Cameron Stewart is best known for his work with Ed Brubaker on Catwoman and with frequent collaborator Grant Morrison on Batman and Robin, Seaguy and Seven Soldiers. But over the past six years, he’s also struck out on his own, writing and drawing the neo-noir mystery thriller Sin Titulo, a webcomic that’s earned the cartoonist an Eisner and a Shuster award.
Dark Horse published a print collection of the series in September, introducing Sin Titulo to a new audience. In support of that release, Stewart embarked last month on a 13-city tour that’s taking him across Canada and the United States before ending up in England. Ahead of tonight’s stop at Challenger Comics + Conversation in Chicago, guest contributor Dave Scheidt spoke with Stewart about the origins of the largely improvised Sin Titulo, the series’ place within the worlds of print and webcomics, his eventual return to Seaguy, and his plans for a fantasy epic called Niro.
Note: A shorter version of this interview originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
With 23 days left in a Kickstarter campaign to fund its spring/summer season of books, Fantagraphics has already surpassed its initial $150,000 goal.
“We literally are stunned by the support you have shown in less than four days,” Publisher Gary Groth wrote Monday in a Kickstarter update, “it’s incredible and we humbly thank you.”
As he explained last week to Comic Book Resources, the effort came in the wake of the illness and death earlier this year of co-founder Kim Thompson, which led 13 of the books he edited to be canceled or postponed. That amounted to the loss of about one-third of the spring/summer season, and a significant financial blow to the publisher. The Kickstarter is designed to help Fantagraphics finance the next season of books — 39 in all.
With that $150,000 goal now met, Fantagraphics is expanding the number of premiums. The campaign ends Dec. 5.
Last night, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show devoted a full 10-minute segment to March, its creators Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, and to Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story, the 1958 comic that helped to inspire the civil-rights movement.
While many authors, musicians and politicians have cited increased sales and profiles following their appearances on The Colbert Report — the frequently mentioned, by Stephen Colbert himself, “Colbert Bump” — March seems seems to be the beneficiary of the lesser-known “Maddow Bump”: Following last night’s episode, the book rocketed to No. 12 on the Amazon Best Seller list, its peak position.
Maddow, an avowed comics fan, recently conducted a one-hour interview with Lewis about March at the Kentucky Author Forum. CBR spoke with the March team in June, and in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
As we reported earlier this week, publisher Top Shelf Productions has partnered with Fellowship of Reconciliation to offer Martin Luther King and the Montgomery Story in a digital bundle with March. Watch the Maddow segment below.
It’s been just five hours since the Kickstarter campaign launched for his 108-page graphic novel The Squidder, and already Ben Templesmith has pushed past his initial $18,000 goal. That may owe a little something to the squid ink.
You see, people who pledge $130 or more will receive a slipcased Kraken edition, with an original sketch done in squid ink; 21 people have already snatched those up.
The limited-run hardcover, written and illustrated by Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Fell, Welcome to Hoxford), is described as Mad Max meets Chthulhu, exploring “themes of a changing world, propaganda, and the nature of control via the main character. We’ll follow this journey of unfinished business through a world now alien and destroyed by a war which humanity lost generations ago against the almighty squid.”
Everyone who pledges money to The Squidder will have their name included in the book, and get a first look at a nine-page prelude. Beyond the Kraken edition with squid-ink sketches, incentives include a T-shirt, original art pages, and an appearance in the book.
Of course, comics weren’t limited to that one section: While Gilbert Hernandez’s Marble Season was named the best book in Comics & Graphic Novels, it also appeared at No. 71 on the editors’ rundown of the Top 100 of 2013, alongside Rutu Modan’s The Property (No. 80). Here’s the full Comics & Graphic Novels list:
- Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
- Batman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC Comics)
- Saga, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
- Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second) Continue Reading »
Graphic novels | Between them, Attack on Titan and The Walking Dead claimed nine of the 20 spots on BookScan’s October rundown of the top-selling graphic novels in bookstores. The first volume of Attack on Titan led another strong month for manga, which placed nine titles in the Top 20. New DC Comics books, rather than simply evergreen sellers, made an appearance, too, with the Batman: The Court of Owls mask and book set, the Joker: Death of the Family hardcover and the third Justice League hardcover landing in the Top 10. [ICv2]
Creators | Joe Sacco talks about his work, his collaboration with journalist Chris Hedges, and why he doesn’t portray himself with eyeballs. [Straight.com]
What if an alien invasion was … but wasn’t? At its core, that’s the concept of the upcoming graphic novel Phileas Reid Knows We Are Not Alone. Created by Scott Fogg and by Marc Thomas, the upcoming graphic novel follows scientist Phileas Reid as he looks to redeem himself after being pigeon-holed as a crazy person for speculating there are aliens. Reid finds his potential salvation when he meets an alien runaway from the the moons of Jupiter, but ends up in the middle of an interstellar face-off as the runaway’s people come looking for her and the Earth’s military thinks she’s the first soldier in an invasion.
“Phileas Reid Knows We’re Not Alone is an all-ages graphic novel with its sights set on action and adventure, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t without a message: You are not alone,” Fogg wrote on the project’s Kickstarter page. ” Wherever you are, whoever you are, no matter what age you are, people have gone before you and people are with you now. Just because you feel alone, doesn’t mean you are. This knowledge is supposed to be comforting, but it’s also a challenge. You not being alone in the world also means your way of doing things and your way of thinking things isn’t the only way.”
