O Say Can You See: The Greatest Patriotic Super Heroes of All-Time
Digital comics | ICv2 has a fascinating interview with Gagan Singh, Viz Media’s chief technology officer, in which he discusses not only the nuts and bolts of the publisher’s digital manga program — it now encompasses a number of e-reader platforms as well as a dedicated app — but also the larger questions of piracy, trends and, most importantly, growing the manga audience: “My favorite example is when you’re in the digital domain, your biggest competition is not the next manga or the next book, your biggest competition is Angry Birds because it’s only one click away. When you get into debate over mind share, I’m not just trying to get them to read the next book, I’m trying to get them to not listen to that song or play that video game. That is a bigger challenge where marketing and mind share is concerned.” [ICv2]
Graphic novels | Dubbing this “the age of the graphic novel,” Glasgow, Scotland’s Sunday Herald asked an unnamed and unnumbered group of cartoonists, novelists, critics, comics historians and the like for a list of titles that should be in everyone’s library. The result is a pretty impressive, and varied, rundown — “the 50 greatest graphic novels of all time” — that ranges from Paul Pope’s Heavy Liquid and Lili Carre’s The Lagoon to Katshuiro Otomo’s Akira and Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. [Sunday Herald]
Creators | Rebecca Gross interviews Daniel Clowes about the development of his work, doing comics at a time when comics weren’t considered an art form, and the current exhibit of his work at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, “Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes.” [NEA Arts]
Two comics with “dream” in the title hit stands Wednesday, and although they’re two very different comics and don’t really have anything to do with each other, I naturally thought I’d combine them into one “Chain Reactions.”
On one side of the dreamscape is Dream Merchant, by Nathan Edmonson and Konstantin Novosadov, published by Image Comics. From the solicitation text: “Haunted by recurring dreams, a boy named Winslow is hunted by mysterious beings and protected by an old traveler. Soon Winslow will realize that what is in his dreams is what the rest of the world has been made to forget–and what strange entities will stop at nothing to erase from his mind.” It’s a double-sized issue priced to move at $3.50.
On the other side of slumberland is Dream Thief, by Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood, and published by Dark Horse. “After stealing an Aboriginal mask from a museum, John Lincoln realizes that the spirits of the vengeful dead are possessing his body and mind while he sleeps! His old problems have been replaced by bloody hands and the disposal of bodies-and now remembering where he spent last night has never been more important!”
So how do the two comics stack up? Here are a few reviews from around the web:
At a time when an overwhelming number of comic-book teasers consist of a cryptic phrase on black background, Dark Horse took a far more creative approach for Dream Thief, the upcoming supernatural-crime miniseries by Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood. As you can see, the fun push for pre-orders comes in the form of a paper doll, above, and a papercraft figure — “Zero Points of Articulation!” — both of the comic’s protagonist John Lincoln.
The comic, which debuts May 15, follows the thief as he becomes a vessel for vengeful spirits after stealing an ancient mask from a museum.
“Dream Thief has a lot of superhero tropes: there’s a mask/outfit, there are non-traditional superpowers, there is a need for a secret identity, and there are incredible circumstances,” Nitz told Comic Book Resources earlier this month. “So I think a non-comics reader might easily classify it as a superhero book. But it’s a pretty straightforward crime story, and I think comic book readers will pick up on that. They’ve seen it all before from the cape and cowl set. It’s my hope that Dream Thief strikes a new chord.”
Broadway | Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, producers of the troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, talk candidly about the $70-million musical — or “$65 plus plus,” as Cohl says — as it shuts down for more than three weeks for a sweeping overhaul. Will the production, plagued by delays, technical mishaps, injuries and negative reviews, hurt their reputation? “It might,” Cohl concedes. “It’s a matter of the respect of those whose opinions I care about. Most will recognize that Jere and I stepped in dog poo and are trying to clean it up and pull off a miracle. We might not.”
In related news, Christopher Tierney, the actor who was seriously injured on Dec. 20 after plummeting 30 feet during a performance, will rejoin rehearsals on Monday. [Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter]