Batman fans on this side of the pond who have been eagerly awaiting word on when the Batman Live tour would hit the United States need wait no longer–according to the tour’s website, the multimillion-dollar production arrives in Anaheim Sept. 5-9, followed by stops in Los Angeles, Minnesota, Las Vegas and more.
Adapted from the DC Comics characters and stories, Batman Live focuses on Robin’s quest for justice, which leads him to follow in the footsteps of his hero – the mysterious vigilante known as Batman – much to the dismay of his protective guardian, billionaire Bruce Wayne, whom the audience knows is secretly Batman. Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson must learn to overcome their own fears and forge their own family – with the help of Police Commissioner James Gordon and Bruce’s trusted butler, Alfred Pennyworth – if they’re going to survive the combined forces of Batman’s larger-than-life rogues’ gallery, some of the most famous and beloved villains of the 20th century.
With a 42-member cast, Batman Live also features Alfred, Joker, Catwoman, The Riddler, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and The Penguin. The action takes place in several settings from the famed stories, including Gotham City, Wayne Manor, the Batcave, and Arkham Asylum.
Here are the North American dates they’ve announced so far:
Anaheim, CA — Sept. 5-9
St. Paul, MN — Sept. 13-16
San Jose, CA — Sept. 20-23
Los Angeles, CA — Sept. 27-30
Las Vegas, NV — Oct. 3-7
Oklahoma City, OK — Oct. 10-14
Rio Rancho, NM — Oct. 17-21
Colorado Springs, CO — Oct. 23-24
Loveland, CO — Oct. 26-28
ComicsPRO, the trade organization for direct market comic book retailers, held its annual meeting last week, welcoming retailers from all over for presentations and discussions with various comic companies and other industry reps.
“Advocacy is a vital and important cog in the ComicsPRO machine. Too often, the retail segment is absent when industry plans are formulated and partnerships are forged,” says Joe Field ComicsPRO president, on the group’s website. “As ComicsPRO grows, our goal is to give retailers an equal voice with our other industry partners, so we can take an active role in the decisions that affect all of us.”
Although the meetings are typically closed to the press, some information from the three days in Dallas has come out:
- Retailer Matt Price, who blogs at Nerdage, shared several tidbits this weekend from the show. Of note is the list of projects that publishers discussed at the show, which include Avengers vs. X-Men, Before Watchmen, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and an announcement from IDW that they’re planning an Artists Edition of Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again storyline.
- Mike Richardson, Dark Horse president and publisher, gave a keynote at the event on digital comics, on how “changes have been a constant and necessary partner” for the comics industry.
- Speaking of which, iVerse Media and Diamond Comic Distributors announced a new Digital Comic Reader App at the meeting. “By adding the Digital Reader App into the Diamond Digital program, we’re completely removing our own digital store. This is a much cleaner solution for retailers and will give them the same kind of tools companies like Amazon and Barnes & Noble are using to sell digital on these devices,” said iVerse CEO Michael Murphey.
- Image Comics sponsored a lunch where Publisher Eric Stephenson spoke on independence and creativity. You can read his entire speech over at iFanboy.
- Thomas Gaul of Corner Store Comics and Beach Ball Comics in Anaheim, Calif. was elected to the ComicsPRO board, replacing founding member Brian Hibbs.
- And speaking of Brian, he posted some of his notes on DC Comics from the meeting, including some digital information and the fact that they plan to release the full results from the Nielsen survey to retailers.
- Bob Wayne, DC Entertainment’s senior vice president of sales, was honored with the ComicsPRO Industry Appreciation Award.
If you happen to be in the vicinity of East Lansing, Michigan, the week after next, it would be worth your while to check out the 2012 Michigan State University Comics Forum. Panel coordinator Ben Chabala (himself the creator of The Art of War) sent along some info, including the news that Jessica Abel (Life Sucks, Drawing Words and Writing Pictures) will deliver the keynote address on Friday, Feb. 3. Abel will also be gracing Artists Alley on Saturday, along with Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl), Ryan Claytor, Jay Jacot (creator of this year’s poster), Ryan Stegman and a host of budding and experienced comics creators. Forums and panel discussions will also take place on Saturday.
