BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Passings | Nine Culliford, the woman who made the Smurfs blue, died on July 5 at the age of 86. Nine met Pierre Culliford, the artist who would later take the pen name Peyo, in 1946, the same year his first cartoon was published. Nine was the colorist for the Smurfs from their first appearance in “Johan et Pirlouit” (English title: “Johan and Peewit”) in 1958 until her husband’s death in 1992, and she continued to be active on Smurf projects after her son Thierry and her daughter Véronique took over. It was Nine who came up with the idea of coloring the Smurfs blue, as she felt the color would stand out agains the green, wooded backgrounds of the comic. [The Blue Print]
Comics | Sales of comics and graphic novels have crashed through the $1 billion threshold, according to calculations by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. That includes $350 million in sales through retail book channels, $90 million in digital, and $20 million in newsstand sales, with the rest coming through the direct market. Griepp and Miller estimate that graphic novels account for $535 million in sales and serial comics for $405 million. Griepp attributed the growth in sales to increased attention to comics properties from the media and an expanding audience, as more women and children come to the medium. [ICv2]
Retailing | The complete set of Marvel comic books offered for sale by B-Bop Comics of Kansas City has been sold to an anonymous buyer for for the asking price of $200,000. “The first guys who came to look at it bought it,” said B-Bop owner Frank Mangiaracina. [ICv2]
Godzilla has starred in 30 films, two animated TV series and more books, comic books and video games than I can count. Despite all of the stories in all types of media that Godzilla has appeared in for over 60 years now, I’ve never once seriously considered the question of where Godzilla might go when he dies.
The latest IDW series Godzilla In Hell makes me do just that, however, and the publisher, editor Bobby Curnow and writer/artist James Stokoe deserve some serious respect for doing something completely new and completely original with such a well-traveled pop culture character.
Not that thinking of something new, fresh and original to do with the giant monster is the only virtue to Stokoe’s return to the King of the Monsters, of course.
Stokoe’s previous Godzilla comic was the 2012 Godzilla: The Half-Century War, an epic adventure that doubled as a sort of meta-commentary on Godzilla’s film career, and the evolution of the monster and the world’s perception of him during that time.
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Retailing | The driver killed early Sunday when her car crashed into the Mile High Comics store in Denver, Colorado, has been identified as 17-year-old Karen Lopez. There were no passengers in the car, and no one was in the store at the time. Mile High Comics will hold an auction to benefit Lopez’s family; in an earlier news report, owner Chuck Rozanski described what happened and said, “When someone suffers a violent death like this within your space, I mean this is my building, I love this building and I love being here every day and now to know someone died here it’s going to alter my perception forever.” [KDVR]
We’re no strangers to covers with a lot of characters around here, and the comic with the claim to fame as the most packed cover ever is 2008’s G.I. Joe: America’s Elite #25 by Chris Lie.
Now as with all things in the Larry Hama-led franchise, Cobra is giving the Joes a run for their money in a new variant cover by Adam Riches. To celebrate G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #212 (a turning point issue in Hama’s resurrected title promising “The Death of Snake-Eyes”), IDW and Florida retailer Emerald City Comics tapped the frequent Joe toy artist to draft a Cobra-heavy companion piece to the original cover showcasing every snake that ever fought for the ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.
From Cobra Commander and Destro to the more obscure likes of Headman and Crystal Ball, they’re all there and available for order from Emerald City’s web store. But are there more Cobras than the 236 Joes on the original cover? Compare the pair after the jump.
Book Expo America is the annual trade show where publishers promote their upcoming books to retailers and librarians. BEA is all about books, but comics and graphic novels are a growing presence. Diamond had a dedicated area, as it has in previous years, several comics publishers had their own booths, and several of the big publishers featured graphic novels alongside their other titles, most notably Hachette, which gave quite a bit of space to Yen Press.
I spent Friday at the show looking at which books the publishers were drawing the most attention to. Here’s a very subjective account of what I saw.
Kid stuff! Children’s and YA graphic novels have been hot for a couple of years, and the news that Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters is getting a 200,000 copy initial print run got a lot of buzz. Of course, the BEA crowd has been on board with her work for a while, and they lined up in droves for her book signing. The same was true of Jeff Kinney, who was signing copies of The Wimpy Kid School Planner at the Abrams booth; the crowd just kept on coming. And the staff at the BOOM! Studios table were hustling as attendees grabbed copies of their Adventure Time and Bravest Warrior collections as well as their third original Peanuts graphic novel, Peanuts: The Beagle Has Landed, which takes Snoopy to the moon.
Fans who have been waiting patiently for Walt Simonson to unleash Ragnarök have a very happy summer in front of them. Per a post on IDW’s Tumblr, the creator-owned project will debut in July.
And oh yeah, there’s also an epic image of Thor getting ready to bash the Midgard Serpent right in the face.
Announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego last year, Ragnarök returns Simonson to the realm of Asgard. “All I can say is that I’ve loved the stories of the Viking gods since I was eight,” he said last summer. “I am thrilled that with IDW’s help and support, I’m launching an ongoing series of stories built around a new vision of some old friends. And enemies.” IDW will also publish a remastered edition of Star Slammer, Simonson’s first comic work, later this month.
Check out the promo image below.