This week’s featured collection is from Marshall Julius, an entertainment journalist in Kent, England. He shows us his massive collection of action figures, books, toys and much more.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions.
And now let’s hear from Marshall …
As usual, Publishers Weekly is the first out of the gate with its best-of-the-year lists — if tradition holds, Amazon’s should come along within the next couple of weeks — even if they are a little incomplete (the children’s fiction category is coming “very soon”).
The five titles in the comics category are:
• March Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
• Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
• The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
• RASL, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
• Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
Digital comics | The Chernin Group, headed by former News Corp Chief Operating Officer Peter Chernin, has acquired a controlling stake in Crunchyroll, the streaming anime site that just launched a digital comics service. [All Things D]
Digital comics | Rob McMonigal takes a look at Believed Behavior, a website where subscribers can read comics by five different creators for $8 (there’s a free component as well) and then get them in print form. [Panel Patter]
Manga | Dark Horse announced Tuesday that there are 750,000 copies of the various volumes of Berserk in print; that number is about to increase, as the publisher is about to release new printings of the volumes that are low in stock, which is pretty much all of them. Volume 37 is due out later this month. [Anime News Network]
Graphic novels | Graphic novel sales are up 6.59 percent in comics shops, and they are also up in bookstores, according to the latest issue of ICv2′s Internal Correspondence. Sales have been increasing in the direct market for a while, but this is the first uptick in bookstore sales since the economy crashed in 2008. There seem to be several factors, including the popularity of television and movie tie-ins — the success of DC’s graphic novel program linked to Man of Steel is singled out — and a turnaround in manga sales. The article winds up with lists of the top properties in a number of different categories. [ICv2]
Digital comics | Here’s today’s news article on Crunchyroll’s new digital manga service, which offers same-day releases of 12 Kodansha manga titles for free and an all-you-can-eat service for $4.99 a month. Tomohiro Osaki interviews Japanese publishing insiders, who are upfront about the fact that this is an attempt to compete with pirate sites, and translator Matt Thorn, who says that better translations on the official site may lure readers away from scanlations. [The Japan Times]
Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at a fan’s shelves. Today’s collection comes from Marc in Hong Kong, who shows us how he uses the limited space he has available to display his stuff.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions.
And now here’s Marc …
Derek Kirk Kim’s Same Difference and Other Stories is among the selections for the 2014 World Book Night U.S., becoming the first graphic novel to earn the distinction. (Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges was chosen last year for the U.K. event.)
Celebrated around the globe on April 23, World Book Night was established in 2010 as a way to encourage more adults to read. Every year since the event was first observed in the United States in 2012, more than half a million books are given to people who might not typically have an opportunity to read.
First published in 2004, Kim’s award-winning debut graphic novel is the story of a group of young people attempting to navigate adulthood and personal relationships.
“It’s amazing to be the author of the first graphic novel included in this celebration of books and reading,” Kim said in a statement. “I never expected the places my book would take me; it’s wonderful that now, over a decade since it was first published, my story is still reaching new readers.”
Same Difference is in good, and varied, company on the 2014 list, alongside such books as Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, Agatha Christie’s After the Funeral, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ransom Riggs’ Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential.
Artist Pere Perez has worked on comics for the likes of Dark Horse DC, Marvel and Valiant, but now he’s poised to strike out on his own with his first creator-owned graphic novel Shaolin Mutants.
Described by Perez as an “epic kung-fu adventure,” Shaolin Mutants follows a kung fu-trained Shaolin monk named Leroy as he fights mutant armies in a near-future apocalyptic world. Kung fu is often used in comics, but Perez has a leg up on many of his colleagues: He’s a black-belt Wing Chun instructor who’s been practicing martial arts for nearly two decades.
“My love for martial arts has triggered the creation of this book, and my knowledge of them has helped me to create fighting choreographies and page layouts unlike anything you’ve ever seen on a comic book,” Perez writes on the Indiegogo page for Shaolin Mutants. “Also, I’ve tried to explain the philosophical and moral aspects of martial arts, so hopefully this book is not just an anthology of cool action scenes.”
Graphic novels | France 24 examines the Thursday release of Asterix and the Picts — the first album by new creative team Jean Yves-Ferri and Didier Conrad — from a political perspective, noting that the story, in which Asterix and Obelix journey from ancient Gaul to Iron Age Scotland, has already become part of the current debate about Scottish independence. [France 24]
Creators | Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who spent a night in police custody last week on charges of “suspicion of causing a disturbance,” spoke to the press this week. Liming, who has more than 300,000 followers on his microblog account, first ran into trouble two years ago for one of his cartoons, but police told him that China has freedom of speech and he could continue drawing. Nonetheless, another of his cartoons, depicting Winnie the Pooh (a frequent cartoon stand-in for Chinese President Xi Jinping) kicking a football was deleted and suppressed by censors. “For them, drawing leaders in cartoon form is a big taboo,” the cartoonist said. “I think the controls on the Internet are too harsh. They have no sense of humor. They can’t accept any ridicule.” [Reuters]