The shortlist has been announced for the 2014 Stan Lee Excelsior Award, whose winners will be selected by students from 77 secondary schools across the United Kingdom.
Established in 2011 by Paul Register, a school librarian in Sheffield, the awards are designed to promote comics and to encourage children and teenagers to read. The winners — first, second and third place — will be announced in July. The nominees are:
- Indestructible Hulk: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu (Marvel)
- Quantum and Woody: The World’s Worst Superhero Team, by James Asmus and Tom Fowler (Valiant)
- The Judas Coin, by Walter Simonson (DC Comics)
- Aliens: Inhuman Condition, by John Layman and Sam Kieth (Dark Horse)
- Earth 2: The Gathering, by James Robinson and Nicola Scott (DC Comics)
- Sherlock Bones, by Yuma Ando and Yuki Sato (Kodansha)
- Captain America: Castaway in Dimension Z, by Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. (Marvel)
- The Halloween Legion, by Martin Powell and Thomas Boatwright (Dark Horse)
Graphic novels | Five volumes of The Walking Dead made the November BookScan list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores. As ICv2 points out, the fact that the first volume is still charting (at No. 13) bodes well for the series, as it means new readers are continuing to come in. The latest volume of Naruto took the No. 2 slot, and there were nine volumes of manga overall, including three volumes of Attack on Titan and the newest volume of Yotsuba&! There were five DC Comic titles on the list, as well as the latest volume of Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Completely missing from the Top 20? Anything from Marvel. [ICv2]
Publishing | After three years at DC Entertainment, John Rood will step down on Jan. 1 as executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. The position is being eliminated, with marketing and publicity to fall under the auspices of Amit Desai, senior vice president of franchise management. Sales, custom publishing and business development will again be overseen by Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. [The Beat]
Gift Guides | Here’s a spin on the traditional gift guide: Ten things not to buy a comics fan. [Crave Online]
Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
Continuing the march of best-of-the-year lists, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog has compiled its list of the Top 10 graphic novels for kids in 2013. It’s a pretty diverse group, ranging from historical fiction to fantasy to biography, with Abrams, First Second and Top Shelf well-represented:
- Fairy Tales Comics, edited by Chris Duffy(First Second)
- Odd Ducks, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
- Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party, by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
- Monster on the Hill: Book One, by Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
- Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix)
- Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
- March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
- Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
- The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book One: Spelling Trouble, by Frank Cammuso (Abrams)
Follow the link to read about the Good Comics For Kids bloggers have to say about each of the selections.
On the heels of Time magazine, National Public Radio has released a substantial list of the best books of 2013, which includes a dozen comics and graphic novels among its more than 200 titles (although, granted, not all of them are strictly “comics”). A handful of the selections should by now be familiar from previous best-of lists:
- Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy and Emma Rios (Marvel)
- Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly (Balzer+Bray)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
- Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
- New School, by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
- Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, by Tim Leong (Chronicle Books)
- The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
- You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons, by Tom Gauld (Drawn and Quarterly)
The parade of best-of-the-year lists continues apace, with critic Douglas Wolk selecting Time magazine’s Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels of 2013:
- Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
- The Phoenix: The Weekly Story Comic, by various (David Fickling Books)
- Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- Fran, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant!, by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000AD)
- Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
- Very Casual: Some Stories, by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
- Incidents in the Night, Vol. 1, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)
Visit Time to read Wolk’s comments about each title.
It’s December, which means best-of-the-year lists, both large and small, will begin appearing at a mind-boggling pace. And while not all of them are comics-specific, many include a smattering of graphic novels and collections. Here are three of the most recent offerings:
• For the Best Graphic Novel of 2013, GoodReads members selected Beautiful Creatures: The Manga (Yen Press), Cassandra Jean’s adaptation of the bestselling young-adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It beat out such contenders as March Book One, Boxers & Saints and Saga, Vol. 2.
• Slate’s list of the Overlooked Books of 2013 includes critic Tammy Oler’s recommendation of Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As a Weapon (Marvel), by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido. “Fraction’s smart writing comes to life in stunning art and innovative panel layouts,” Oler writes, “making Hawkeye deeply entertainingly and moving.”
• At Salon, Laura Miller recounts 10 unforgettable graphic novels from 2013: Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang; Calling Dr. Laura, by Nicole J. Georges; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard; Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg; How to Fake a Moon Landing, by Darryl Cunningham; Opera Adaptations, by P. Craig Russell; RASL, by Jeff Smith; The Freddie Stories, by Lynda Barry; The Property, by Rutu Modan; and When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael.
