the table for me, when the time is right.”
Graphic novels | BookScan’s January list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores shows a bit more variety than the previous month, in which 10 of the slots were taken by volumes of The Walking Dead. This time it’s just
six, with Building Stories, Saga, and the latest volumes of Sailor Moon and Fables cracking the Top 10. An adaptation of the Book of Revelation from evangelical publisher Zondervan was No. 9, followed by perennial bestseller Watchmen. (Note: The original version erroneously reported the number of Walking Dead titles in the Top 20.) [ICv2]
Creators | Paul Pope talks about his graphic novel Battling Boy, due out this summer, as well as the prequel comic The Death of Haggard West, which will released in in July. [Kotaku]
Coming up this weekend at Emerald City Comicon, writer Paul Allor (Table G-01) will have advance copies of the first issue of Strange Nation, his new Action Lab Comics miniseries with artist Juan Romera. The book’s premise is straightforward: Norma Park is a journalist who finds herself out of work after claiming to uncover a story involving Sasquatch, aliens and mad scientists. Her insistence at delving deeper into this story is when the real fun begins. In addition to offering an advance copy of the first issue this weekend, Allor will also make it available for Fabletown and Beyond (March 22-24, 2013, in Rochester, Minnesota). The full miniseries will hit stands in late 2013 in comic stores and through digital distribution outlets. In anticipation of ECCC, Allor joined me for a brief interview, and provided ROBOT 6 with a five-page previews.
Tim O’Shea: How long has Strange Nation been in development, and what prompted you to tap Juan Romera as the artist?
Paul Allor: I probably started working on the pitch for Strange Nation a little more than a year ago. Juan was the first person I had in mind for the art, having worked with him previously on “Reach the Sun.” one of the stories in my Clockwork comics anthology (which Robot 6 interviewed Allor about in 2011). Juan is awesome at both the wacky, out-there aspects of the book, and also at nailing the small emotional moments. I thought this book would be a great place to showcase both sides of that.
Eric Canete has been ramping up interest for March’s Emerald City Comic Con, where he’ll be selling a sketchbook called Monsters and Dames, by posting tantalizing glimpses of works in progress via his Instagram feed and the finished work on his Twitter account.
A while back, Canete vowed on his blog to no longer sketch copyrighted characters, so if you requested, say, a Big Barda sketch, he’d instead do a piece for you based on his reimagining of Kirby’s initial concept of a warrior goddess. There’s clearly some of this notion going on with these pieces; I think we all could take a guess at which characters possibly inspired which drawings. Some of the pictures below may be regarded as NSFW, depending on your boss’ tolerance for cartoon pokies or under-boob.
Legal | The New York Times ventures deep into the legal battle between Archie Comics Co-CEOs Nancy Silberkleit and Jonathan Goldwater, noting the two sides have gone into court-approved mediation. “Competing lawsuits filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan and State Supreme Court in Westchester County lay out a litany of bitter allegations. He punctured her car tires, destroyed her Web site and claimed that she sexually harassed employees. She ordered him to fire several longtime employees because they were too old, too fat or too buxom, and let her dog, Willow, roam the offices and defecate in the art department.” [The New York Times]
Conventions | Although no figures have been released for last weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, organizer Lance Fensterman said attendance was “way up,” noting that, “the size of the show floor doubled and the aisles were much more full than last year. That tells you how much attendance jumped to keep pace with the floor growth.” [Publishers Weekly]
One of the unique parts of a comic convention is the chance to get sketches and fully-rendered art commissions from some of the medium’s top artists. They could draw the characters they’re known for best, or even something off-the-wall like the Swedish Chef that colorist Justin Ponsor did for me once. But a recent posting on artist Tony Moore’s blog shows just how crazy things can get when you get two artists to collaborate, or ‘jam,’ on a single piece
The Emerald City Comicon wrapped up yesterday in Seattle, with plenty of announcements from attending publishers. Here’s a round-up of news from the show:
• Image Comics officially announced Revival by Tim Seeley ad Mike Norton, the title we teased all last week. Seeley described the book as “rural noir,” and it is set in his home state of Wisconsin: “Both Mike and I grew up in small towns, he in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin. We both hated the towns we were from as teenagers and young adults and got the hell out,” Seeley told CBR. “But, now that we’re both older, we can look on those towns with more understanding and affection. Central Wisconsin is a really interesting place. It’s like concentrated America. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses. All of the good stuff, and all of the conflicts on a more intimate scale. We thought it’d be the perfect setting for our story of a cop charged with policing the dead.”
• James Stokoe will write and draw Godzilla: Half Century War, which arrives from IDW in August. The miniseries is set in a different continuity than the Godzilla ongoing series by Duane Swierczyski and Simon Gane.
• Writer Christos Gage will team with artist Jorge Lucas for Sunset, an original graphic novel from Top Cow’s Minotaur Press. The story revolves around a retired Vegas mob enforcer.