Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
As a kid I became obsessed with the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and Who’s Who in the DC Universe, not so much because of the character entries (the former far more exhaustive than the latter) but because of the headquarters floor plans: Avengers Mansion, the Justice League Satellite, the Baxter Building, Challengers Mountain, Avengers Compound — heck, even the Serpent Society headquarters.
It didn’t matter whether I knew much of the characters (the Challengers of the Unknown) or didn’t care about them (the Serpent Society, really?), I’d pore over them by the hour. (I bought Mayfair’s New Teen Titans role-playing game just for the plans to Titans Tower; never did play it.)
What started me on that trip down memory lane are the incredible plans and cross-section drawings of Key House that Gabriel Rodriguez has been has been posting on Twitter the past few days. They’re destined to become end sheets for the Lock & Key: Alpha & Omega hardcover, but they could easily stand alone in their own book. They’re just that beautiful and meticulous (you can see more on Rodriguez’s Twttier under “#Keyhouse“).
You’ll have to wait a while to see them in print: The Lock & Key: Alpha & Omega hardcover arrives in February from IDW Publishing. In the meantime, I need to unearth those tattered copies of Who’s Who and OHOTMU …
Creators | Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson and Cul de Sac cartoonist Richard Thompson discuss their mutual admiration and their excitement about exhibiting their work together next spring at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at the Ohio State University. [Comic Riffs]
Legal | Chinese cartoonist Wang Luming, who uses the nom de plume “Rebel Pepper,” was arrested Wednesday, one day after he posted an online cartoon critical of police who were facing off with protestors rather than helping flood victims in the city of Yuyao. Residents have been critical of the government response to the flood, which put 70 percent of the city underwater, but a recently passed law suppressing online commentary has muted the criticism on social media. The Beijing Times (part of of the traditional media, which is heavily controlled by the Chinese government) claimed that Wang was arrested not because of the cartoon but because he spread a false rumor online (Reuters reports the police told his girlfriend it was because he forwarded a post about a woman and her child who starved to death in the floods). He was released Thursday and tweeted, “When I have time, I’ll tell you about the interesting night I spent at the police station.” [Foreign Policy]
In what would seem like a natural outgrowth of their partnership with the Estate of Donald E. Westlake, IDW announced in New York this weekend that they plan to release deluxe hardcover versions of Westlake’s Parker novels, designed and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke.
“The Parker novels written by Donald Westlake had a profound effect on me as a young man,” Cooke said in a press release. “To first be able to adapt them in graphic novel form, and now to illustrate his prose as well… for me, it just doesn’t get much better than this.”
Cooke, of course, has been producing the excellent and well-regarded Parker graphic novel adaptations for the last few years, with the next one, Slayground, set for release in December. The first illustrated novel, The Hunter, will arrive in 2014.
“This is the first time the full series will be published in hardcover,” Cooke said at IDW’s panel on Saturday. He added that he’s taking “a completely different approach” to the art style he used in the graphic novels, and that this represents a chance “to make sure these books are properly preserved.”
You can add Charles Schulz to the long list of artists who have been featured in IDW’s Artist’s Edition series. Along with the Jim Steranko S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America editions, the Dave Gibbons Watchmen edition and Jack Kirby’s New Gods edition came the news that IDW will release a Peanuts Artist’s Edition.
“Having grown up with Charlie Brown, Linus and his blanket, Snoopy and the Red Baron…I could not be happier about bringing them into the IDW family,” said Ted Adams, CEO and Publisher of IDW Publishing, in a press release. “In the world of comic art, it does not get any bigger than Peanuts.”
Today at New York Comic Con, IDW Publishing announced two Artist’s Editions dedicated to Jim Steranko’s landmark work on Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America. The news accompanied the unveiling of plans for Jack Kirby’s New Gods: Artist’s Edition and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen: Artifact Edition.