Publishing | Tom Spurgeon writes the definitive obituary of PictureBox, which announced Monday it will stop publishing at the end of the year. He also polls other small-press comics publishers for their reactions. [The Comics Reporter]
Digital comics | Yen Press is bringing its digital manga magazine Yen Plus to an end; the December issue will be the final one. The magazine was launched as a print anthology in August 2008 and switched to digital-only format in 2010. When it began serializing Soul Eater NOT, Yen Plus became the first magazine to publish manga chapters worldwide at the same time they came out in Japan (Shonen Jump does simultaneous release, but only to a restricted region). [Anime News Network]
Thursday at this time, many Americans will be digging in to their bountiful Thanksgiving dinner or, depending upon the time zone, blissfully enjoying a tryptophan coma. Feasting isn’t the only tradition, however: There’s also the custom of giving thanks, hence the holiday’s name.
With the end of the year approaching, it seems like a good opportunity to reflect on the state of comics, and celebrate what’s working. Sure, this crazy industry can be frustrating at times, but it also gets a lot of things right. So in keeping with the numerical motif of our namesake, here are six things in comics for which I’m thankful.
1. Image Comics is killing it
There are a lot of fantastic comics today. It’s been said a number of times by myself and others but it’s so fun to repeat: We are living in a new renaissance period for comics. I don’t think there’s ever before been such a sustained output of quality books. You can’t reasonably give credit for that to one publisher, but if we’re just looking at the major players in the direct market, Image Comics is just killing it this year. I don’t think they’ve ever had such a stellar line-up of quality creators putting out books that look fantastic, have great hooks to them, and stand on their own as solid entertainment.
Not content to wait until Black Friday or Cyber Monday, DC Comics and Drawn & Quarterly have gotten a head start on holiday sales.
Beginning Tuesday, DC Comics Digital will give away the first issue of a different digital-first comic each day for the next week: Tuesday is Legends of the Dark Knight, Wednesday is Batman ’66, Thursday is The Vampire Diaries, Friday is Smallville Season 11, Saturday is Batman Beyond 2.0/Justice League Beyond 2.0, Sunday is Batman: Li’l Gotham, and Monday is Adventures of Superman.
Drawn & Quarterly isn’t waiting, however: Between today and Dec. 2, the publisher is offering a 40 percent discount on any item — books, comics, posters, etc. — from its web store. Those include works released this year, including Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season, Rutu Modan’s The Poperty, Brian Ralph’s Reggie-12 and Anders Nilsen’s Rage of Poseidon.
Auctions | Comics industry legend Maggie Thompson plans to put up for auction 524 comics from her personal collection. Thompson, who with her late husband Don was a longtime editor of the Comics Buyer’s Guide, estimates that she has 10,000 comics, all stored in a special vault-like addition to her home, which she built using the money from a previous sale, of Amazing Fantasy #15 (the first appearance of Spider-Man) and the first 100 issues of The Amazing Spider-Man. Bidding on the first batch of comics, which includes The Avengers #1, Journey into Mystery #83 (first appearance of Thor), The Incredible Hulk #1, and original cover art from Conan #4, begins today. [The Associated Press]
Comics | ICv2 releases the results of its White Paper (previously reported at Comic Book Resources), which tracks comics and graphic novel sales in all channels. Briefly, the report shows that sales of comics and graphic novels are up, manga is up dramatically, and digital comics sales continue to increase — although growth is slowing a bit, which is to be expected as the base increases. [ICv2]
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]
Comics | A CGC-certified 9.2 copy of The Brave and the Bold #28, featuring the first appearance of the Justice League, was sold by Pedigree Comics for $120,000, a record price for the issue (cover-dated February-March 1960). ““The sale for $120,000 is a record price for any copy of Brave and the Bold #28, almost doubling the only recorded 9.4 sale (from April, 2004) of $60,375,” said Pedigree Comics CEO Doug Schmell. “The other 9.2 copy (with off-white pages) fetched $35,850 in May, 2008. This book is beginning to rise dramatically in demand, popularity and value, evidenced by the recent sales of two 8.5 examples (in September, 2013 for $45,504 and for $40,500 in June, 2013).” [Scoop, via ICv2]
Passings | “He took me seriously”: Shaenon Garrity writes the definitive obituary of webcomics pioneer Joey Manley, who died Nov. 7 at the age of 48. She talks to a number of the creators who worked with him over the years and puts his accomplishments into perspective. [The Comics Journal]
We’ve said before here on Shelf Porn that it isn’t the size of the collection that matters, only the passion of the person submitting it. Sometimes it’s also not about the number of pictures submitted, either. With that in mind, here are four collections I’ve received recently that had a lot to say in a few images.
Events | The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University steps into the spotlight for the Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art, which celebrates the library’s move to a new 30,000-square-foot home on campus. The library’s extensive collection includes more than 300,000 original comic strips, 29,000 comic books, 45,000 books and 2,400 boxes of manuscripts, personal papers and the like. The festival, held today through Sunday, includes such guests as Eddie Campbell, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Herandez, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Hilary Price, Kazu Kibuishi and Dylan Meconis. [The Associated Press, The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Alive]
Creators | Art Spiegelman talks about history, Maus, and being the creator of Maus: “I have to keep moving as best I can through the shadow of something that I’m glad I had pass through me.” [Tablet]