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‘Blue Estate’ rail shooter explained, with help of new comic

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Viktor Kalvachev has revealed more details about the upcoming rail shooter based on his crime comedy Blue Estate — with the help of a new comic strip he created with Ivan Brandon.

Writing on the PlayStation Blog, Kalvachev provides an overview of the Image Comics series before delving into the HeSaw game, whose PS4 version will utilize DualShock 4′s gyroscopic features (that’s were the new strip comes into play).

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What’s hot for summer and fall: Comics and graphic novels at BEA

Mel Caylo and the Lumberjanes at the BOOM! Studios booth

Mel Caylo and the Lumberjanes at the BOOM! Studios booth

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.

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Warren Ellis reveals ‘a thing that I probably shouldn’t’: ‘Trees’ numbers

trees1In an industry that’s quick to trumpet distributor-level sellouts and multiple printing, publishers and creators are generally reluctant to reveal any actual sales numbers. Sure, there are those monthly direct-market sales estimates, but they’re just that — estimates (and most anyone who attempts to divine meaning from them is usually quickly reminded of their inaccuracy).

And so it was refreshing to see Warren Ellis disclose orders for the first issue of Trees, his new Image Comics collaboration with Jason Howard, in his Orbital Operations e-newsletter. Or, as he puts it, “I am going to tell you a thing that I probably shouldn’t.”

Retailers ordered about 38,500 copies — “I don’t recall the precise number and can’t check it right this second,” he writes — and he and Howard authorized a print run of 50,000.

Ellis confesses, “That’s a big overprint, and it could easily blow up in our faces — if the overprint doesn’t sell, then the print cost is taken out of our hides. On the other hand: if you go looking for it, and your store tells you it’s sold out or that they couldn’t get any, you can tell them that I told you we printed 12K extra copies.”

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Comics A.M. | Nearly 50% of comics Kickstarter projects succeed

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at how publishing is done on Kickstarter, and interviews Maris Kreizman, the general publishing manager, and Jamie Tanner, who oversees the comics category and is himself a comics creator. Comics campaigns have a success rate of nearly 50 percent, making them the fourth-highest category on Kickstarter (and way ahead of general publishing, which has a 32 percent success rate). Tanner sees the popularity of comics as an indication that people still like a print product, and, he pointed out, “setting up a [Kickstarter comics] project, offering rewards and a delivery date, is very much like any conventional comics publishing project.” [Publishers Weekly]

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‘Chew’ sinks its teeth into tabletop gaming

chew card gameAdding to a roster that already includes Kill Shakespeare, 30 Days of Night and The X-Files, IDW Games unveiled plans Sunday at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas for a line of tabletop games based on Chew.

According to ICv2.com, creators John Layman and Rob Guillory will be involved in the development of board, dice and card games, set to debut in early 2015.

Published by Image Comics, Chew tells the story of special agent Tony Chu, a cibopath — he can see the life and eventual death of anything he eats — who lives in a world where poultry is outlawed in the wake of a sweeping bird flu pandemic. An animated adaptation, starring Steve Yeun and Felicia Day, was announced last month.

IDW Games was launched in October through a partnership between IDW Publishing and tabletop games publisher Pandasaurus Games, with 30 Days of Night and Kill Shakespeare announced as the first projects. The agreement was expanded in February to include the re-release of of Pandasaurus games like Tammany Hall, Rattus Cartus and Yedo.