Legal | The trial resumed today, if only briefly, in Tunis for the president of a Tunisian television network accused of “insulting sacred values” when he aired the adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Tensions were so high in the courtroom that proceedings were postponed until April. The Oct. 7 broadcast resulted in an attempted arson attack on the network’s offices and the arrest of some 50 protesters. Nessma TV President Nebil Karoui, who apologized in October, is charged with “insulting sacred values, offending decent morals and causing public unrest” because of the outrage triggered by a scene in Persepolis showing God, which is prohibited by Islam. [AFP]
Organizations | Stumptown Comics, the organization that puts on the Stumptown Comics Fest every year in Portland, Oregon, has added three new members to its board: Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein, Boilerplate co-author Anina Bennett and editor Shawna Gore. [Stumptown Comics]
Joann Sfar Draws From Memory, director Sam Ball’s documentary portrait of the French comics artist and filmmaker (Dungeon, The Rabbi’s Cat, Little Vampire) will receive its world-premiere screening at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at the Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater in New York City.
The film follows Sfar to his favorite neighborhood spots and muses about his artistic process and the influence of his Algerian and Eastern European heritage. Tickets are still available for the screening, which also includes the U.S. premiere of The Silent Historian and a Q&A with Ball and executive producer Valerie Joseph.
If buying an entire comic shop on eBay is out of your price range, this might be more your speed: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is auctioning off his art studio, with some of the proceeds going to benefit the Hero Initiative.
Technically it’s not his whole studio, as that’s attached to his house, but it is all of the contents contained therein. That includes his drawing table and chair, 600 DVDs, original art, action figures, rare T-shirts and a whole bunch more. Check out the video up top to see him give a tour of the studio. Eastman will also make an appearance at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles on Jan. 4 to count down the end of the auction.
Right now the bidding is at just over $4,000, with eight days still to go.
Actors Ernie Hudson, Barry Bostwick, Eddy Jemison and others will read from The Frankincense Monster and Other Haunted Christmas Stories, a children’s book by Justice and Earth X writer Jim Krueger, on Sunday as part of benefit for the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Holidays From the Heart program.
Organized by Krueger and producer John Bucher, “Oh Haunted Night” is the first of what they hope will be an annual Hollywood event “that provides the power of story in the midst of a magical season while bringing hope and joy to children who are in need.”
The 8 p.m. performance, held at the Acme Comedy Theater in Los Angeles, will be paired with a silent auction. Tickets can be purchased through the Acme website or at the door.
Gallery Nucleus showcases Graham Annable’s lovely and melancholy watercolor contributions to “The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me,” an upcoming tribute art exhibition to the late visionary Jim Henson.
“Clearly Kermit, Ms. Piggy, and Gonzo don’t know what to make of their beginnings,” the post on the gallery’s blog states, “but what we can decipher from this is Graham’s bold wit for introducing us to an unusual scenario we never expected the Muppets would run into.”
The exhibition opens Dec. 10 with a reception at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, and continues through Jan. 2.
Digital | Comics by ComiXology has topped Apple’s charts as the top-grossing iPad application for the last six Wednesdays. ComiXology cited the launch of DC’s New 52 initiative, as well as many other comic companies moving to a same-day digital release schedule, as reasons for its success. “When have comic books, not comic book movies, not comic book merchandise, but the actual comic books been #1 in anything, much less high tech?” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “Being the number one grossing iPad application six Wednesdays in a row isn’t just a huge milestone for comiXology, but a huge milestone for comics as a medium … and we could not be prouder.” [press release]
Creators | An auction for the naming rights to a character in Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ The Secret Service raised $5,100 for St. Bartholomew’s Primary School, where Millar attended. The money will be used to pay for field trips for the school’s students. “I’m a former pupil at St. Bartholomew’s and have so many great memories of the place,” Millar said. “I know there’s not a lot of money in local government at the moment and I was sad to hear that the annual school trip for the children had been cancelled. By establishing this fund, I hope to have a pot the head-teacher can dip into every Christmas and take the entire school to a pantomime every year.” [Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser]
Returning this year “with a new name and an expanded mission,” the event formerly known as Wonder Woman Day is now Women of Wonder Day. This year the event will expand to a third location on Oct. 30 as a part of its mission to raise money for domestic violence programs.
