Conventions | The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival has come to an end, after establishing itself in just four short years as one of the most loved indie-comics events. A message posted on the event’s blog under the headline “Thank You and Good Night” reads simply, “We have decided not to continue with BCGF. We had a great run and thank all of our colleagues for their support.” [The Beat]
Creators | Garry Trudeau talks about Doonesbury, supporting wounded warriors, and his Alpha House show in a video interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Creators | Michael Aushenker profiles Rutu Modan, whose The Property, a tale of a Jewish woman returning to Poland to reclaim an apartment lost during the Holocaust, debuted at Toronto Comic Arts Festival: “When I go to vote, I have to decide who is bad and who is a good guy, but when I write I can support the Poles and the Jews. I’m much more interested in the gray areas. They’re more closer to reality.” [The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles]
If you can’t quite fathom the renewed popularity of Hasbro’s 30-year-old My Little Pony franchise — in animation, comics and merchandising — and the accompanying “bronies” phenomenon, you may not be ready for what comes next.
According to The New York Times, the toymaker is extending its brand with Equestria Girls, which recasts the characters from the animated My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as human teenagers. It will launch with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, a full-length animated movie premiering in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival before being released in 200 theaters nationwide. Naturally, a DVD will follow.
Comics sales | Is Mark Millar on to something after all? The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 105,000 copies to direct market stores in April; the only other Image comic to reach those numbers in recent years is The Walking Dead. ICv2 runs the numbers and also posts the Top 300 comics and graphic novels for April. [ICv2]
Passings | Matt Groening’s mother has died at the age of 94. Although she always went by Margaret, Groening borrowed her name for Marge Simpson in his animated series The Simpsons. [Comic Riffs]
Retailing | Amanda Emmert has resigned after nine years as executive director of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization. [ComicsPRO]
Conventions | Last week’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo drew 53,000 attendees, the largest crowd yet for the Chicago-based show, which is in its fourth year. Reed Exhibitions Group Vice President Lance Fensterman talks about the high points of the show and plans for the next couple of years. [ICv2]
Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald tracks the rise in popularity of graphic novels among librarians, whose support has been integral to the growth of the industry. Her well-researched article includes interviews with public librarians, school librarians, and academic librarians, as well as publishers and others in the field. It’s a comprehensive overview of one of the most important, and least reported-on, areas of our world. [Publishers Weekly]
Comics | Alex Hern looks at three comics that have long been out of print but are now back, or possibly on their way back: Flex Mentallo, Marvelman and Zenith. [The New Statesman]
Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster's Daily Democrat]
I think IDW and Dark Horse are having some sort of competition at C2E2 this weekend to see who can overwhelm my email box with the most press releases, or at least that’s what it seemed like last night when a ton of press releases pop up around the same time from both companies. Here’s a rundown of what we’ve heard from both of them at the show thus far …
• Both companies announced they’ve picked up some new licenses. As I noted yesterday, Dark Horse will publish Wendy and Richard Pini’s Elfquest starting later this year, and they’ve also picked up the license for new Halo comics. IDW, meanwhile, has picked up the license to the Jay Ward characters, with plans for series Mr. Peabody & Sherman and Rocky & Bullwinkle next year. Also, two of IDW’s other licensed titles will meet up in Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and John McCrea. The first issue arrives in September.
• Both companies are also reaching into comics’ past to bring back some titles we haven’t seen in awhile. IDW announced that they’ll release deluxe hardcovers of Christian Gossett’s The Red Star this fall. They’re also bringing back Zombie War by Kevin Eastman, Tom Skulan and Eric Talbot in October. The original series was published by FantaCo and Tundra back in 1993. Dark Horse is resurrecting Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy, which was originally published by Burlyman Entertainment.
Last year an enterprising trio of comic creators had an idea for a comic series populated with sky pirates, dusty airships and floating cities. Sounds like a crazy idea, but they’re now going at full speed thanks to a little kickstart.