Arriving in May, The Steranko Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Artist’s Edition will feature the artist’s initial 12 stories from Strange Tales #151-162. That will be followed at an as-yet-undetermined date by The Steranko Nick Fury and Captain America Artist’s Edition, collecting the remaining Fury stories from Strange Tales #163-168, plus issues 1, 3 and 5 from Nick Fury Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. In addition, it will Steranko’s three issues of Captain America.Nearly all of the pages were shot from original art in Steranko’s personal collection.
“I probably have the distinction of making the least amount of work making the most amount of noise,” Steranko said during today’s IDW panel. “You’ve heard of the blues artist Robert Johnson? Twenty-nine recordings. That’s how many comics I did, 29 issues, and I sold my soul to Stan Lee. [...] As an artist, I’m inclined to see all the mistakes I’ve made along the way. Thankfully, there are other people who see something else.”
I first became aware of colorist Steve Downer due to his work on MonkeyBrain Comics’ Edison Rex. But as I quickly learned, he serves as colorist on a variety of projects, as well as artist on Dracula the Unconquered. Given the variety of Downer’s projects, I thought it would be insightful to discuss his craft with him.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you been a colorist?
Steve Downer: I’ve been working full-time as a colorist since 2009, though I started coloring as a side job much earlier, in 2007, while I worked as a T-shirt graphic designer.
Pandasaurus, the Austin, Texas-based publisher of such tabletop games as Yedo, New Amsterdam and Tammany Hall, will oversee design, production and distribution for the new division.
“We’re well known for diversity at IDW, in the world of entertainment and comics,” IDW CEO & Publisher Ted Adams said in a statement.“With all of the great properties we publish, it seemed natural that a lot of them would make fantastic games. We’ve found the perfect partner in Pandasaurus Games to help us make that happen.”
According to ICv2, 30 Days of Night — based on the IDW cornerstone franchise created by Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith — “will be an intense, story-driven, survival horror game,” while Kill Shakespeare — based on the comic created by Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery and Andy Belanger — “will be a semi-cooperative ‘gamers game’” designed by Thomas Vande Ginste and Wolf Plancke (Yedo).
News of IDW Games arrives only days after Dynamite Entertainment announced the creation of Dynamite Toys and Games, a division devoted to the manufacture of action figures, board games, novelty products and more.
Publishing | Sales of IDW Publishing’s My Little Pony comics, in single-issue and graphic novel format but not counting digital, have topped 1 million copies. (It does really well in the iBookstore — there are multiple issues in the Top 10 every week — although it seldom registers on the other digital comics platforms.) IDW’s Ted Adams says this is because it’s such a great comic, but shrewd marketing such as offering a special Scholastic Book Fair edition with a bonus pony figure probably helped a lot. [ICv2]
Digital comics | The motion-comics platform Madefire has secured $5.2 million in funding. In July it announced agreements with four comics publishers — IDW, BOOM! Studios, Top Cow and iTV — and the first IDW comics came out in August. Madefire also has a partnership with DeviantArt. [Publishers Weekly]
Digital comics | IDW Publishing released its first batch of digital comics on the motion-comics platform Madefire this week. The selection includes partially animated My Little Pony, Star Trek and Transformers comics, which sell for $1.99 each. Jeff Webber, IDW’s vice president of digital publishing, noted that because Madefire has a partnership with DeviantArt, the books are being exposed to “an incredibly broad network of illustration fans.” To commemorate My Little Pony’s Madefire debut, Dave Gibbons drew the image at right “to show that Friendship IS Magic!” `[Publishers Weekly]
Passings | Cartoonist Jack Matsuoka, who chronicled life in the Poston, Arizona, internment camp in his book Camp II, Block 211, has died at the age of 87. , Born in the United States to Japanese parents, Matsuoka was a teenager when his family was sent to internment camps in Salinas, California, and then Poston. After leaving the camp he was drafted and served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in occupied Japan. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for many years. Camp II, Block 211 was based on sketches he did while living in the camps and set aside for many years; his mother found them and encouraged him to share them with the public. They were put on exhibit in San Francisco and then collected into the book, which was first published in 1974. A revised edition was released in 2003. [The Rafu Shimpo]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller dissects the latest sales numbers and finds July 2013 to be the second-best month for comics sales in the direct market so far this century—actually, since 1997. Combined comics and graphic novel sales were up almost 17 percent compared to July 2012, and year-to-date sales are up almost 13 percent compared to last year. [The Comichron]
Retailing | Brian Hibbs, one of the founding members of the direct-market trade organization ComicsPRO, has left the group “because of the reactions of the Board to recent DC moves.” He revealed his decision in the comments on his blog post about DC’s allocation of 3D covers for Villains Month: “The org that I formed was intended to look out for the little guy; the current Board seems much more interested in keeping the big guys big. Democracy in action, I suppose, so I vote with my dollars.” [ICv2]
Artful Daggers, by writers Adam P. Knave and Sean E. Williams and artist Andrew Losq, is visually one of the most distinctive titles Monkeybrain Comics publishes. The series, which portrays a world 50 years after the end of Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, considers the impact of bringing 19th-century technology into medieval times. Or as the creative team puts it succinctly: “Swords, Spies and Science.”
