Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors has announced it will close its Los Angeles distribution center in March, with the facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, taking over its functions. Regional Manager James Nash will relocate from L.A. to Olive Branch. There’s no word on how many jobs will be eliminated in the move, but ICv2 reports that “other staff has been encouraged to apply for positions in Olive Branch after their tenure in Los Angeles ends at the end of March.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Following Tuesday’s announcement that Ron Perazza has been named vice president of online for DC Entertainment comes word of two more additions to the department: DC Comics Online Editor Kwanza Johnson will be digital editor for DC Entertainment, and Technology Editor Dave McCullough will become director of online, both based in Burbank, Calif. The department will be headed by former WildStorm Vice President Hank Kanalz, who was promoted in October to senior vice president, digital. Heidi MacDonald also has a letter to freelancers from DC Vice President Terri Cunningham announcing that the Editorial Administration department will become Talent Relations & Services, which will remain in New York City. [Twitter, Twitter]
Retailing | Rich Johnston confirms that Diamond Comic Distributors is developing a digital comics service that, in the words of a company representative, “will be entirely focused on driving sales of digital comic-related content through brick and mortar comic book specialty retailers.” No details were made available, but an official announcement is expected “in the near future.” In the meantime, Johnston gathers initial reactions from several retailers. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Amit Desai, who has worked at Warner Bros. since 2004, has been named as DC Entertainment’s senior vice president, franchise management: “In his new role, Desai will develop and implement the individual franchise plans for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, MAD Magazine, Vertigo titles, and other DC properties. This will include driving wider cross-promotional support across all Time Warner divisions.” [press release]
Publishing | Alex Segura, former publicity manager at DC Comics, has been hired by Archie Comics as executive director of publicity and marketing. [press release]
Programming Director Bill Kartalopoulos has released the programming schedule for the upcoming 2nd annual Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, taking place on Saturday, Dec. 4 in Williamsburg, and it’s a doozy. Lynda Barry & Charles Burns and Françoise Mouly & Sammy Harkham will be paired off in panels that are perhaps the highlight of the show, while other spotlighted cartoonists include Golden Age artist Irwin Hasen (in conversation with Paul Pope, Evan Dorkin, and Dan Nadel) and Big Questions author Anders Nilsen, who drew the still-awesome poster you see above.
Check out the full schedule in the BCGF press release after the jump.
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Written by Evan Dorkin; Illustrated by Jill Thompson
Dark Horse; $19.99
I know we’ve been talking a lot about comics for kids lately, so I’m going to give that a rest for a bit (except to point you to Nate Cosboom and Skottie Young’s latest thoughts on the subject). Fun and awesome comics don’t always have to be kid-appropriate. Beasts of Burden is an excellent example of that. Monster-hunting dogs and cats sounds particularly good for children, but not when the monsters are this scary. Your kids may be different from mine and more power to them if they are, but my eight-year-old would have nightmares if this was his bedtime reading. Doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the hell out of it though.
As you may know, Beasts of Burden began as a recurring feature in the Dark Horse Book of… anthologies. There were four volumes – Book of Hauntings, Book of Witchcraft, Book of the Dead, and Book of Monsters – and one of the highlights of each was always Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s story about five dogs and a stray cat who get pulled deeper and deeper into the supernatural.
The Animal Rites collection includes those four stories as well as the four-issue Beasts of Burden mini-series. In the spirit of anthology tales, each of the eight stories stands by itself. There are no cliffhangers; no To Be Continueds. But there’s a larger story taking shape as the pets learn more and more about the paranormal and begin to figure out that the recent weirdness in their quiet, little, wooded community is being orchestrated by a single intelligence. What that intelligence is remains to be discovered by the end of Animal Rites, which is fine by me. There’s a slow build moving towards that revelation and I don’t want Dorkin and Thompson to rush it. Besides, I want more of these stories and it’s comforting to know that there are plans for that.
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Free-form radio is an awesome but endagered art form, but this week it’s getting a shot in the arm from one of the media’s few other real Wild Wests: comics. Creators Matt Fraction, Evan Dorkin, Michael Kupperman, Danny Hellman and Brian Musikoff are pitching in to raise money for New Jersey-based WFMU via an exclusive donor prize pack available through The Best Show on WFMU.
