Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Retailing | Dennis Barger, co-owner of Wonderworld Comics in Taylor, Michigan, and the driving force behind the new retailer association CBRA (Comic Book Retailers Alliance), says direct-market stores want publishers to pull back on same-day digital release, and debut the print comics first. He says ComicsPRO, the established, much larger, trade organization, is taking the wrong approach in trying to adapt to digital. Barger also feels that hand-selling by employees, not social media, is what propels sales of comics, especially non-Big Two titles: “The employees at local comic shops pushing these books is the difference in being in the top 200 and the bottom 300 in sales for those books.” A shift to digital, which removes the local comics shop from the equation, would thus harm second-tier publishers such as Dark Horse, BOOM! Studios and IDW. The association was able to purchase an exclusive variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #1, drawn by John Romita Sr., for its members. [The News-Herald]
Of all the promotional videos created for Free Comic Book Day, this is easily my favorite to date. In it, LeVar Burton, Star Trek: The Next Generation veteran and host of the long-running Reading Rainbow shares how his love of reading began with comic books.
“You see, I’m an Army brat,” he says. “My father was in the military, and when were stationed in Germany comic books were a treasured item we first read and then traded with one another. They also kept us connected to the popular culture back home.”
That provides the perfect segue for Burton to talk about Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day, when participating retailers across North America and around the globe will offer some 60 titles– for free. But you don’t have to take my word for it — just watch the video below.
Wade Shaw, owner of Wade’s Comic Madness in Levittown, Pennsylvania, is looking for donations for an auction to benefit one of his customers.
“Our longtime customer and friend Mike Pacenski is going through a terrible situation, as his 6-month-old daughter Willa has been diagnosed with leukemia,” he said in an email to CBR. “To assist with their mounting bills, on May 3 we will be running silent auctions, raffling prize baskets and selling ‘Team Willa’ wristbands all day, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the family.”
Back in December 2013, Dark Horse revealed the covers for its May 3, 2014’s Free Comic Book Day offerings. One of those covers is for Project Black Sky featuring Captain Midnight and Brain Boy from cover and interior artist Michael Broussard.
Set for Saturday, May 3, Free Comic Book Day 2014 boasts 60 titles, ranging from the Bongo Free-For-All and The Smurfs to Guardians of the Galaxy and the 2000AD Special.
Ever the salesman, Lee delivers his lines with flair, and plenty of hand gestures, directing folks to their local comic book store on Saturday, May 3 for this year’s event, which boasts some 60 titles.
Scratch9, the all-ages series by Rob Worley and Justin Castaneda, will return for Free Comic Book Day with an issue from Hermes Press that finds the house cat teaming with the First Family’s dog Bo to save President Obama from an unknown plot.
Titled “Cat America/Dog America,” the story answers why the president is banning cats from the United States. It’s one of three tales in the special issue — it’s a flip-book shared by Worley and Joshua Buchanan’s Run & Amuk — that launches the new series Scratch9: Cat of Nine Worlds.
Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors runs the numbers on Free Comic Book Day: 1.2 million fans went to 2,000 participating comics shops and picked up 4.6 million free comics, generating $2.2 million worth of publicity along the way. And fans reported on their experience with more than 66,000 tweets with the FCBD hashtags. [ICv2]
Conventions | The Philadelphia Daily News previews this weekend’s Wizard World Philadelphia, which marks the return of Marvel after a several-year absence. [Philadelphia Daily News]
DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee appeared Saturday on CBS New York to promote Free Comic Book Day, but he also used the time to plug Warner Bros.’ upcoming Man of Steel — “It brought me to tears, actually, a couple of times” — and Superman comics, and to inform the anchor that, no, they’re not all drawn by the same artist.
“It seems like they’re all sort of drawn the same way,” the anchor says. “But you actually have different people doing these drawings?”
Still, Lee talked perhaps the most about director Zack Snyder’s franchise reboot, saying, “It’s an amazing reimagining of Superman. There’s stuff in there you’ve never seen in a Superman movie before. The special effects are incredible, but it’s got a lot of heart.”