The three events will occur at the following shops, where you can bid on art, meet creators and more:
- Excalibur Books in Portland, Ore. with special guests Joelle Jones, Kelly Sue DeConnick and more.
- Comic Fusion in Flemington, N.J. with Jamal Igle, J.K. Woodward and more.
- Heroes and Fantasies in San Antonio, Texas with Benn Dunn and more.
In addition, there’s an online component, and you can bid on artwork and other items on eBay — including the chance to appear in a Brian Michael Bendis comic book.
You can find the complete press release after the jump.
Cartoonist Shannon Wheeler isn’t one to rest on his laurels; heck, do you know how uncomfortable laurels can be on your backside? After making a name for himself with the alt-comic series Too Much Coffee Man, Wheeler branched out and in recent years began aiming to join an exclusive club: artists whose comics are published in The New Yorker. And after achieving that, he’s showing off the plethora of comics that were turned down, and the accepted ones, in a new art exhibit in his hometown of Portland, Oregon.
Titled “Shannon Wheeler’s One-One-One-One: One-Man Show of One-Hundred-and-One One-Panel Comics, “this exhibit at Portland’s Center for the Performing Arts opens Thursday, and continues through Dec. 1.The life of a New Yorker cartoonist is arduous; for every accepted strip there are countless ones that end up rejected. The latter are often more intriguing than those that made the cut, for the joke inside as well as the imagined reasons why the editor passed on them.
Broadway | Reeve Carney, who plays Peter Parker and Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, has extended his contract with the musical through May. Carney’s original contract was set to expire in November. “I can’t imagine a more wonderful, harder-working company than my mates on Broadway, and I look forward to being with them until shooting begins, and again as soon as we’ve wrapped,” he said. [Wall Street Journal]
Creators | The works of cartoonists Frode Överli, Lise Myhre, Christopher Nielsen and Jason are being featured on postage stamps in Norway, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the first comic book to be published in the country, The Katzenjammer Kids. [cats without dogs]
Creators | Firebreather creator and former Wonder Woman writer Phil Hester is profiled in conjunction with a visit to Limited Edition Comics and Collectibles in Cedar Falls, Iowa. [WCF Courier.com]
Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]
Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]
Publishers | DC Comics have released details on the midnight release of Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 on Aug. 31. The publisher is offering a free over-ship of Flashpoint #5 for retailers who order 125 percent of their order for Flashpoint #1, and the publisher has noted that that these are the only two DC titles shipping that week that can be sold at midnight. The promotion is only available to U.S. and Canadian accounts; due to the Aug. 29 bank holiday, the midnight sale option will not be available to UK retailers. [ICv2]
Legal | Michael Dean looks at the recent ruling by New York federal judge Colleen McMahon that the family of Jack Kirby has no claim to the copyrights of the characters he co-created for Marvel. Dean notes, “Some legal observers were expecting Marvel to be the second major comics-publisher domino to fall when Toberoff filed on behalf of the Kirbys, but there is a key difference between Kirby’s comics work and Siegel’s: It was well established that Superman already existed as a full-blown character concept before Siegel and Joe Shuster pitched him to DC, whereas Kirby, who died in 1994, did most if not all of his Marvel work on assignment from the publisher. In the case of work for hire, the Copyright Act defines the instigating employer/publisher as the Author of the work.” [The Comics Journal]
Isotope Comics in San Francisco will welcome Supergods and Action Comics writer Grant Morrison to their shop on Saturday, not only for a signing during the day, but also for one of their famous evening happy hours.
Both events will require advance tickets, which include a copy of his new book Supergods. The evening event also includes a Grant Morrison Supergods Commemorative Lowball with artwork by Cameron Stewart and Sonia Harris from Comics Should Be Good.
You can find all the details on Isotope’s site, and check out the lowball artwork after the jump.