"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Creators’ rights | Gerry Giovinco points out that the mega-studio that is Walt Disney got its start because Walt signed a bad contract and lost the rights to his creation Oswald the Rabbit. Giovinco calls on Disney, as the parent company of Marvel, to acknowledge and perhaps actually compensate the creators of the products it is marketing: “I can’t believe that a company as wealthy Disney cannot find a way to see the value of the good will that would be generated by establishing some sort of compensation or, at the very least, acknowledgement to the efforts put forth by these creators.” [CO2 Comics Blog]
Digital comics | John Rogers discusses working with Mark Waid on his Thrillbent digital comics initiative. “There are people who are selling enough books to make a living on Amazon, whom you’ve never heard of. Because Amazon made digital delivery cheap and easy. That is what you must do with comics. It’s not hard. The music business already solved this problem. Amazon already solved this problem. It’s not like we’re trying to build a rocketship to the moon out of cardboard boxes. Webcomics guys — and this is kind of the great heresy — solved this problem like ten years ago, using digital distribution then doing print collections and also doing advertising and stuff.” [ComicBook.com]
Conventions | Thousands of fans were locked out of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo after the local fire marshal declared that the building had reached capacity. The big draw was not actually comics but a reunion of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. [Calgary Herald]
Awards | The Thrill Electric, an online comic created by Leah Moore and John Reppion, Emma Vieceli, Windflower Studio and LittleLoud for the U.K.’s Channel 4, has been nominated for best website in the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards. [Broadcast]
Creators | Jay Faerber talks about his early ambitions, his current comic Near Death, and what is so special about being published by Image: “The thing about Image is you have absolute creative freedom. Once Near Death was approved, I just wrote it. There were no notes from Eric or anyone else at Image telling me what they think I should do, which is awesome. But it can also be a burden, because if a book sucks, I can’t say, ‘Well, if I had been able to do it my way…’ – because I did do it my way. So working at Image has made me become my own editor. The buck stops here, you know?” [Broken Frontier]
The Emerald City Comicon wrapped up yesterday in Seattle, with plenty of announcements from attending publishers. Here’s a round-up of news from the show:
• Image Comics officially announced Revival by Tim Seeley ad Mike Norton, the title we teased all last week. Seeley described the book as “rural noir,” and it is set in his home state of Wisconsin: “Both Mike and I grew up in small towns, he in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin. We both hated the towns we were from as teenagers and young adults and got the hell out,” Seeley told CBR. “But, now that we’re both older, we can look on those towns with more understanding and affection. Central Wisconsin is a really interesting place. It’s like concentrated America. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses. All of the good stuff, and all of the conflicts on a more intimate scale. We thought it’d be the perfect setting for our story of a cop charged with policing the dead.”
• James Stokoe will write and draw Godzilla: Half Century War, which arrives from IDW in August. The miniseries is set in a different continuity than the Godzilla ongoing series by Duane Swierczyski and Simon Gane.
• Writer Christos Gage will team with artist Jorge Lucas for Sunset, an original graphic novel from Top Cow’s Minotaur Press. The story revolves around a retired Vegas mob enforcer.
Theme parks | Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company has begun preliminary design work that will pave the way for Marvel superheroes to one day appear alongside familiar characters in Disney theme parks. Iger told shareholders attending the annual meeting Tuesday that the company has been working on some concepts, but hasn’t announced anything yet. Disney is currently developing attractions based on James Cameron’s Avatar film for its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, which are expected to be ready in 2015. [Los Angeles Times]
Comic strips | Alan Gardner counts 57 newspapers that aren’t carrying this week’s Doonesbury comics, which address a Texas law requiring women requesting an abortion to submit to a transvaginal ultrasound. But according to Universal UClick, no papers have dropped Garry Trudeau’s strip. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Publishing | John Jackson Miller discusses the Rule of Eight, which holds that independent publishers start to falter once they put out more than eight titles per month, and goes into the nuances of the theory with its originator of the idea, Marc Patten. [The Comichron]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d grab with two hands the new issue of Orc Stain #7 (Image, $2.99). Stokoe is one of the few people in mainstream comics blending storytelling in art and writing seamlessly, creating an organic piece of work that’s as good to eat as some of the fictional food he presents in the book. Spaceman #4 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) has, in its short run, showed the best of what can be done at Vertigo and is pretty exhilarating, especially if you re-read it from the beginning. After that I’d pick up my regular double-shot: Invincible #89 (Image, $2.99) and Walking Dead #94 (Image, $2.99), and then top it off with The Twelve #10 (Marvel, $2.99). I’m appreciative Marvel and the creators saw fit to see it through, and the story’s all the better for it.