Coming this June from IDW Publishing, Wild Blue Yonder is created by the uber-talented artist Zach Howard and writers Mike Raicht and Austin Harrison. The story is best summed up by the press release: “When land and sea have become deadly and uninhabitable, the intrepid survivors of ecological disaster must take to the skies; to the Wild Blue Yonder.”
In the comic, the fractured remnants of human civilization fight over the last vestiges of precious resources — both in food and shelter, but also in fuel to keep their vessels aloft and away from the spoiled ground below. The largest and most enviable on Earth is an airship called the Dawn that runs on a combination of solar, hydrogen and magnetic energy — making it untethered from the needs of fuel that other platforms need to say afloat. With that, the Dawn is a prized commodity, not just for its owners and inhabitants, but for any of the more scurrilous lot left living on this planet — namely, pirates. But the one thing standing between humanity’s best hope of survival and certain doom is a female pilot named Cola, and her dog Critter.
Announced last year at Comic-Con International, Wild Blue Yonder used Kickstarter to raise more than $16,000 for the creators to devote their time exclusively to finishing their project in a timely manner. Unlike most creator-owned work, where creators only see money months or sometimes years after the book is published, Wild Blue Yonder utilized Kickstarter to mitigate that financially precarious scenario and devote the much-needed time to finish the five issues in a relatively short time.
IDW has provided an extensive preview of the first issue, which arrives June 12. If you’re interested in more, CBR interviewed Raicht in November.
Several weeks ago when I interviewed Edison Rex co-creator Chris Roberson, we had hoped to include co-creator Dennis Culver in the discussion. Schedules didn’t work out at the time, but happily, on the eve of the deadline to pre-order the Edison Rex trade paperback (Diamond Code APR130377), Culver’s schedule freed up for an interview about his co-creation.
As if collecting the Edison Rex issues 1-6 isn’t enough to interest you in this IDW Publishing release, Roberson and Culver have scored an introduction by the great Kurt Busiek. The collection will hit shelves June 12.
Tim O’Shea: How did the IDW publishing deal come together?
Dennis Culver: That was all [Monkeybrain Comics co-publishers] Chris [Roberson] and Allison [Baker]. From what I understand, IDW had expressed an interest in print collections fairly early in the Monkeybrain launch, and I was on board as soon as I heard. They gave us a fair deal and they put out great looking books. I’m very happy to publish Rex through them!
It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
WonderCon Anaheim 2013 kicked off yesterday at the Anaheim Convention Center, with badges for Friday selling out at some point during the day. Saturday and three-day badges already sold out, so it looks like just Sunday is left if you were hoping to attend but didn’t purchase your badge in advance.
There weren’t a lot of announcements coming out of the show yesterday, and in fact I’m not completely sure what could be considered “WonderCon news” and what was just, um, news, but here’s a round-up of stuff you may have missed from Friday:
• 2014 will bring a crossover between DC’s two Earths, according to Earth 2 writer James Robinson. “If I’m talking about a big event that’s happening in 2014, it’s all these characters meeting each other,” said Robinson, citing Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Justice Society during his spotlight panel in Anaheim. Robinson also said his goal was to make sure the writers involved in the event were invested in the story, and described himself as “the point guy” when it comes to the event, saying that Scott Snyder, Geoff Johns and Dan DiDio are also very involved. Earth 2 is also getting its own Batman, and the book will also feature the introductions of Starman (Ted Knight), Red Arrow (Earth 2′s version of Green Arrow), Hourman, Wildcat, Mister Miracle and Big Barda in the future.
IDW Publishing announced today it will turn its lasers on the literary masterpieces this summer in Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated!, a 48-page one-shot in which the alien invaders target the likes of Moby Dick, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Robinson Crusoe.
The publisher asks, “What would it be like if frothing invaders had been holding Melville, Stevenson, and Defoe at gunpoint, forcing them to reimagine their renowned works through the bloodshot eyes of a crazed, skull-faced Martian?” We’ll find out with the help of Phil Hester, Beau Smith and Neil Kleid, and artists John McCrea, Kelley Jones and Carlos Valenzuela.