Creators | The Columbus Museum of Art and Thurber House have awarded their third annual artist-in-resident position to Lilli Carre creators of Heads or Tails and The Lagoon, among other graphic novels. She will spend three weeks working in the Columbus, Ohio, house where cartoonist James Thurber grew up, and the museum will also exhibit her work and host a talk. [The Columbus Dispatch]
Editorial cartoons | Palestinian cartoonist Majedah Shaheen has apologized for a cartoon depicting Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh telling the Al-Quds Battalions, who are depicted as a dog, to “calm down.” After receiving a barrage of threats and complaints on Facebook, Shaheen apologized but added, “My intention was to relay a message in a clear and firm manner. But there are many who prefer to deal with the issue in an artificial manner instead of making an attempt to understand the idea behind it.” [Jerusalem Post]
Awards | Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton and illustrated by Greg Chapman, won the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a graphic novel, presented over the weekend by the Horror Writers Association. Winners with a comic-book connection in other categories include Caitlin R. Kiernan (novel, The Drowning Girl), Jonathan Maberry (young-adult novel, Flesh & Bone), and Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (screenplay, The Cabin in the Woods). [Horror Writers Association]
Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald looks at Dark Horse’s plans to expand its Originals line of creator-owned graphic novels this year; upcoming releases include print editions of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette and Cameron Stewart’s Sin Titulo, as well as a new graphic novel, Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | Image Comics provided the retail news and analysis website ICv2 with worldwide pre-order figures for 15 of its March titles, allowing for comparison with estimates of Diamond Comic Distributors sales to U.S. direct market stores. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Mark Waid pens a tribute to the late Carmine Infantino. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez distinguishes between autobiography and art in his new graphic novel, Marble Season, which takes on a 1960s suburban childhood not unlike his own. [Chicago Reader]
The animated cartoon My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is already a hit in Japan (where the title is My Little Pony ~Tomodachi wa Mahō~), and now it’s coming to the pages of the children’s manga magazine Pucchigumi as well. The news was revealed at the Tokyo International Anime Fair, where, according to Anime News Network, a flyer was passed out with the news. A representative from the Japanese company Bushiroad told ANN that the artist for the manga will be named sometime this spring.
Pucchigumi sounds like the sort of magazine that kids love and parents loathe; it runs a lot of licensed series based on properties such as Barbie, Tamagotchi, and Jewelpet. A glance at the cover of the current issue reveals a crowded layout, an excess of pink, and lots of big-eyed, super-cute characters, so Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and Twilight Sparkle should fit right in.
Pucchigumi is published by Shogakukan, one of the parent companies of Viz, so if the manga were ever to be licensed in the U.S., that’s who would probably publish it—and indeed, it would be a logical addition to their VizKids line. Of course, IDW already has a serialized My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic, so the relationship could be complicated.
Publishing | The Amazing Spider-Man #700 led the pack in the December comics numbers with 200,000 copies selling to comics shops, and with a cover price if $7.99, it racked up a cool $1.6 million in sales. Avengers #1 sold 186,000 copies but at a more reasonable price, so the dollars didn’t pile up as high for that one. ICv2 also has the December charts for the Top 300 comics and graphic novels in the direct market. John Jackson Miller takes it to the next level with sales estimates for the top 1,000 comics and trades of 2012. [ICv2]
Publishing | At the other end of the scale, Rob Clough talks to Chuck Forsman, the guy behind micropublisher Oily Comics. [The Comics Journal]
This week Fantagraphics shipped Popeye Vol. 6: Me Little Swee’Pea, the final book in the publisher’s thorough collection and handsome representation of the entirety of E.C. Segar’s comic strip starring the immortal, iconic sailor character.
So once that book has been read and enjoyed, what is an insatiable Popeye fan to do then?
Well, I’m glad I asked myself that, because it provides a perfect segue into IDW’s Popeye #1, which also shipped this week.
Like BOOM!’s recent Peanuts comics, there’s an aura of superfluity about the endeavor: Does the world need more, Segar-less Popeye comics when there are so many hundreds of pages of Popeye comics by Segar so easily available?
I honestly don’t know, and I suspect the answer to that question varies from potential reader to potential reader.
Certainly plenty of Segar-less Popeye narratives in various other media already exist, and certainly the character is familiar to folks around the world who may have never read a single one of the great cartoonist’s strips, thanks to decades worth of animated cartoons, a few video games and that Robin Williams movie.
Here’s something I do know, though: If there are going to be new Popeye comics, then I hope they are all as good as Popeye #1.
Here’s the thing: Considering how much that I love 2000AD and Judge Dredd, you’d think I’d be much more excited than I am about IDW Publishing’s announcement at WonderCon that they have the American rights for Dredd material. Sadly, I have enough of a memory to know that this might just lead to more fan heartbreak.
Passings | Classic comics artist Sheldon Moldoff, who co-created Poison Ivy, Mr. Freeze, Bat-Mite and Ace the Bat Hound, passed away Wednesday. He was 91. Moldoff broke into comics at the age of 17 with a sports filler that appeared on the inside back cover of Action Comics #1. He went on to become a prolific cover artist, drawing the first cover image of the Golden Age Flash for Flash Comics #1 and the Golden Age Green Lantern for All-American Comics #16. He also worked on comics featuring Hawkman, Kid Eternityand Black Pirate. He also was one of the pioneers of horror comics in the late 1940s and worked as a “ghost artist” for Bob Kane on Batman from 1953 to 1967. After being let go by DC Comics in 1967, he went on to work in animation. [News from ME]
Conventions | Badges for Comic-Con International sold out Saturday morning within an hour and a half, a record for the annual pop-culture extravaganza. Last year it took about seven hours for badges to disappear. [U-T San Diego]