Comics A.M. | This weekend, Motor City Comic Con marks 25 years

Motor City Comic Con

Motor City Comic Con

Conventions | The doors open today on the 25th annual Motor City Comic Con, held through Sunday in Novi, Michigan, northwest of Detroit. Comics guests include Art Baltazar, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Talent Caldwell, Chris Claremont, Matthew Clark, Gerry Conway, Katie Cook, J.M. DeMatteis, Clayton Henry, Mike McKone, Jame O’Barr, Ryan Ottley, Dave Petersen, Don Rosa, Bill Sienkiewicz, Charles Soule, Mark Waid and Skottie Young. The Detroit Free Press previews the event, and speaks with Claremont, while Metro Times provides a beginner’s guide. [Motor City Comic Con]

Digital comics | Kate Reynolds looks at the recent Image Humble Bundle promotion and compares it to sales of hard copies of the individual titles in comics shops. Her key insight is that this is Image’s first attempt to sell comics directly to the video game audience rather than established readers: “Many people who check the Humble website with some frequency may have been surprised to see comics books on a video game page, and for many, surprise turned to intrigue. While it’s impossible to tell whether the purchasers of the Image bundle were frequent comic buyers or not, it’s logical to assume that many were not. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if for some, the Image bundle was the first comic purchase of their lives.” [feminism/geekery]

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Smell like retribution, redemption with ‘Pretty Deadly’ perfumes

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Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, the company that’s created fragrances inspired by Hellboy, Irredeemable, Grendel and even Neil Gaiman, has now turned its attention — and its nose — to Pretty Deadly, the mythic Western created by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.

The new line of perfume oil blends includes Alice, The Reaper of Cruelty, described as “Bourbon geranium emboldened by the rich scent of aged patchouli, the sweetness of peach, raspberry leaf, and bourbon vanilla, surrounded by a butterfly swarm of spicy carnation and Italian bergamot,” and Ginny, The Reaper of Vengeance, characterized as “Sharp tobacco flower and white cognac, a thin layer of smoke, and dusty black pepper pierced by the amber of her eyes.”

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Comics A.M. | ‘Walking Dead, ‘Saga,’ ‘Titan’ rule bookstores in April

The Walking Dead, Vol. 20

The Walking Dead, Vol. 20

Retailing | While Captain America: The Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection cracked Nielsen BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores, making it the first Marvel or DC Comics release since January to do so, the April chart was again dominated by three familiar titles: The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan and Saga, which claimed a combined 13 spots. The horror series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard led the trio with six volumes, followed by Hajime Isayama’s dystopian fantasy with four, and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ space opera with three. The 36th volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s hit manga Naruto was No. 1 in April. [ICv2.com]

Events | On the eve of the 11th Toronto Comic Arts Festival, The Japan Times looks at both the growing presence of manga, and Dork Shelf talks with festival director Christopher Butcher about its Comics vs. Games 3 showcase. Meanwhile, the National Post is running a series of conversations between artists attending TCAF, beginning with Georgia Webber and Seo Kim, and Réal Godbout and Nick Abadzis. You can read more of its festival coverage here. [Toronto Comic Arts Festival]

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Comics A.M. | Con’s response to cosplayer sparks backlash

Cherry City Comic Con

Cherry City Comic Con

Conventions | Ross Lincoln gathers up the threads of a story that’s been unfolding over social media for the past few days: A cosplayer expressed concern that the Facebook cosplay gallery for the inaugural Cherry City Comic Con in Salem, Oregon, featured significantly more women in costume than men. Displeased by the dismissive reply from the administrator of the Facebook page, she sent a private message asking for a refund of her convention registration fee, explaining, “I don’t think this will be a safe place for female cosplayers.” Organizer Mark Martin posted that request on his personal Facebook page with the response, “despite the no touch policy, the family friendly policy, the 3 security guards at all times, and the fact that you’re bat-shit crazy? Refunded!”

Several prominent cosplayers picked up on that, and it became a cause celebre on Twitter and Facebook for a couple of days; meanwhile, things got more complicated with sock puppets and a possibly fictitious con representative getting involved. In the end, Martin apologized; to give organizers their due, the convention includes a harassment policy in its official rules and policies. The con will take place on May 10-11. The Daily Dot has more. [The Escapist]

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Pay-what-you-want Humble Image Bundle to benefit CBLDF

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Humble Bundle has partnered with Image Comics to offer a collection of DRM-free digital titles for as little as a penny, with a portion of proceeds going to benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

The promotion enables you to name your price for the first volumes of East of West, Fatale, Lazarus and Morning Glories. Those who pay more than the average amount offered (right now, that’s $7.57), will also get copies of the first volumes of Chew, Revival and Saga. And those who pay more than $15 unlock the first and 20th volumes of The Walking Dead.