There’s really no way to adequately explain The Best Show, which airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on listener-supported WFMU and online. Its host, Monk and Tom Goes to the Mayor writer Tom Scharpling, describes it as “three hours of mirth, music and mayhem.” It’s part traditional call-in show, albeit with a legendarily cranky host and weird group of regular callers. It’s part showcase for indie rock and alternative comedy, with luminaries like Patton Oswalt, John Hodgman, Ted Leo, Tim and Eric, Paul F. Tompkins and Aimee Mann making regular appearances. But at its core it’s comedy in and of itself, courtesy of Scharpling’s partner, Superchunk and Mountain Goats drummer Jon Wurster, and the bizarre characters he concocts as callers to the show. Ranging from the hoagie-eating, Eagles-worshipping Philadelphia native Philly Boy Roy to a vicious send-up of Gene Simmons to an ultraviolent senior citizen called the Gorch who claims to be the inspiration for Happy Days‘ Fonzie, The Best Show‘s rogues gallery and their long, largely improvised not-quite-prank calls need to be heard to be believed. It’s sort of like a three-hour inside joke, but once you’re on the inside, it’s so funny you never wanna get back out.
Fraction (who’s a regular guest on the show), Dorkin, Kupperman, et al are all a part of “The Best Show on WFMU 2010 Chump Steamroller Fun Pack,” a prize package available to donors who pledge $75 or more during tonight’s show. The Fun Pack includes a DVD starring Fraction, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Tim and Eric, John Hodgman, Todd Barry, Yo La Tengo, Aimee Mann, Ted Leo and more. It also includes a set of Best Show Trading Cards designed by Chris Moses and Joe Allen, featuring art by Kupperman, Dorkin, Hellman, Musikoff and more. After tonight’s show is over, they’re gone forever, so be sure to pledge at 800-989-9368 or online at wfmu.org. In the words of The Best Show, “Good guys win — bad guys lose!”
Wow. Cartoonist Evan Dorkin, whose “Villains of Marvel” piece you can see above along with art by George Pérez, Scott Kolins, Jim Cheung, and Mark Chiarello, brings our attention to this killer selection of original art, soon to be auctioned off to benefit the Bridgewater, New Jersey, Policeman’s Benevolent Association #174.
In addition to the aforementioned artists, the auction gallery includes work by (deep breath) Mike Allred, Sergio Aragones, Brian Bolland, Mark Buckingham, Travis Charest, Howard Chaykin, Cliff Chiang, Frank Cho, Alan Davis, Terry Dodson, Juan Doe, David Finch, Matt Fraction, Bo Hampton, Scott Hampton, Tony Harris, Dean Haspiel, Stuart Immonen, Phil Jimenez, Michael Wm. Kaluta, Erik Larsen, Steve Lieber, Mike McKone, Steve McNiven, Terry Moore, Rags Morales, Dustin Nguyen, Michael Avon Oeming, Brandon Peterson, Ivan Reis, Paolo Rivera, Stan Sakai, Tim Sale, Walt Simonson, Joe Sinnott, Ryan Sook, Billy Tan, Philip Tan, Matt Wagner, and Bill Willingham — and I promise you that that barely even scratches the surface. Go and look at the full-sized versions, and bid next month!
(Via Tom Spurgeon)
The comic book industry is populated with a vast array of good people–and Dan Vado, head of SLG Publishing is one of them. When I heard about this Saturday’s San Jose Comics Festival (January 16 from 12 to 5 PM–for the reasonable price of FREE), I sought out Vado for an email interview. We also discussed the SLG Radio podcast (my current favorite comics podcast at present) for a bit.
Tim O’Shea: In discussing the festival recently with CBR’s Kiel Phegley you described how successful the San Jose area in terms of festivals, noting that with a past event SLG “managed to get over 1,500 people to come out to downtown San Jose on a Wednesday night”. What is it about San Jose that makes it tend to so strongly support festivals/gatherings of this type?
Dan Vado: The snide answer is that there really isn’t much going on here, but that would not be the truth. There actually is a lot going on, but not enough that covers the middle ground of people who have slightly older kids to teens and the older music and bar scene. The 1,500 number was in reference to a zombie crawl we sponsored. While we put it together as a pub crawl, the sheer number of people with families that came out was astounding.
Over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them one simple question: What are you excited about for 2010? We asked them to mention something they were anticipating, as a fan, and also something they were working on (if, of course, it wasn’t top secret). So we’re ending today with the first of three of these round-ups; watch for the other two to be posted sometime tomorrow.
I’m excited by a NEW GRAPHIC NOVEL from Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover that is coming out from Top Shelf this year, that I don’t think I can name because they haven’t formally announced it yet. But really, those two names and a full length work should be all you need to hear to know I’m right.
