J.H. Williams III
Batwoman, by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, won the GLAAD Media Award for “Outstanding Comic Book.” The award was announced last night in New York.
“This is extremely gratifying, because we’ve been working very hard to make this character multifaceted and someone to believe in, while showing her develop realistic personal relationships over time,” Williams wrote on his blog. “So the recognition from the GLAAD awards bolsters us greatly. And thank you for all of the support the series has been getting from you all, the comics readership community.”
The awards honor outstanding portrayals of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in various media. Other comics that were nominated in the category included Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, by Allan Heinberg and Jimmy Cheung; Secret Six, by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore; Veronica Presents: Kevin Keller, by Dan Parent; and X-Factor, by Peter David, Emanuela Lupacchino, Valentine De Landro and others.
You can find the complete list of winners on the GLAAD site.
It’s fast becoming Jamaica Dyer week here at Robot 6. Yesterday she contributed to the weekly What Are You Reading column, and today she is the subject of an interview. Dyer joined me in this email interview mostly to discuss the serialization of her graphic novel, Fox Head Stew (at MTV Geek), the tale of two twentysomethings–Dee and Sam (aka Bunny Boy)–making their way through life. But she was also enthused to discuss the Isotope Comics-arranged Live Art Show as part of San Francisco’s Noise Pop Music Festival 20th Anniversary. My thanks to Dyer for her time.
Tim O’Shea: While Fox Head Stew is being serialized at MTV Geek, I am curious are you looking to release it through a traditional publisher at some point?
Jamaica Dyer: Yes, I would love to see Fox Head Stew printed as a book. I don’t have a publisher for it yet but I’m definitely on the market! I did some print-on-demand copies last year and it looks amazing on paper. Finding a publisher for it is difficult, because while it’s the sort of story that indie publishers like, they typically only print black and white books, and I have to insist on having it printed in color. It’s my own fault for insisting on painting the whole thing!
My hope is that through exposure on MTV Geek, the audience might decide that a book about girls experimenting in college, glam rock bands, and psychedelic fantasy sequences rendered in watercolor are the sort of stories they want to read in comics! There’s a definite perception in mainstream comics of superheros and action stories, but this is an exciting opportunity to change that perception and expose new genres to the MTV audience.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we share what comics, books and other good stuff we’ve been checking out lately. This week our special guest is Thomas Hall, writer of the science fiction/fantasy comic Robot 13.
To see what Thomas and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve read this week. Today our special guest is Jason Green.
Jason Green is the editor of comics coverage for the St. Louis-based pop culture website PLAYBACK:stl, and a writer and editor for the comics collective Ink and Drink Comics, whose fourth release (a Western anthology titled Off the Wagon) will debut at this year’s C2E2.
To see what Jason and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Retailing | Rumors have begun to swirl that online retail giant Amazon plans to open a brick-and-mortar store in Seattle within the next few months to help gauge the profitability of a chain. The store reportedly won’t just sell e-readers and tablets, but also books from Amazon’s newly launched publishing division. [Good E-Reader, Gawker]
Publishing | Japanese publisher Shueisha Inc. released the 65th volume of Eiichiro Oda’s pirate manga One Piece last week with a first printing of 4 million copies, tying the record set in November by the previous volume. [The Mainichi Daily News]
Retailing | Howard Ackler writes about the final days of Dragon Lady Comics, the Toronto retailer that closed last week after 33 years in business. [National Post]
Isotope Comics in San Francisco will host DC Comics’ traveling New 52 Art Tour in December, as all month long they’ll display six 11×17 sets of artwork (from script to inks to the final full-color production pages), along with every page from Batwoman #3.
And to kick it off, they’re planning a pair of events to kick it off on Saturday, Dec. 3. During the day they’ll host an all-ages autograph signing with Batwoman‘s JH Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, followed that night by an afterparty with both creators, Batwoman-themed cocktails and special highball glasses designed by Williams. The afterparty is a ticketed event, and you buy tickets here.
You can find an image of the glass after the jump.
Legal | Prosecutors in Macomb County, Michigan, rested their case Friday in the second trial of Michael George, a former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in the back room of their Clinton Township comic store. The judge this morning will hear a defense motion for a directed verdict, seeking dismissal due to lack of evidence, before testimony resumes.
