Although I’ve known him for a few years from frequent drop-ins at the BOOM! Studios booth on the convention circuit, I haven’t ever had the opportunity to interview Matt Gagnon, the company’s editor-in-chief. So I jumped at the chance to talk to him for ROBOT 6′s anniversary.
Matt Gagnon joined BOOM! in 2008 to edit its Farscape comics after working as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. He moved up fairly quickly, becoming managing editor, then editor-in-chief when Mark Waid was named chief creative officer in 2010. This past year saw the launch of BOOM!’s ultra-popular Adventure Time comic book, as well as several other kids’ series as a part of the KaBOOM! line. The publisher also announced a new Hellraiser series and put out several original series, like Higher Earth, Freelancers (which Gagnon co-created) and last week’s Deathmatch, just to name a few.
My thanks to Matt for his time, as well to BOOM!’s Filip Sablik, who helped set it all up.
Sales | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to comic books stores through Diamond Comic Distributors increased 27.5 percent in January compared to the same month in 2011. Comics were up 32 percent while graphic novels were up 18 percent compared to 2011. DC Comics dominated all 10 spots at the top of the chart, with Justice League #5 coming in at No. 1. Batman: Through the Looking Glass was the top graphic novel for the month. [ICv2]
Passings | British comics artist Mike White, who illustrated Alan Moore’s The Twisted Man and numerous other stories for 2000AD, Lion, Valiant, Action and Score ‘n’ Roar, has passed away after a long illness. [Blimey!]
Publishing | Because the world demanded it, apparently, Random House plans to publish e-books of all the collected editions of Garfield newspaper comics. [Down the Tubes]
Threadless has a fetching new T-shirt aimed at spreading the word about the growing epidemic of dog owners who won’t pick up after their pets. The shirt features various cartoon and comic strip dogs and their owners, um, doing their thing, including Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, and Homer Simpson and Santa’s Little Helper. If I ever had the urge to wear a shirt featuring dogs dropping a deuce, which I haven’t, this would be the shirt for me.
Creators | Renowned artist Steve Rude has announced that money raised from an online art and comics auction has enabled he and his family to keep their home: “When I saw the bread coming in after Gino made her announcement (this was unbeknownst to the oblivious Dude), I was, and still am, in a mild state of stupefication. The outpouring of generosity was clearly far beyond what Gino and I could’ve asked for. Your contributions poured in from all corners of our planet; the sizeable backstock of comics and Dude related ‘higher reading paraphernalia’ were ordered by the spit-load; and Erik Larson bought his complete Next Nexus 3 issue! All said, we saved the house.” The Nexus creator is still working to regain his financial footing, so he’s selling 2011 calendars and, soon, a new sketchbook. [DudeNews]
Comic strips | Cartoonist Jim Davis has issued an apology for an ill-timed Garfield strip that appeared on Veterans Day. The strip, which appeared in newspapers on Thursday, featured a standoff between Garfield and a spider, and referred to “an annual day of remembrance” called “National Stupid Day.” In a statement, Davis explained that the strip was written almost a year ago, “and I had no idea when writing it that it would appear today — of all days.” [CNN, The Daily Cartoonist]
NBM publisher Terry Nantier posted some news yesterday about his company’s upcoming publishing plans. Papercutz, NBM’s all-ages imprint, has picked up the rights to publish a Garfield comic book based on the Cartoon Network show — which, of course, is based on the comic strip of the same name.
He also mentioned some new projects and initiatives for NBM proper:
I can tell you we’ve got a new David B lined up where we’re going to take a quite different approach to how we present it than what we’ve been doing. Also the next Louvre book will look quite different! Basically, we’re seeing we don’t need to be married to the 6×9 format as much as we were so we’re going to open things up!
Also, we’re seeing a need for our books to reflect what we publish: beautiful quality comics you want to have physically and keep proudly in your library. For those who’d rather not spend so much, we’ll be multiplying our efforts on the E-book side.
