Registration has opened for the fourth annual 30 Characters Challenge, the month-long event that encourages writers and artists to create 30 characters in 30 days. That’s one new character for every day of November.
Why? As the event’s website states, “Because the world needs new characters. And more importantly, it needs YOUR new characters. Sometimes all it takes is a little challenge to get those creative juices flowing.” According to organizers, more than 1,000 have participated in the challenge since 2009; of those, about 100 were able to complete it.
You can learn all the details, including how to register and where to upload characters, on the challenge’s website. You can also browse the gallery of last year’s character contributions. Registration ends Oct. 31; the 30 Characters Challenge begins Nov. 1.
Sal Abbinanti has provided Robot 6 with the first look at Alex Ross’ new poster image for “Heroes & Villains: The Comic Book Art of Alex Ross,” the upcoming exhibition at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. See the full painting below.
Opening Nov. 10, the exhibit features more than 130 paintings, drawings, photographs and sculptures from the personal collection of Ross, who’s often characterized as “the Norman Rockwell of the comics world.” According to the museum, the pieces range from a crayon drawing of Spider-Man that the artist drew at age 4 to paintings for Marvels, Kingdom Come, Green Hornet and Flash Gordon (you can view some of the pieces on the exhibition’s website). Ross himself will appear at the opening celebration for the first museum exhibition of his work.
Passings | Italian comics artist Sergio Toppi has died at the age of 79. Most of his work seems to have been in Italian and French, but Archaia has plans to publish an English-language edition of his version of the Arabian Nights, Sharaz-De. [The Beat, Archaia]
Comics | Brian Truitt marks Spider-Man’s 50th anniversary by talking to creators from Stan Lee to Brian Michael Bendis about the 10 traits that make the web-slinger special. On a related note, Complex runs down the 50 most iconic Spider-Man images. [USA Today]
Publishing | If you’re interested in self-publishing, Todd Allen’s latest article about Ingram’s new, lower-cost color print-on-demand service is a must-read. Allen does the math for several different scenarios, in terms of format and distribution method, and boils it down into several handy charts. [Publishers Weekly]
In case there were any doubt, Brian Heater has confirmed that the third annual Read Comics in Public Day “is on like Ultron.” Once again, it will be held Aug. 28, commemorating the birthday of Jack Kirby, who would have turned 95 this year.
What’s Read Comics in Public Day, you ask? It’s a worldwide event established in 2010 by Heater and Sarah Morean to encourage fans to promote the medium by, well, reading a comic book in a public place.
Matt Fraction has announced he’ll join Steve Niles and Tim Daniels at Aurora Rise, the Aug. 25-26 benefit organized by All C’s Collectibles in Aurora, Colorado, to raise money for the victims of the July 20 theater shootings.
Dark Horse and Image Comics have donated items for the event, which will include creator appearances and signings, a silent auction, artist sketches and giveaways. All C’s Collectibles is the only comics store in Aurora.
“The mission of Aurora Rise is simple – we are going to do everything in our power to assist and aid the victims and victim’s families,” store manager Jason Farnsworth wrote on the event’s Facebook page. All proceeds will go directly to the victims, their families or designated charities.
Publishers, creators or others who want to help out can contact the store at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Creators | While acknowledging the agreement that names Bob Kane as the sole creator of Batman, The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna and Bill: The Boy Wonder author Marc Tyler Nobleman make the case for giving writer Bill Finger a screen credit on The Dark Knight Rises. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Although Comic-Con International is usually thought of as a stage for movie studios, major comics publishers and video-game developers, Mark Eades looks at the event as a showcase for small businesses, from artists to toymakers. [The Orange County Register]
Conventions | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on the kids’ comics scene at Comic-Con International, including news that Papercutz will produce a comic based on the viral web phenomenon “Annoying Orange.” [Publishers Weekly]
Steve Cook, U.K comics designer/colorist/renaissance man, has a new iteration of his “Secret Origins” photo exhibition running at the Renoir Cinema. from July 20 to Aug. 17. You can see some more examples of the work below, and many more on his website.
The exhibition is craftily timed to coincide with the release of some movie about Batman, apparently. I remember seeing Bisley in his pomp at UKCAC 1988, when he looked just like the above image — biker boots, leather trousers, leather jacket. He looked pretty much exactly like Joe Pineapples of the ABC Warriors, the strip he’d just recently made his reputation on.
For Comic-Con International attendees looking to start the festivities a few days early, a California company is sponsoring a comics-themed booze cruise called, fittingly enough, Comicruise Booze Cruise. It’s all there on the label.
Okay, so the 19th-century steamboat departs from Long Beach, about 90 miles from San Diego, and it’s the Saturday before the convention, but you probably weren’t going to work that week anyway.
The floating party features music by DJ Esco, who we’re told “will be PLOWING! and BAMMING! the BEST tunes all night long” — I have no idea what that means — dance performances, and costume contests. So four hours of cosplay and cocktails. There may or may not be “a team of acrobatic Mark Twain impersonators” (which you don’t see nearly enough of at comic conventions).
Tickets are available for $45 in advance (or $26 through Groupon).