George, now 51, was arrested in August 2007, after a detective reopened the cold case, and convicted seven months later of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, among other counts, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge later set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct — George’s mug shot was shown to the jury — and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. His retrial began Sept. 14, and should conclude this week. Prosecutors contend that George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George insists he was asleep at the time of the shooting, and that his wife was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. [Daily Tribune]
Publishing | Chip Mosher, marketing and sales director for BOOM! Studios, left the publisher on Friday after four years. Marketing coordinator Emily McGuiness will take over his duties. [BOOM! Studios]
• USA Today talks with Supergirl co-writers Mike Johnson and Michael Green about their approach to the relaunched title, and provides a five-page preview of the first issue, which goes on sale Wednesday. “We’re really excited about the opportunity to hand this book to a female reader who is into things like The Hunger Games,” Johnson says. “This is a strong character with her own point of view.”
• Writer J.T. Krul will be replaced by Keith Giffen and artist Dan Jurgens on Green Arrow with December’s Issue 4. The news comes just days after John Rozum announced he’s leaving Static Shock.
Legal | Jury selection is set to begin today in Mount Clemens, Michigan, in the second trial of former retailer Michael George, charged with first-degree murder in the 1990 shooting death of his first wife Barbara in their Clinton Township comic store. George, 51, was convicted in 2008, but later that year a judge set aside the conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct and the emergence of new evidence that might have resulted in a different verdict. [The Detroit News]
Retailing | Retailer Mike Sterling answers questions about DC’s relaunch, noting his store saw an uptick in sales before the relaunch: “In our case, comic sales have been increasing … slowly, but steadily. And judging by demand for the new Justice League #1 and the interest we’ve seen in DC’s next batch of first issues, we’re expecting a bit of a bump in sales over the next few weeks. Whether that bump sticks, even as a slight net gain after the initial excitement over the new launches peters out and we see what the sales levels on these titles will actually be, remains to be seen. But I’m optimistic. My fear was that our upward store sales trend may have been derailed by DC cancelling everything and starting again, alienating the readership we were building, but for the most part that doesn’t seem to be happening. But, you know, in six months or a year or so, we’ll know for sure.” [Progressive Ruin]
Amy Reeder, who’ll share art duties with J.H. Williams III on Batwoman, reveals on her blog four variant covers for the upcoming series that, for unclear reasons, won’t be published.
“We had it set up that I would do variants for J.H.’s run and he would do variants for mine (meaning, the main covers during my arc would be drawn by me),” she writes. “AND I got to ink and color these, which really got my creative juices flowing. It’s been a while since I’ve had that opportunity and I had a blast! So, I’d done four of the five variants, when I had found out that DC decided not to publish any variant covers on Batwoman.”
A second cover can be seen after the break. Visit Reeder’s blog to see more, as well as an unpublished Supergirl cover featuring the Teen Titans. Batwoman #1 arrives in stores on Sept. 14. Reeder’s story arc begins in February.
In a blog post titled simply “Finally!,” J.H. Williams III notes the inclusion in DC Comics’ solicitations for November a listing for a trade paperback for Chase, the woefully short-lived 1998 series he created with D. Curtis Johnson.
The title came out of the same experimental era at the publisher that produced such comics Young Heroes in Love, Aztek: The Ultimate Man and Hourman, and introduced us to Cameron Chase, a cynical, cigarette-smoking agent with the newly introduced Department of Extranormal Operations.
I’ve written before about my love for Chase, which was a wonderful looking glass into the workings of the DC Universe, with Cameron providing an outsider perspective on the actions and lives of superheroes. She had ties to a costumed character and frequently interacted with the capes-and-tights set — from Batman and Nightwing to Alan Scott and Klarion the Witchboy — but she wasn’t part of that world. Well, not that she’d admit.
Cameron and the DEO far outlived Chase, which unfortunately ended with its tenth issue, part of DC’s “One Million” event. The character had a prominent role a decade later in Manhunter, while the Department of Extranormal Operations, also created by Williams and Johnson, has become a fixture of the DC Universe, even appearing in the Green Lantern movie.