Famed cartoonist Jim Davis, creator Garfield, announced Thursday in an interview with USA Today’s Whitney Matheson that he is bringing back his late-’80s comic strip U.S. Acres as a webcomic. Davis, who launched Garfield in 1978, debuted U.S. Acres in 1986 to a then-unprecedented 505 newspapers nationwide. The series, which ran for three years, was a barnyard slapstick comic strip that drew inspiration from Garfield’s own visits to the farm with John’s relatives, and started Orson the Pig. The strip also was adapted for television, appearing as a regular segment of the Saturday-morning cartoon Garfield and Friends.
According to Davis, U.S. Acres will relaunch today as a webcomic on the Garfield website. No word on a new print collection, but one seems mighty likely.
An analysis of six of the most popular nationally syndicated comic strips over the course of a year shows that women appeared less than half the time and when they did the gag was on them, said Daniel Fernandez-Baca, a UF graduate student in sociology. He presented his paper at a meeting of the American Sociological Association this week.
“When they do appear, for the most part, women don’t say anything funny or act humorously, but merely set up the joke and allow men to create the humor,” he said.
Other than being a straight man or foil to the laugh-inspiring male character, women were used mostly to reinforce certain humorous stereotypes, such as the harried or henpecking housewife, Fernandez-Baca said.
“Other research on comic strips typically looks at where women are portrayed – in the kitchen, in the work force, inside the home or out in the world at large,” he said. “This study goes a step further by asking why women are in comics in the first place and how they contribute to the humor of the situation.”
There is a certain circularity to this study, a logical flaw that should disqualify it as serious research: Continue Reading »
The “Sunday Funnies” stamps announced earlier this year by the United States Postal Service will be issued July 16, kicking off at 10:30 a.m. with a dedication ceremony at The Ohio State University, home of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.
The five stamps honor Archie, Beetle Bailey, Calvin and Hobbes, Dennis the Menace and Garfield, so it’s fitting that the ceremony’s guests include Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker, Garfield creator Jim Davis, Dennis the Menace artists Marcus Hamilton and Ron Ferdinand, Archie newspaper strip writer Craig Goldman and Calvin and Hobbes editor Lee Salem.
See larger images of the stamp artwork, and read the text from the back of the “Sunday Funnies” pane, after the break:
Square Root of Minus Garfield is a webcomic devoted to mashups of the newspaper strip Garfield with various other things—if you’re looking for Garfield Unix jokes, for instance, go no further. This is a particularly awesome comic, as it combines Garfield and his Japanese cousin, Michael, from the manga What’s Michael? which used to be published by Dark Horse but, sadly, seems to be out of print.
Retailing | The annual meeting of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization, begins today in Memphis, Tennessee, with DC Comics-focused programming — we’ll likely see some announcements this afternoon — and continues through Saturday. Matt Price gauges the general mood among attendees concerning the economy, digital comics and the increasing reliance by publishers on “classified” solicitations whose details aren’t revealed until just before the final-order cutoff. [Nerdage]
Publishing | French publisher Les Humanoïdes Associés, which in recent years has had deals with DC Comics and Devil’s Due Publishing, plans to “formally reestablish itself” as a U.S. comic-book publisher — this time without a partner. The venture, called Humanoids Inc., is overseen by Publisher Fabrice Giger, Director Alex Donoghue, Editor-in-Chief Bob Silva and Senior Art Director Jerry Frissen. The first titles will be released in June. [Humanoids]
Publishing | Kodansha confirms what virtually everyone has known for quite a while now: that the publisher — Japan’s largest — is setting up shop in the United States, establishing an office in New York City. Kodansha USA Publishing will launch Kodansha Comics with Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and Shirow Masamune’s Ghost in the Shell, two titles that had been licensed in North America by Dark Horse. The company will focus on translating its sizable backlist, but views original publishing as one of its “eventual ambitions.” David Welsh provides a little commentary. [Publishers Weekly]