X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Conventions | Comiket, the world’s largest comics expo, drew 550,000 attendees to its summer edition, which ended Sunday at to the Tokyo Big Sight. That’s about the same number of people as the summer 2014 installment. (Note: Those figures account for the number of visits during the three-day convention to the Tokyo Big Sight, rather than individual attendees.) The winter installment of the biannual event will be held in December. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | In an attempt to avoid the sort of bad press they got last year, organizers of Rhode Island Comic Con put a clause in this year’s press application requiring news organizations promise to avoid “insulting or disrespectful comments and giving a bad image of the show” in order to get press passes. That worked about as well as you would expect: The convention quickly apologized and reversed course following push-back from not only the Rhode Island Press Association but also the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center. [GoLocal Providence]
Manga | Kentaro Miura’s action-fantasy manga Berserk has 35 million copies in print — 27 million in Japan, and 8 million overseas — Hakusensha’s Young Animal magazine announced today. Miura returned to the series this week after a 10-month hiatus. The manga, which centers on a pair of mercenaries in a medieval Europe-inspired fantasy world, debuted in 1989; 37 volumes have been released to date. Dark Horse holds the license to Berserk in North America. [Anime News Network]
Crime | Russell Brandom and Colin Lecher describe a fascinating case in which comics figured in two types of crimes, money laundering and theft of evidence. Along the way, they explain the importance of grading, how slabbing works, and why it’s pointless to steal a really valuable comic that’s already known to collectors. [The Verge]
DC Entertainment will get a head start on the holiday-shopping season with a seven-day Black Friday sale on Batman digital comics.
Between Nov. 25 and Dec. 1, the publisher will offer 750 Batman issues — titles ranging from Gotham By Gaslight to The Dark Knight Returns to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s current run — for 99 cents each. They’re available for purchase from the DC Digital Store, Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, comiXology and Google Play.
As that offer ends, Vertigo’s Cyber Monday sale begins, with the first collected volumes of 23 titles — from The Sandman to 100 Bullets to Promethea — available for download for $4.99. The offer is for one day only, on Dec. 1.
Telltale Games has announced The Wolf Among Us, the critically acclaimed adventure game based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo series Fables, will arrive in stores Nov. 4 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita and Xbox One. All five episodes are already available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox One.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery.
Inspired by comments made by author Alexander Chee, the residency was announced in February, offering writers with a free round-trip, long-distance train trip with a sleeping compartment equipped with a desk, free meals and access to the observation car — all designed to inspire creativity through rail travel.
Amtrak began accepting applications in March, and received more than 16,000 responses. The recipients were ultimately chosen by a panel of four judges: Chee; Joe McHugh, Amtrak’s vice president of government affairs and corporate communications; Samuel Nicholson, an editor at Random House; and Amy Stolls, director of the National Endowment for the Arts.
Although the publisher didn’t specify release date — its tweet said only “Coming Soon!” — the previous installment, Episode 4, was available a week after its teaser image debuted (so look for it on July 15). Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery.
A second season of The Wolf Among Us in the works. The Fables comic series will come to a close early next year with its 150th issue.
Conventions | MCM London Comic Con have announced that 101,600 people attended the May 23-25 show, which is being dubbed “the largest event of its kind ever held in the U.K.” That figure represents an increase of more than 31,500 from the May 2013 installment, and 13,600 from the October show. [MCM London Comic Con]
Creators | Kyle Anderson talks to director John Carpenter and writer Eric Powell (The Goon) about Big Trouble in Little China, the BOOM! Studios comic that picks up where the movie left off. Powell talks about renting the movie as a kid: “My sister and I would always go in there, and we’d always need to get a funny one and a scary one. Big Trouble kind of covered both of those situations.” The comic debuts on June 4. [Entertainment Weekly]
Telltale Games has debuted the first images from the penultimate episode of The Wolf Among Us, its critically acclaimed adventure game based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo series Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. In Episode 4, titled “In Sheep’s Clothing,” a beaten and bloody Bigby “is confronted by the realization that a society built on secrets is ripe for exploitation. And that the disenfranchised of Fabletown may see his prey not as the cause of their problems, but as their solution.”
No release date has been announced. The episode will be available on its own for $4.99 via the Xbox Games Store and PlayStation Network, or as part of the $14.99 season pass.
Telltale Games has debuted the launch trailer for the third episode of its adventure series The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo comic Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. In Episode 3, titled “A Crooked Mile,” Bigby “is just steps behind the prime suspect of a horrific murder, but he’s not the only one; other forces in Fabletown will stop at nothing to protect their interests.”
Be warned, though: The trailer contains spoilers for the first two episodes.
Telltale Games has released the red-band trailer for the second episode of its adventure series The Wolf Among Us, based on Bill Willingham’s Vertigo fantasy Fables.
Set 30 years before the events of Fables #1, the game allows players to control Bigby Wolf as he investigates the gruesome murder of a Fable, which leads to an even bigger mystery. The new episode, titled “Smoke & Mirrors,” is expected to debut next month, although Telltale teases only that it’s “coming soon.”
The Wolf Among Us premiered in October across multiple platform. You can read the Comic Book Resources review of the first episode here.
Creators | Newsday picks up the story of Al Plastino’s original art for the John F. Kennedy comic that was canceled when the president was assassinated, and then published a few months later at the request of the Johnson administration. Plastino, now 91, had been told the artwork would be donated to the Kennedy Library, but last month at New York Comic Con he learned that a private individual had the art and was planning to sell it through Heritage Auctions, which now says it won’t move forward until the ownership question is resolved. Copyright lawyer Dale Cendall, former DC Comics President Paul Levitz and artist Neal Adams weigh in on the case. [Newsday]
Kickstarter | In the wake of the successful Fantagraphics Kickstarter campaign, Rob Salkowitz looks at the evolution of the crowdfunding platform from a way for individual creators to connect with their audiences to a pre-sale mechanism that eliminates a lot of the risk for smaller publishers. [ICv2]
DC Comics hasn’t had a particularly good run of things lately. To be frank, the publisher has done blown it a number of times over the past few years. But don’t worry, DC fans — I’m sure it’ll soon be Marvel’s turn, as the two rivals seem to trade off every five years or so.
I’ve been calling out DC for the past couple of weeks, but that doesn’t mean everything it does strikes me as wrong. It’s important to declare shenanigans, but it’s also important to recognize when a publisher does something that’s good for comics.
So here are six things DC is doing right:
1. Digital comics: Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman are digital-first anthology series that feature some excellent creators (from Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee to J.M. DeMatteis and Jeff Lemire) producing completely accessible and entertaining stories that stand on their own; no college course on the New 52 or Crisis on Infinite Earths required. Yes, these stories are out of continuity — so for a percentage of readers, they don’t count. That’s a mistake, because there’s nothing wrong with a straight-up superhero tale that exists on its own terms. These two anthologies are the gems of DC’s digital-first line-up, but Batman ’66 and Batman: Li’l Gotham also offer fantastical takes on the iconic Caped Crusader that are bright and fun. For those exhausted by the angsty versions of serious stories, you owe it to yourself to check these out.
As the finishing touches are put on Comic-Con International ahead of Preview Night, The Hollywood Reporter releases an interview with DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson that’s a blend of polite sidestepping of delicate or unannounced subjects — the departure from Warner Bros. of her boss Jeff Robinov, Man of Steel 2, the long-developing Justice League movie — and insight into how the media giant views the DC properties.
Naturally, given the outlet, much of the discussion involves film and television, with Nelson addressing why she thinks Man of Steel succeeded while Green Lantern didn’t, and why DC’s movie plans have been developing so slowly, the conversation veers a little closer to comic books when she’s asked what five characters she’d like to seen on the screen.
“Sandman is right on top,” Nelson responds. “I think it could be as rich as the Harry Potter universe. Fables. Metal Men. Justice League. And yes, I’m going to say it: Aquaman.”
At least a couple of times over the course of the weekend, Bill Willingham talked about his goal for the Fabletown and Beyond convention he hosted in Rochester, Minnesota. He may not have actually used the term “bucket list,” but that’s essentially what the show seems to have been for him: an opportunity to throw the kind of comics convention he wanted to attend and to see if other creators and fans would enjoy it just as much. From the standing ovation he received at Sunday’s closing ceremony, it appears he was right.
Chris Roberson pointed out to me that Fabletown and Beyond was a lot like fantasy and sci-fi literary conventions. It had that feel from the opening ceremony (an idea Willingham freely admits to stealing from fantasy/sci-fi shows) to the final farewell. It was completely focused on comics and storytelling, and it was a uniquely intimate experience. The show was only designed to accommodate a maximum of 500 attendees, and it got 505. That meant I kept seeing the same faces over and over again all weekend — creators and fans alike — so that by the third day, even people I never talked to were familiar. Instead of a hectic event where people rushed from place to place trying to see and do everything they wanted to, it was a relaxed environment that felt more like just hanging out with friends. Really smart, interesting friends.
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Following events like last year’s ImageCon and MorrisonCon, Fabletown and Beyond is the most recent comic convention devoted to serving a specific segment of readers: in this case, fans of what Fables creator Bill Willingham describes as “Mythic Fiction.” Fabletown and Beyond takes place this weekend in Willingham’s community of Rochester, Minnesota, and celebrates comics that include and update “fairytales, folklore, myth, legend, talking animals, and characters from literature.”
The festivities begin at 3 p.m. Friday and run practically non-stop until 6 p.m. Sunday. Programming is scheduled to go late into the evening on Friday and Saturday with the convention’s bar (an even more important element of this convention than most) staying open until 2 a.m.
The convention will take place in two locations, connected by skyways to allow attendees protection from the Minnesota weather. The dealers’ area, Artist
Alley Boulevard, and programming rooms will be located in in the Mayo Civic Center, with the opening ceremony and other special events held in the Kahler Grand Hotel. The hotel is also the location of the Elizabethan bar (re-named the Kill Shakespeare Bar for the weekend) that will be taken over for the exclusive use of the convention.