To mark today’s release of Artful Daggers #6, which CBR previewed Tuesday, I reached out to the writing team of Knave and Williams to discuss their universe, where kingdoms have been replaced by corporations. While the focus of the interview is their writing, Losq’s impact on the series is clear, as his collaborators admits they “end up cutting dialogue more often than not, as Andrew’s able to do more with an expression than we can with dialogue.”
Before closing our interview, Knave was happy to chat briefly about his other Monkeybrain ongoing (with co-writer D.J. Kirkbride and artist Nick Brokenshire), Amelia Cole. It’s an especially current topic of discussion given that on Aug. 14 IDW Publishing will release the digital series’ first print collection, Amelia Cole and the Unknown World.
This was a tough year for Boston Comic Con: It was originally scheduled for the weekend after the Boston Marathon, and although organizers worked tirelessly not to cancel the event, the venue was within the lockdown zone following the bombings, and the load-in day coincided with the massive manhunt forsuspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In the end, they had no choice but to shut down the convention. As most of the talent was already in town, local retailers sponsored a number of mini-cons.
Despite the cheerful we-can-get-through-this attitude of that weekend, things were looking pretty bleak. And then Boston Comic Con came roaring back, in a new venue and with a new attitude. This year, it felt less like a local event and more like a big-city con, with a smattering of publisher booths and an array of top-tier talent. The convention has grown quickly, from 1,000 attendees at the first con in 2007 to 15,000 last year. This year, with a bigger venue and more guests, I’m guessing the final number will be even higher.
Conventions | Boston Comic Con is coming this weekend, and founder Nick Kanieff talks about how it has grown from 900 attendees at the first con, in 2007, to an expected 15,000 for this year’s event, which was rescheduled because of the Boston Marathon bombings. [MetroWest Daily News]
Publishing | Denis Kitchen discusses the return of Kitchen Sink Press to publishing as an imprint of Dark Horse. It kicks off in December with an anthology, The Best of Comix Book. [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Peter Steiner’s cartoon, captioned “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog,” is the most-reproduced cartoon in the history of The New Yorker. On the 20th anniversary of its publication, Steiner looks back on its creation, which came about almost by chance, and the ways the world has changed in the interim. One interesting nugget: The most-reproduced cartoon in The New Yorker has brought its creator a total of $50,000 in royalties over the past 20 years. [Comic Riffs]
There’s always a steady flow of new art to be seen at Chris Ryall’s Tumblr. The editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing recently saw a Jack Kirby tribute by Brendan McCarthy accompanying a ROBOT 6 story about soaring sales of the Dredd DVD, and contacted the legednary 2000AD artist to secure the use of that image, and to commission a series of covers in the style of other Silver Age greats. These will run as cover images — variants, I’d guess — for issues 13 to 16 of IDW’s ongoing Judge Dredd series: