Hardly a week goes by that some film studio or producer doesn’t snatch up the rights to a comic book, intent on transforming the property into the next big Hollywood franchise. While it’s rare for one of those projects to move beyond the development stage, it’s rarer still for the people involved to go out of their way to stress what a movie isn’t based on.
Such is the case with Dodge and Twist, a sequel of sorts to Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist from Sony Pictures, said to be based on an idea by producer/actor/writer Ahmet Zappa. The third paragraph of The Hollywood Reporter announcement reads, “The project is set on an idea by Zappa and not on the more serious book of the same name by Tony Lee.”
That book would be Dodge & Twist, a graphic novel by Lee and Paul Peart-Smith announced as early as 2007 that at one point was targeted for release by AiT/Planet Lar (you can still see an unedited 19-page preview on the company’s website). Although the graphic novel was never published, Lee released Dodge & Twist in 2011 as a prose ebook set 12 years after the events of Dickens’ classic, with Oliver forced to assist the Artful Dodger in stealing in the Koh-I-Noor diamond from the Great Exhibition of 1851.
Viz Media has inked a deal with “global lifestyle brand” Sanrio to publish a series of original Hello Kitty graphic novels, as well as a special-edition comic that will debut in July at Comic-Con International.
The single-volume comic will feature a cover by Eisner-nominated artist Jacob Chabot, with interior art by Victoria Maderna, Ian McGinty and Chabot. That will be followed in the fall by the release of Here We Go!, a collection of stories about Hello Kitty’s world travels and the first volume in the main graphic novel series.
The release of Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s highly anticipated follow-up to 2010′s Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, has been delayed until next year because of a shoulder injury the cartoonist suffered over the summer.
“I was about halfway through writing/penciling the book when I had to stop, and it was really daunting to get back to work on it,” he explained on his blog. “That’s why I’ve been doing side projects recently like the Young Avengers cover and Battle Royaleposter … it’s been helpful to work on smaller projects as I warm up from my time off. [...] I had to take a frustratingly long break in order to repair my body, and during that time off I’ve been working hard on fitness and stuff so this doesn’t happen again. When I found out the book would have to be delayed into 2014 it was maybe the saddest day of my life.”
Publishing | Comics sales were up 22 percent in the direct market over January 2012, and graphic novels increased by nearly 38 percent. This good news is tempered a bit by the fact there were five Wednesdays in this January (or 25 percent more Wednesdays, if you want to look at it that way), but that fifth week is usually a quiet one for new releases, so I think we can call this a win. The retail news and analysis site ICv2 credits Marvel NOW! and a strong backlist for the boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | Dark Horse’s video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia last week was the No. 1 book in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan — not merely in the graphic novel category, but in any category. The initial print run was 400,000 copies. (Comic Book Resources interviewed the book’s editor Patrick Thorpe last month.) [ICv2]
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew shares their picks for who we think should play a young Han Solo. Of course, we unanimously chose Nathan Fillion, so instead we’ll talk about what comics we’ve been reading. Joining us today is special guest Tim Lattie, the creator of Night Stars. Tim is currently running a Kickstarter to raise funds to publish it, so head over there and check it out.
To see what Tim and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Comics | A Columbus, Ohio, entertainment weekly lays out a case for the city — home of Jeff Smith, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo — becoming, like Portland, Oregon, a hub for comic books. “Comics in Columbus is a weird underground, sort of hip-hop thing,” indie publisher Victor Dandridge Jr. says. “We’re like hip-hop in the Bronx in ’79, just on the corner doing our thing.” [Columbus Alive]
Conventions | Bart Beaty files a final report on this year’s Angouleme International Comics Festival, and his verdict is … meh. “There was a consensus all around that the show was flat. People would throw around adjectives like “fine,” “good,” and “okay.” It wasn’t a disaster (as were some of the shows disrupted by construction), but it also wasn’t that memorable either” [The Comics Reporter]
The Kickstarter campaign for Franco Aureliani and Art Baltazar Aw Yeah Comics! received widespread and immediate attention, rocketing the series past its $15,000 goal on the very first day. However, a drive for another terrific-looking all-ages project by established creators kicked off last week without that level of publicity.
Gumshoes 4 Hire brings together Sean “Cheeks” Galloway, Kevin Hopps, Gurihiru and DJ Welch for a comic about a group of friends that investigates seemingly petty crimes only to discover the real cause of the troubles in the town of The Cliffs may be the fabled Curse of the Wendigoes.
