Examining "Rebirth's" Treatment of Legacy & Promise of a Less "Grimdark" DC Universe
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.
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:
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.