If I had $30, I’d go all company-owned super heroes. Avengers #23 (Marvel, $3.99) for the continuing fight against HYDRA by Brian Michael Bendis and Daniel Acuna. Acuna’s really (finally) had a chance to blossom on this book and I hope he sees it through for a good long while. After that I’d get FF #15 (Marvel, $2.99), which has silently outstripped Fantastic Four in my book; the added bonus for this issue particularly is seeing artist Nick Dragotta on this book. I’d wrap it all up with Batman Beyond Unlimited #1 (DC, $3.99). I’ll admit I missed out on the complete fervor of Batman Beyond, but I’m excited by Dustin Nguyen and Adam Beechen’s work and the possibilities of them taking on a future rendition of Batman and the JLA.
And if I could splurge, I’d check out the overlooked Key Of Z TPB (Boom!, $14.99). New York City street warfare told against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse? Sounds like my kind of book. Newcomer artist Aaron Kuder’s got an interesting style that I’d been meaning to check out, and this gives me just that chance.
Orc Stain creator James Stokoe and King City creator Brandon Graham have joined Steve Niles and other creators in supporting Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich, who owes Marvel $17,000 after he lost a suit against them.
Stokoe and Graham are donating 100 percent of the sales of a set number of pieces of their original art to the creator.
“In a bid to erase the world’s collective memory that people, not the ethereal blob that is Marvel, are the ones that create characters, Gary has been ordered to forget that he created Ghost Rider. Along with the $17,000 he’s being forced to pay out, Gary is in a bit of a pickle,” Stokoe said on his blog. “All things aside, whether you agree with the legal outcome or not, Mr. Friedrich is one of comic’s valued creators and is in need of some financial help. Brandon Graham and I have decided to have 100% of the proceeds for the next ten pages of our original art (ten Orc Stain and ten King City) go to Steve Niles excellent fundraiser for Gary Friedrich.”
Both Stokoe and Graham sell their art through Robin McConnell, who is tracking the number of pieces sold. Right now one Graham piece and two Stokoe pieces have been sold, leaving you plenty of opportunity to add some awesome artwork to your collection AND help out Friedrich. Head over to McConnell Art to see what’s available.
I’ve been friendly with Joe Keatinge dating back to his days managing PR & marketing for Image Comics. When it was revealed back in October that Extreme Studios was relaunching the line–with Keatinge writing Glory (with Ross Campbell on art), I started generating questions for an interview. In addition to discussing Glory (which relaunches with Glory #23 on February 15, 2012), Keatinge opens up about Hell Yeah (Image), his creator-owned collaboration with artist/co-creator Andre Szymanowicz that premieres on March 7, 2012, as well as another upcoming 2012 project, Brutal, in collaboration with artist Frank Cho. My thanks to Keatinge for this email interview. After reading this piece, be sure to check out CBR’s Joe Keatinge coverage for more insight into the busy writer’s upcoming work.
Tim O’Shea: Did Rob Liefeld approach you to work on the Glory relaunch? Was Ross Campbell already committed to the project when you joined?
Joe Keatinge: While Rob was certainly involved with the process, I was actually approached by Image Comics Publisher and Extreme Editor, Eric Stephenson, almost a year ago now. At the time they had nailed down the idea of the line and I believe a couple of the other books may have had writers, but it was still in the very early stages. After that was the process of giving a quick pitch, which was virtually instantaneous to Eric asking if I wanted to do it, to developing a longer pitch, to Eric and I bringing Brandon Graham on board for Prophet, to discussing Glory with Brandon, to Brandon suggesting Ross Campbell, to seeing Ross’ amazing work and me asking him if he wanted to come on board. He did a few samples which blew away both Eric and Rob. We’ve been working on it ever since.
King City creator Brandon Graham updates his blog with a seven-page preview of Prophet, his collaboration with Simon Roy and Richard Ballermann — part of the resurrection of the Extreme Studios line announced Friday at New York Comic Con. Graham, who’s handling the writing for the series, describes their take on the ’90s Image property as “Fucking future space Conan ish.”
“This is the first really collaborative comic I’ve done,” he writes. “This is the first time I’ve had to work out how to collaborate and try to make it carry the weight of my solo comics. So yeah, this is the first time I’ve cared about collaborating.”
