FanExpo Canada wraps up today in Toronto, and both Marvel and DC were there this weekend announcing various projects:
- DC Comics will relaunch the Justice Society by writer James Robinson and artist Nicola Scott. The new adventures of the JSA will be set not on the “New 52″ Earth, but on Earth-2, as they were before Crisis on Infinite Earths combined DC’s multiple Earths into one big sandbox back in the 1980s. “Everyone’s saying, ‘How can there be superheroes before the five years?’ We’re actually bringing back Earth-2,” Robinson said.
- Marvel announced Brian Wood will write for the publisher once again, in a teaser that seems to point a finger at a Wolverine project.
- Marvel’s Alpha Flight has been upgraded from a limited series to an ongoing.”We’ve got Taskmaster showing up, we’ve got Wolverine and other characters journeying north to find out what’s going on with Alpha Flight,” said co-writer Fred Van Lente. “We learn that Alpha flight’s actually a member of a super, super team called The Commonwealth of Heroes. I’m very excited about writing those characters — I love them a lot and it’s going to be a good time.” The Commonwealth of Heroes? I am intrigued. CBR has more details in an interview with Van Lente and Greg Pak, where they mention that Captain Britain and MI-13 will play a role in the Commonwealth Heroes.
- In addition to Jill Thompson, other artists working on the upcoming Shade miniseries written by James Robinson include Gene Ha and Darwyn Cooke.
- Marvel will publish a five-issue miniseries called Destroyers, by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Kyle Hotz. The book will feature The Thing, the Beast, A-Bomb, She-Hulk, Karkas the Deviant and Devil Dinosaur. “A lot of this series is about how monsters feel about being monsters and how comfortable they are with it. Hank McCoy is probably the most comfortable in his furry blue skin. He’s got an analytical mind. In this story, a colleague from his past gets murdered. That sets him on a quest to solve a mystery and puts him on a collision course with the Destroyers,” Van Lente told CBR.
- Marvel also announced the return of two more CrossGen properties — Kiss Kiss Bang Bang in December by writer Peter Milligan and artist Roman Rosanas, and Route 666 in February by writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Peter Nguyen. Both are four-issue mini-series.
Although usually not active on the weekend, DC’s The Source blog had two tidbits today coming out of Fan Expo Canada.
The first has to do with the return of the Justice Society. According to DC’s The Source blog:
There’s been plenty of speculation about the Justice Society in The New 52 – and we can now confirm that they will, in fact, be back! As with everything else with DC Comics – The New 52, however, there’s a significant twist. What is it? We’re not saying. Just. Quite. Yet.
“It’s everything you want, but not what you expect,” promises Eddie Berganza, DC Comics Executive Editor.
As Brian Cronin pointed out, word from the convention is that James Robinson and Nicola Scott are working on the series which will be set during an as-yet unspecified time period – on Earth-2.
Speaking of Robinson, the Source also announced Jill Thompson as the artist on Shade #8. The standalone issue — set in Paris in the early 1900s — is something Robinson wrote specifically for Thompson, reminiscent of the standalone stories Robinson would write when he was doing Starman. Shade #8 comes out next May.
Yesterday’s announcement of a potential Beasts of Burden movie put a gleam into the eye of more than a few comic fans, but if that wasn’t enough, we have more good news: Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson are already working on more Beasts of Burden comics.
Prompted by the movie announcement, Dorkin took to his blog to give new details about new Beasts of Burden stories in his work. After last year’s crossover with Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, Dorkin & Thompson are reuniting for three standalone stories in upcoming issues of Dark Horse Presents, and they’re currently working out a schedule to do another limited series. Huzzah!
Dorkin & Thompson are no stranger to Hollywood-types taking notice of their work; Dorkin’s worked extensively for Cartoon Network, and Thompson’s Scary Godmother series was made into a string of animated films several years back.
It’s not exactly pirates vs. ninjas, but there has been, shall we say, some ill feeling between webcomics creators and the National Cartoonists Society over the years. But there comes a time to put away childish things, including feuds, and this year the NCS actually invited three webcomics creators—Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, and Dave Kellett—to present a panel at their annual meeting, which was held this past weekend in Boston. Naturally, Kellett worked this event, along with some of the high points of the evening, into his daily webcomic, Sheldon.
The big news of the evening was that Richard Thompson won the award for outstanding cartoonist of the year, an honor that anyone who reads Cul de Sac can tell you was well deserved. The award for best newspaper strip went to Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley’s Dustin, Jill Thompson won the Best Comic Book Award for Beast of Burden, and Joyce Farmer took Best Graphic Novel honors for Special Exits.