Mars Attacks: Classics Obliterated!, which sports a variant cover by Earl Norem, arrives in stores June 5.
To quote our very own Michael May, “wish this was real”: Brendan McCarthy plugs the release today of IDW Publishing’s The Complete Zaucer of Zilk by slipping this sketch out into the ether, of the three magic-wielding characters he’s drawn over the years: the Zaucer, Doctor Strange, and Mirkin the Mystic, of the all-too short-lived Paradax! comic from 1987 (two issues, and one was all-reprint).
It comes with a companion piece: this sketch, of Paradax himself meeting Doctor Strange. As I never tire of pointing out, Pete Milligan and McCarthy’s Paradax (in Eclipse comics’ Strange Days) pretty much invented the whole “superhero as an unlikeable wannabe celebrity” subgenre, three years before Morrison’s Zenith in 2000AD, and 15 years before Warren Ellis’ The Authority made that trope de rigueur for mainstream comics for an extended period. And also in passing invented that whole “leather jacket over your superhero costume” thing that ruled the 1990s.
Awards | A last-minute reminder: Today is the deadline for Eisner Awards submissions. [Eisner Awards]
Creators | Grant Morrison looks back on his run on Action Comics, which ends today with the release of Issue 18, and touches upon Multiversity and his long-discussed Wonder Woman project: “This is some of the most fun I’ve had in a long time, because it’s a completely different type of comic book. Usually I don’t do masses of research, but for Wonder Woman, I’ve actually been working my way through the entire history of feminism. I want this to be fucking serious, you know? I want this to be really, really good, to reflect not only what women think, but what men think of women. I’m trying to do something really different from what’s been done with the character before. That one’s been amazing fun, because it’s nothing like anything I’ve ever done before.” [Entertainment Weekly]
IDW Publishing’s Library of American Comics is partnering with DC Entertainment to reprint rare newspaper strips starring Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. The archival collections will debut in July with Superman: The Silver Age Newspaper Dailies, Vol. 1: 1958-1961.
Although DC and Kitchen Sink Press reprinted the first few years of the Superman and Batman newspaper strips in the 1990s, they only scratched the surface of the comics’ run: Superman, which featured the work of such creators as Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Curt Swan and Wayne Boring, was serialized from 1939 to 1966. The Batman strip, originally titled Batman and Robin, saw three major runs — 1943 to 1946, 1966 to 1974, and 1989-1991. Wonder Woman’s newspaper tenure was much short-lived, lasting less than a year (in 1944).
The Superman daily strips will be released in three collections, organized by era — the Silver Age, the Atomic Age and the Golden Age — with Sunday reprints published in a separate, concurrent series later in the year.
Author Joe Hill and writer Jason Ciaramella, who collaborated on the Eisner-nominated miniseries The Cape, are reteaming for Joe Hill’s Thumbprint, debuting in June from IDW Publishing.
Featuring art by Vic Malhotra, the three-issue adaptation of Hill’s original novella is described as “a tale of fear, terror and indelible remorse” about U.S. Army Pvt. Mallory Grennan who, following a dishonorable discharge, hopes to begin a new life back home, away from what she’s seen and done in Abu Ghraib prison. However, Mal’s crimes follow her all the way back to the United States.
“I was blown away by Jason’s work on The Cape, and wanted more,” Hill said in a statement. “Thumbprint is right in his wheelhouse: Jay has a feel for the psychological flaws that lead a basically good person down the wrong path. And no one writes action quite like Jay — he turns brutality into surreal comedy and back again faster than a magician turning a scarf into a dove. Add to that an opportunity to work with an artist like Vic Malhotra — who draws with a severe grace, and brings to mind the work Mazzucchelli was doing in Batman: Year One — and I think we’ve got all the ingredients for something that can really explode off the page.”