Graham also teases a two-page spread from Multiple Warheads, and shows off some gorgeous images from Orc Stain creator James Stokoe.
Orc Stain creator James Stokoe shared a whole bunch of artwork on his blog earlier this week, including a preview of Orc Stain #7, an upcoming Godzilla cover and a A “super melodramatic Spider-Man in ‘Nam fan comic.”
Spider-Nam, as he calls it, is a wonderful short story that sees Peter Parker dropping out of college and enlisting in the military. It’s told through a letter Spider-Man sends home to Aunt May and seems like the perfect piece if Marvel decides to do another round of its Strange Tales anthology. Click on overt o check it out, along with a lot of other cool stuff.
Magnolia Pictures has unveiled a poster created by cartoonist James Stokoe (Orc Stain, Wonton Soup) for Troll Hunter, the darkly funny Norwegian film about a group of students that discovers the government has been hiding the existence of trolls for years. For more information about the documentary-style movie, check out Spinoff Online’s recent interview with writer-director André Øvredal.
Available On Demand now, Troll Hunter opens in theaters on June 10.
“My not-terribly insightful comic book epiphany of the day: right now, we’ve got a bunch of top-flight writers in the field, and the next generation on the horizon. But what we could really use is a new, young generation of break-out artists. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got a lot of excellent artists. But who was the last hot young guy who just exploded into the field? I feel like the pump is primed for one or more fresh young artists to just explode in a major, commercial way. When was the last time that happened? We could use an infusion of visual excitement in the books–across all companies.”
–Thus spoke Tom Brevoort, Marvel Senior VP – Executive Editor, on Twitter last night. Personally, I think he’s probably right to wonder about this. Like he says, the point isn’t that there are no good or even great relatively young/relatively new artists right now — there are plenty. Personally I’ve been knocked out by Gabriel Hardman‘s work on Atlas and Hulk over the past year or so, just for example. But what Brevoort is looking for is an artist who just skyrockets to superstardom more or less out of the blue. That requires quite a delicate alchemy. The artist in question must be young enough or new enough or have been working far way enough from the Big Two’s audiences for their work to have “the shock of the new” when fans first see it. They must bring something different to the table than what established artists are doing, so that their work stands out, but they must also be working in a style that’s recognizable and acceptable to large numbers of superhero fans. Their work doesn’t necessarily have to be to your taste, but you should at least be able to understand what others see in it, even if you don’t see it yourself.
Since recently launching his blog, Orc Stain creator James Stokoe has been on a wild spree of posting unpublished comics on it. Following some Orc Stain pages and the 100+ pages of Murderbullets comes Nomad of the Domes, which is “a prototype to a lot of ideas in Orc Stain.”
It’s probably also worth noting that if you haven’t checked out his Image title, Orc Stain, just yet, you can find the first three issues on comiXology.
Move over, WikiLeaks: Here’s a document dump that everyone can get behind. While the rest of the world recovered from its tryptophan hangover this past weekend, Orc Stain cartoonist and Strange Tales II contributor James Stokoe uploaded 102 pages (plus front and back covers and a gigantic poster) of his unpublished comic Murderbullets to his blog.
Stokoe says he developed the project for an abandoned anthology between working on Wonton Soup 2 and Orc Stain; it took on a life of its own and expanded to the 100-page prologue you’ll find at the link, with an additional five chapters to come, before Stokoe decided to work on Orc Stain instead. “I don’t think I would be a decent human being if I released this prologue in print without finishing the rest of the book, but the magic of free internet lets me share it with you now,” he says. I think we can all agree he’s a decent human being indeed. Not a bad artist, either.
Over on his shiny new blog for his awesome Image Comics series Orc Stain, James Stokoe shares a story that ended up on the cutting room floor. “Here’s some bits that got cut out of the upcoming Orc Stain trade,” he wrote. “About 10 pages in and the end still nowhere near in sight, there was no way I could fit it in/finish it in time.” Go check it out.
The third and final issue of Marvel’s Strange Tales II arrives in shops Dec. 8, and will feature stories by James Stokoe, Michael DeForge, Toby Cypress, Harvey Pekar and Ty Templeton, Nick Gurewitch with Kate Beaton, Eduardo Medeiros and Benjamin Marra, among others.
And thanks to our friends over at Marvel, we’re pleased to present two preview pages from the anthology today, featuring Stokoe’s Silver Surfer tale (who we alreayd know draws a jaw-dropping awesome Galactus), and DeForge’s Spider-Man, Jubilee and Iceman.
Check’em out after the jump.