By most reports, Free Comic Book Day was again a resounding success, enjoyed by tens of thousands of fans the world over (you can see coverage of many events at CBR Live!), but in Portland, Maine, the celebration took a turn for the worse.
According to the Maine Sun Journal, a man dressed as a Ghostbuster and another dressed as a Stormtrooper were assaulted Saturday afternoon outside Coast City Comics in an attack police described as “completely random.”
“There were a bunch of people standing outside trying to drum up business and one guy was dressed as a Stormtrooper,” Bobby Daggett, who was dressed as Green Lantern, told the newspaper. “Out of nowhere this guy tried to put [the guy in the Stormtrooper costume] in a chokehold from behind and then throws him to the ground. He was trying to be intimidating above him and screamed obscenities to everybody.”
Police said they subdued an intoxicated Adam Barnes — all 6 feet 4 inches and 300 pounds of him — with a stun gun and charged the 31-year-old man with two counts of assault, disorderly conducts and five counts of criminal threatening because he threatened the officers on the scene. He was being held at the Cumberland County Jail on $1,500 bail.“I’ve been a cop for 23 years, Portland police Lt. Gary Hutcheson told the newspaper. “I’ve never heard of a Ghostbuster and a Stormtrooper getting assaulted.”
Conventions | Last week’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo drew 53,000 attendees, the largest crowd yet for the Chicago-based show, which is in its fourth year. Reed Exhibitions Group Vice President Lance Fensterman talks about the high points of the show and plans for the next couple of years. [ICv2]
Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald tracks the rise in popularity of graphic novels among librarians, whose support has been integral to the growth of the industry. Her well-researched article includes interviews with public librarians, school librarians, and academic librarians, as well as publishers and others in the field. It’s a comprehensive overview of one of the most important, and least reported-on, areas of our world. [Publishers Weekly]
Comics | Alex Hern looks at three comics that have long been out of print but are now back, or possibly on their way back: Flex Mentallo, Marvelman and Zenith. [The New Statesman]
Free Comic Book Day is once again upon us, the day that current and hopefully potential comic fans flock to their local comic shop to sample a buffet of comic choices from publishers large and small. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into this time around, from previews of new or upcoming stuff — like Marble Season and Superman: The Last Son of Krypton #1 to first issues of brand new comics — like The Strangers #1 and Aphrodite IX #1. There are original comics, licensed comics, kids comics, anthologies … basically something for everyone.
Some retailers will offer all-you-can-eat options, while others might have limits on what you can get … so if you have to make a choice, here are six comics we’re particularly looking to sink our teeth into.
If the purpose of Free Comic Book Day is to raise awareness of comics, well, mission accomplished! The mass media has taken note, and newspapers large and small have been running articles about comics in general and what is going on in their communities in particular. Here’s a selection of the meatier articles; you can find out what’s going on near you at the FCBD website, and Steve Morris has compiled a list of additional lists at The Beat.
Comics | Matt Moore takes the wide view, talking to Joe Field, organizer of the first FCBD, and looking at the increase in comics sales in the past year as well as the print-digital divide. Moore talks to DC’s Dan DiDio, Marvel’s Dan Buckley, and an assortment of retailers and customers about the convenience of digital and the pleasures of brick-and-mortar comics shops. [Associated Press]
Advice | Allison Babka offers a “virgin’s guide” to making the most of FCBD. [The Riverfront Times]
Comics | Whitney Matheson lists the ten FCBD comics you won’t want to miss, as well as some tips for first-timers. [USA Today]
Following in the footsteps of Punisher star Thomas Jane, The Wolverine‘s Hugh Jackman has released a video in support of Free Comic Book Day, which will be held Saturday at comic stores across North America and around the globe.
“Let’s face it, as we all know, all the best movies end up being made from comic books, like The Wolverine,” the actor says.
More than 4.6 million comic books are expected to be given away Saturday. Find a participating store near you with FindAComicShop.com.
Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster’s Daily Democrat]