What I’m most excited about that I’m involved with comes out in just a few weeks, it’s AVENGERS VS. ATLAS from Marvel, where I think my collaborators Gabriel Hardman, Elizabeth Breitweiser and I have really gelled. Even if you’ve never read an Agents of Atlas story, I bet you’ll enjoy seeing the original lineup of The Avengers back on the scene.
Or you’ll at least want in for the LAVA MEN.
Jeff Parker writes a whole bunch of great comics for Marvel, including all the Agents of Atlas projects and Thunderbolts. He also helped us out last year with our Robot Love posts at Valentine’s, in a post titled I ♥ learning from comics. Tim O’Shea also interviewed him about Underground earlier this year, along with artist Steve Lieber.
Although the movie didn’t last long in theaters, the original book I Love You, Beth Cooper, I understand, is supposed to be pretty good. Over on his blog, Evan Dorkin posts a few comic pages he did for the re-release of the novel that accompanied the theatrical bomb. He’s also giving away copies of the book.
“How to win: It’s easy! Tell me why you chose to not see I Love You, Beth Cooper. Or, tell me why you did see it (!?!), and let us know what you thought of it. Be honest, it wasn’t my movie, the project’s been very kind to me but I have nothing to do with the film, so it can go screw a sailor as far as I’m concerned,” he wrote. “I’ll pick a few folks to send a book to based on the replies and my capricious whims.”
When an interview goes well, it has very little to do with me. The value of the interview, not surprisingly, is rooted in the answers. Evan Dorkin is proof of this. At one point in this email interview, the man justifiably ridicules my use of the term “sequential art narrative” in a question–and being Evan Dorkin, it’s damn funny when he does it. The interview covers a great deal of ground, given the diversity and richness of his career to date. First up, though, is Dark Horse’s Beasts of Burden, his upcoming collaboration with Jill Thompson, which is featured on the cover of this month’s PREVIEWS. (Beasts of Burden #1′s item code is JUL09 0015 [and goes on sale September 16]). Aweek or so ago my associate Mr. Melrose linked to the original Beasts of Burden short story, Stray, that Dark Horse posted to its site (and that Dorkin also mentions at the start of this interview). My thanks to Dorkin for what I hope you agree is a great interview.
Tim O’Shea: You are working on Beasts of Burden, for Dark Horse, what can you tell folks about the project?
Evan Dorkin: Beasts of Burden is a four-issue series debuting this September from Dark Horse, I’m writing it and Jill Thompson is illustrating it, and it’s about a group of neighborhood dogs and a stray cat that band together to fight the supernatural. It takes place in a town called Burden Hill, which has become increasingly plagued by monsters and the paranormal. The human inhabitants are largely oblivious to what’s happening, so it’s up to these “ordinary” animals to defend the area from these occult incursions. It’s a horror comic with adventure and fantasy elements, and hopefully a sense of humor. Each issue is a self-contained story, with some narrative undercurrents running through them.
A couple of weeks ago Chris Mautner and I listed the six comics that made us cry. You guys responded with more than 160 comments filled with memories of comics that brought you to tears as well. It was very cool and kind of overwhelming to see that many people open up like that, so from both of us, thank you.
One commenter, cinorjer, suggested we name “six comics that made us laugh out loud.” Which we thought was a great idea — thanks, cinorjer! — so wipe away your tears and get ready to exercise your funnybone.
Joining Chris and I this week is Tom Bondurant, who was quick to come back with an example when I asked for suggestions. So let’s make with the ha ha’s and get down to it … and please share your own favorites in the comments section.
1. “What am I s’posed to do with a whole dollar!?”
I laughed aloud at much of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s “Architecture & Mortality” storyline from the recent Tales of the Unexpected miniseries. There were the Primate Patrol’s obvious (but well-executed) Planet of the Apes references; Traci 13′s “paper covers rock” spell; and the part where Infectious Lass says she’ll never know the touch of a man, about which I … Vampire! observes “perhaps if you changed your name….”
However, I particularly liked Dr. 13′s first real meeting with Genius Jones, the smartest little boy in the world. He’ll answer any question for a dime, but he won’t deal with Dr. 13 — because the Doc only has a dollar bill. “What am I s’posed to do with a whole dollar!?” Genius wonders.
“Tell you what — I have ten questions,” Dr. 13 responds.
“Do you have ten dimes?”
Eyes practically bulging out of his glasses, and beads of sweat leaping off his forehead, Dr. 13 spits, “I have a DOLLAR!”
It goes on like that for another few panels, until the head of the Primate Patrol bursts in: “How ’bout I geev you a nickel saun’wich?” And … scene!