More than 3,580 bundles have been sold since 11 a.m. today, totaling over $29,000.

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‘Chew’ goes high fantasy with ‘Warrior Chicken Poyo’

warrior chicken poyoTwo years after the release of Secret Agent Poyo, a one-shot starring the cybernetic kung-fu rooster from Chew, Image Comics promises another spinoff that will put that one to shame: Warrior Chicken Poyo, again by the Chew team of John Layman and Rob Guillory.

Secret Agent Poyo was the most important comic ever published by Image, in addition to being the best comic book ever published in the entire history of humanity,” Layman, never one for hyperbole, said in a statement. “And Warrior Chicken Poyo is SO good, it will make Secret Agent Poyo look like rancid, smelly garbage! THAT’S how good it’s going to be! Warrior Chicken Poyo will change comics forever, as well as the life of anybody who reads it.”

Related: Image Comics Solicitations for July

While Secret Agent Poyo put a James Bond slant on the world of Chew, Warrior Chicken Poyo is described as high fantasy — “The Lord of the RingsConan, and with a dash of The Wizard of Oz thrown in.”

Priced at $3.50, the 36-page comic includes a pinup gallery by a host of artists. Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 arrives July 9.

Image unveils Silvestri & McFarlane’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ variant

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Three weeks after Marc Silvestri and Todd McFarlane pulled back the curtain on their collaboration process for a Skybound cover, Image Comics has unveiled the final product: a variant for Manifest Destiny #7. It’s colored by series colorist Owen Gieni.

The issue kicks off a new arc in the series by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts, which tells the hidden story of the Lewis & Clark expedition (one filled with monsters).

Manifest Destiny #7, which arrives June 11, can be ordered now with Diamond Code APR140575; the Silvestri/McFarlane variant is MAR148175.

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Image celebrates Eisner nominations with digital sale

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This year’s Eisner Awards nominations were dominated by two publishers, Fantagraphics and Image Comics, with the former earning 18 and the latter 17 (plus three shared). To celebrate the occasion, Image is holding a 50 percent-off sale on digital editions of all 10 nominated titles, for a limited time. That means you’re getting single issues for just 99 cents each.

Whether you’ve fallen behind on some of the series or want to see what all the hubbub is about, now is pretty good time to check out East of West, Lazarus, The Manhattan Projects, Nowhere Men, Outlaw Territory, Pretty Deadly, Rat Queens, Saga, Sex Criminals and Zero.

The sale, which extends across the Image Comics storefront, comiXology, Google Play, Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks, ends April 21 at midnight ET.

Remender and Tocchini’s ‘Low’ surfaces July 30

low-cov_web-tease

At the Image Expo in January, one of the many (many, many) projects announced was a third Rick Remender project — Low, with artist Greg Tocchini, who Remender worked with on Uncanny X-Force and Last Days of American Crime. Today Image announced the first issue would arrive July 30.

It joins Remender’s two other projects with the publisher, Black Science and Deadly Class, and is set in a future where humanity lives on the bottom of the ocean in cities shielded from a dying sun’s radiation. When a probe returns from space, a brave group heads to the surface to retrieve it.

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‘Blue Estate’ rail shooter announced for PS4 and Xbox One

blue estate1

The “darkly funny” video game based on the crime comedy Blue Estate will also arrive for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Announced in September for PC, the rail shooter by French indie studio HeSaw and Focus Home Interactive is inspired by the 12-issue Image Comics series created by Viktor Kalvachev (now creative director of HeSaw), and featuring art by Kalvachev, Toby Cypress, Nathan Fox, Robert Valley and others.

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