Legal | In the aftermath of last month’s ruling that DC Comics retains full rights to Superman, the heirs of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are urging federal judge to dismiss claims that their lawyer interfered with the publisher’s copyright to the character. DC sued attorney Marc Toberoff in May 2010, accusing him impeding a 1992 copyright agreement with the heirs by striking overriding deals with them in 2001 and 2003. The families insist the publisher filed its claims two years too late, as the statute of limitations expired in 2008. [Law360]
Webcomics | Malicious hackers hit the Blind Ferret servers last week, and they didn’t just wipe out the websites that host Least I Could Do, Girls with Slingshots and other high-profile webcomics — they also wiped out the backups. Gary Tyrell has the story and advises creators to have multiple backups in multiple locations. [Fleen]
Dutch cartoonist Willem was presented with the Grand Prix award over the weekend in France at the 40th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival, honoring his lifetime achievement. In addition, Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump creator Akira Toriyama was awarded a special Grand Prix recognizing his 40-year career.
As the recipient of the Grand Prix, Willem will serve as president of next year’s festival.
The other major prize winners, courtesy of The Comics Reporter, were:
Prix du meilleur album
Quai d’Orsay Volume Two: Chroniques diplomatiques, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)
Prix spécial du jury
Le Nao de Brown, Glyn Dillon (Akileos)
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we reveal our picks for the best Super Bowl ads … er, where we talk about what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guest is Sonia Harris, who writes a weekly column – Committed – for Comics Should Be Good, and is a graphic designer on books such as Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker (collected in hardcover now from Image Comics) and upcoming comic books SEX (beginning March) and The Bounce. (beginning May).
To see what Sonia and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
If it’s Saturday, it must be Shelf Porn, and today’s collection comes from Troy Potter. Troy shows us his nicely displayed shelves of statues, trade paperbacks, toys and more.
If you’d like to submit your collection to Shelf Porn, scroll down to the end of the post to find out how. Now let’s hear from Troy …
The Slate Book Review has teamed up with the Center for Cartoon Studies to offer The Cartoonist Studio Prize, a new awards program that will be judged by Slate’s Dan Kois, The CCS faculty and students, and New Yorker art editor Françoise Mouly, who serves as this year’s guest judge. Slate announced yesterday the nominees in two categories, best graphic novel and best webcomics, and will reveal the winners of the $1,000 prizes March 1.
In case his appearance in a half-dozen monthly titles and the upcoming films weren’t enough for die-hard fans, there’s always that massive Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection hardcover Marvel announced in December. Just how massive? Feast your eyes on the first images of the book, and pity poor editor Sana Amanat (above).
Weighing in at a whopping 16 pounds, the foot-tall collection is big enough to kill a fully grown man or, when stood open, to serve as shelter for a child. It apparently marks the debut of the “all-new Mighty Marvel Format,” which suggests completists may want to invest now in larger, reinforced shelves. Preferably, adamantium.
The Young Adult Library Association has unveiled the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, a list of 55 titles that cover the spectrum from biography and mythology to superheroes and science fiction.
The finalists were selected by a committee from among 98 nominees recommended for readers ages 12 to 18. From those 55 titles, 10 were singled out for exemplifying “the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences.” The are:
- My Friend Dahmer, by Derf Backderf (Abrams)
- Trinity: A gRaphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang)
- Annie Sullivand the thr Trials of Helen Keller, Joseph Lambert (Disney Hyperion)
- Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Vol. 1, by Brian Micahel Bendis and Sara Pichelli (marvel)
- Friends with Boys, Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
- A Flight of Angels, by Alisa Kwitney, Rebecca Guay and others (DC Comics/Vertigo)
- The Silence of Our Friends, by Mark Long, Nate Powell and Others (First Second)
- Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami (NBM Publishing)
- Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/GRAPHIX)
- Daredevil, Vol. 1, by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (Marvel)
“What do superheroes, serial killers and the stage crew have in common? They all have a place on the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list,” chair Rachael Myers said in a statement. “There is a graphic novel on this list for every teen reader and we think this is a valuable resource for teens and the librarians who work with them.”
You can see the full list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens on the American Library Association website.
Digital comics | ComiXology, which earlier this week announced the opening of a European branch, has revealed its first big score: a digital-distribution agreement with Delcourt, the top independent publisher in France. And comiXology kicked off the agreement by updating its dedicated Walking Dead app to include a French interface and the French editions of the comic. The company also plans a dedicated Lanfeust of Troy app, and of course it will roll out Delcourt titles on its regular app as well. [ComiXology]
Auctions | A copy of Detective Comics #27, which contains the first appearance of Batman (or, as he was called in 1939, “the Bat-Man”), will go on the auction block later this month. The comic, which is CGC rated 6.5, is expected to fetch $500,000, but there’s no reserve, so this might be an opportunity to pick up a bargain. [Art Daily]