“Chase was one of those series that came out at time when almost everything new from DC was getting the axe within a year due to slow sales,” Williams writes on his blog. “Ironically, as we were getting chopped, a groundswell buzz was happening around what we were doing, but unfortunately not in time to save the series. In all the years since then, Chase The Series had garnered a cult status, becoming almost more popular after its death than when it was alive.”
As Williams’ “Finally!” title suggests, this is the first time Chase has been collected; I tracked down the full run several years back at Mid-Ohio Con, where all 10 issues were bagged together for a decent price. The 352-page trade paperback goes well beyond that, though, collecting Batman #550 (Cameron Chase’s first appearance), plus a bunch of stories from the Secret Files line. It arrives in stores on Dec. 21.
LucasFilm and Abrams Books have teamed up for Star Wars Art: Comics, a collection of artwork from “the entire history of Star Wars comics publishing,” from the first Star Wars adaptations published in 1977 by Marvel to the present day.
According to the press release, the artwork has been “hand-selected and curated” by George Lucas and will feature interior pages and fully painted covers from artists such as Al Williamson, Howard Chaykin, Adam Hughes, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave Dorman, and many more. It will also feature newly commissioned art by 20 creators, including John Cassady, Sam Kieth, Mike Mignola, Paul Pope, Frank Quitely, Jim Steranko and, as seen above, J.H. Williams III.
“I wanted something that was a new character of my creation,” the artist wrote on his blog. “I had been told that George was a longtime comics fan. So I also wanted to go for this classic giant monster versus hero idea, like stuff you might see in old [Jack] Kirby comics, but here it needed to be a mechanical weapon that looked like a creature, giving a sense of story beyond fighting a giant monster. This gives more weight for the snippet of a bigger unseen plot idea. And the scene had to have a strong design sense to it, so it could have a signature look that could be identified with my sensibilities, but still felt like Star Wars when you look at it.”
This is the second book in Abrams’ Star Wars Art series; the first one, subtitled Visions, was released last year. Star Wars Art: Comics has an introduction by Virginia Mecklenburg, a foreword by Dennis O’Neil, and a preface by Douglas Wolk. It features a cover by Dave Dorman and is due in October.
Creators | Robert Crumb has decided not to attend Graphic 2011, an arts festival scheduled for Aug. 20-21 at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Crumb told The Australian he withdrew from his headline appearance because of an article in the Australian newspaper The Telegraph that called him “a self-confessed sex pervert.”
“It’s a very, very disappointing situation,” Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “There were a legion of people eagerly anticipating his visit and the Graphic team and Sydney Opera House had been working for months to pull together the shows he was involved with and to supply an enjoyable first visit to Australia for him. I sincerely doubt that he will ever make it to Australia now. It’s a very sad day, but I’m still excited and looking forward to the rest of the great shows happening at Graphic next weekend.” [The Australian]
Retailers | Birmingham, England comics shop Nostalgia and Comics was damaged during the riots of the past few days; no one was injured, but the windows were broken. [The Forbidden Planet blog]
With fans chomping at the bit to see J.H. Williams III return in the new Batwoman series this September, you might get your fix first in your local record store iTunes. Last week it was announced that the California-based artist is working with legendary post-punk band Blondie for artwork on an upcoming album.
This matchmaking was done by San Francisco comic store owner James Sime of Isotope Comics. Sime is a regular on the Bay Area music scene, and finagled himself and Williams backstage at a recent Blondie show. Sime tells a heartwarming story on the Isotope blog of a impromptu moment of mutual admiration between Williams and the band members of Blondie. That chance meeting turned into business, as their full-on collaboration was announced for a deluxe edition of Blondie’s new album Panic Of Girls. No word yet on when this will see the light of day, but now you have one more reason to tune in to Blondie.
Go over to Williams’ own site to read his thoughts.
DC spent the day rolling out announcements about the Batman books in anticipation of its line-wide September relaunch…with one conspicuous absence until the very end.
So, Bruce Wayne is reclaiming sole possession of the mantle of the Bat, while Batman and Detective Comics are swapping creators: Batman writer/artist Tony Daniel will be taking over Detective Comics, while ‘Tec writer Scott Snyder is taking over Batman with artist Greg Capullo of Spawn fame. Both books will star Bruce Wayne rather than his protege and stand-in Dick Grayson beneath the cape and cowl.