Publishing | Eight months after the launch of DC Comics’ New 52, Marc-Oliver Frisch takes a look at the reboot and concludes that it is not the “game-changer” it was touted to be. After an initial burst of sales when the series was launched, DC’s monthly numbers have settled down to about half the September sales, above the previous year’s levels but best described, as Frisch puts it, as “solid but not spectacular.” [Comiks Debris]
Digital comics | Anthony Ha looks at the success of the Pocket God comic, which is marketed alongside the game; more than 200,000 copies of the first issue have been sold, and sales for the whole series total 600,000. Dave Castelnuovo of Bolt Creative thinks the strong sales are due in part to the 99-cent cover price: “Meanwhile, the traditional publishers don’t want to undercut their print prices, so they’re usually charging $2.99 or $3.99 for new issues. (Some older comics are available for considerably less.) Castelnuovo says that’s ‘just too expensive’ for digital comics, especially when they’re competing with something like Angry Birds, which offers more content for just 99 cents. And although Marvel and DC are sell digital collections, Castelnuovo argues that they should be doing more to bundle dozens or even hundreds of issues together, so that readers can ‘blaze through them’ the way that they will consume entire seasons of Mad Men or Game of Thrones.” [TechCrunch]
Conventions | David Glanzer, Comic-Con International’s director of marketing and public relations, looks back on this year’s WonderCon, which was held in Anaheim, California, rather than in San Francisco, touches upon the uncertainty about the location for next year’s show — “we just don’t have dates at the Moscone Center yet” — and discusses changes to pro and press registration for Comic-Con. [ICv2]
Conventions | Grant Morrison talks about MorrisonCon, the Sept. 28-30 convention billed as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” “It’s not going to be ‘Come here and buy some comics and listen to a few panels,’ ” he says. “After two days you will be a changed person.” Tickets for the Las Vegas show, which is limited to 1,000 attendees, cost $767, and include a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, access to the guests and after-hours parties. [The Hollywood Reporter]
After winning over the comics faithful with Street Angel and Afrodisiac, Jim Rugg has become a pencil-carrying force in independent comics. He was enlisted by major publishers to draw books like DC’s PLAIN Janes and Dark Horse’s The Guild series, and even partnered with rock stars such as in the book One Model Nation. Next month he’s poppping up as a guest artist on DC/Vertigo’s iZombie #24, but before that he’s doing something even more special: a solo exhibition of ball-point pen drawings on notebook paper.
Titled Notebook Nerd – Jim Rugg, this exhibit at the iam8bit gallery in Los Angeles will show a side of his art comics fan haven’t seen much of — the complex linework possible with a simple ballpoint pen. Dubbed by the gallery as a “Swiss Army Knife of artists,” Rugg is seemingly pulling back to an earlier era — one of calculator wristwatches, pocket protectors and Trapper Keepers.
The exhibit will open on Friday, May 25 at iam8bit’s gallery on Sunset Boulevard, and continue through June 24.
Creators | iZombie writer Chris Roberson discusses his recent public announcement that he would no longer accept work from DC Comics and his subsequent dismissal from his last writing job for the publisher. “Well, this has been building over the last few months, and mostly had to do with what I saw DC and Time Warner doing in regards to creator relations. I think the first thing — you have to understand that when I first started working for DC in 2008, the Siegels had just recaptured half of the copyright for Action Comics #1 and I felt very good about that. That seemed like a very positive step. And then over the course of the last few months there has been the counter-suit against the Siegels’ lawyer, Marc Toberoff, and I was less sanguine about that, and starting to get a little itchy about it, and then there were just a few general things about the way that it seemed that DC regards creators now that are working for them — and I can talk about that more in detail — but the real kind of proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back was the announcement at the beginning of February of Before Watchmen, which I just thought was unconscionable. And so I had already signed a contract by that point to do six more issues of iZombie, of which three of them had been turned in, and so I just made the decision to go ahead and turn in the remaining three, not wanting to jeopardize the livelihood of my collaborators Mike and Laura Allred. But once I turned in the last one, even though I had other work lined up, I would have to at least — if only for my own peace of mind — let people know that I wasn’t happy with it.” [The Comics Journal]
Lauded as premiere school for aspiring comic artists for decades, the Kubert School has mentored dozens of today’s top comic creators and now it’s opening its doors for the next generation. On April 21, the Kubert School is hosting an open house at its Dover, New Jersey location from 1 to 4 p.m. Among the promised features are guided tours of the school and facility, demonstrations by its teachers, and one-on-one time with founder Joe Kubert and his two sons Andy and Adam Kubert. If that wasn’t enough, there’s refreshments, raffles and giveaways.
For decades, the Kubert School has taught legions of comic creators, and even comic fans might remember the school’s fun advertisements in the backs of comics over the years. In addition to offering full college-like daily courses, the school also does correspondence courses and weekend sessions for those who can’t attend full time.
This open house is an ideal opportunity for any would-be comics creator, or even just an overzealous comics fan like myself, to get an inside look at what it takes to make comics. I hear they’ll even admit robots!
The GA Voice profiles Atlanta artist Philip Bonneau, whose comic book-themed photography exhibit “Heroes + Villains #2″ opens April 7 at MISTER, the gay and bisexual men’s community center in Atlanta. While last year’s edition focused on Marvel characters, the new installment spotlights such DC Comics figures as Batman, Robin, Superman, The Joker, Wonder Woman, The Sandman, Lex Luthor, Catwoman and Alfred Pennyworth (with pulp heroes like Zorro and The Shadow thrown in).
“With comic books and superheroes, they all have secret identities, and there are so many gay connotations,” Bonneau tells the newspaper. “We can all understand trying to fit in.”
Check out some of the images from “Heroes + Villains #2″ below, or visit Bonneau’s Flickr account to see more of his work.
This #*?! Isn’t Very Funny features Rugg’s work on Street Angel and Afrodisiac, as well new and seldom seen pieces. You can find the press release and some additional Rugg art after the jump.