Dark Horse has posted several updates on their blog about upcoming content for the relaunched Dark Horse Presents anthology. As you can see on the cover above, the third issue will include a 13-page preview of Red Tide, “Jim Steranko’s crime-noir masterpiece.”
Issues #4, #6 and #8, meanwhile, will include Beasts of Burden stories by writer Evan Dorkin and artist Jill Thompson. “These new stories take place shortly after the events of the Hellboy crossover from last year, are self-contained, and can be easily followed by folks who haven’t read the previous comics,” Dorkin said. “I hope our regular readers will enjoy these stories—Jill’s painted artwork is as amazing as always, and there are character and background details dropped throughout the episodes that add to the overall story line we’ve been building.”
And finally, issue #4 will also include a new Criminal Macabre story by writer Steve Niles, artist Chris Mitten and colorist Michelle Madsen. “I can’t give away too much, but there are some major shocks coming for Cal fans,” Niles said. “Everything about Cal and his life is about to be whipped into a Hellish frenzy that would have the Devil himself on his heels. Plus it’s gonna be funny and I can’t say enough about Chris and Michelle’s work together. It’s perfect.”
Back in February we showed off an amazing illustration Jill Thompson did of the DC super-hero Wonder Woman. It became a bit of a hit across the internet, and for the thousands — or dare I say, millions — of fans who fell in love with Thompson’s illustration, you now have a chance to have it in your own home.
Over on her blog The Seahorse, Thompson announced that she’s doing a series of prints based on her art. Although the original painting of Wonder Woman was sold just moments after it was revealed, Thompson is doing a print of the piece — as well as several others — for those wanting to get this outburst of creativity on their wall.For only $20 you can get a 8.5″ x 11″ print, not including shipping and handling.
Go over to her website to find out more, and check out the other prints she’s made available. She also does original commission and paintings for sale as well. Let me know if you want to buy one for the Robot 6 offices!
Conventions | Early estimates place attendance three-day attendance at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at 34,000, up from 27,500 at last year’s inaugural event. “Last year was disappointing,” said Eric Thornton, manager of Chicago Comics. “But now you definitely see this starting to take hold.” [Chicago Tribune]
Retailing | Borders Group has announced it will close an additional 28 stores, bringing the total to 228. The bookseller, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 16, had used the possibility of as many as 75 closings as leverage to negotiate lease concessions. This latest wave will bring the chain’s remaining store total to about 400. [Media Decoder]
Publishers | Chicago-based publisher Archaia, which expects sales of $11 million this year, has raised capital from a group of investors with local connections. [Crain's Chicago Business, via ICv2.com]
My big question heading into the show this year was, “How much is it going to feel like a comics convention?” With Chris “Thor” Hemsworth and much of the cast of Chuck being around this weekend, would C2E2 start to feel like San Diego or – God forbid – Wizard World Chicago from a couple of years ago with movies and TV taking over the center of attention?
It’s only Friday, but so far so really damn good.
After last year’s C2E2, I had high expectations for the convention this year and everything got off to a great start. Press registration went smoothly again and some of the Artist Alley creators who hadn’t attended last year told me how impressed they were with the professionalism and just general niceness of the staff they’d worked with.
One major difference though is that the convention’s in a different part of McCormick Place this year. Instead of the impressive Lakeside Center with it’s unbelievable view of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago, it’s in the West Building. Still a very nice space with lush carpeting and plenty of room, just not as jaw-droppingly grand as last year. I’m not sure why that is, but one artist brought it to my attention that the setting sun through the giant picture-windows last year could sometimes make it difficult to see and interact with fans. So whatever the rationale for moving, there are positive and negative things about both spaces.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the nominees for the 65th annual Reuben Awards, which honor creators in various illustration fields, including comics.
Nominees for the two comic book industry categories — comics books and graphic novels — are:
Stan Sakai “Usagi Yojimbo”
Chris Samnee “Thor the Mighty Avenger”
Jill Thompson “Beasts of Burden”
Darwyn Cooke- “The Outfit”
Joyce Farmer “Special Exits”
James Sturm- “Market Day”
You can see the rest of the nominees in animation, comic strip and other categories, over at the NCS website. Winners will be announced over the Memorial Day weekend.
Cartoonist Jill Thompson has been tweeting it up in recent months, talking everything from comics to wrestling, Halloween and more. And last night she posted a unique piece of art guaranteed to get fanboys and fangirls wagging.
On the right is a watercolor Thompson posted of her own wild and delectable take on DC’s Wonder Woman. Although you might not remember it, she drew the title for a brief stint in 1990 and was even asked to do a story with the character for the original Wednesday Comics. Can I see a show of hands for who wants to see Jill go to Themiscyra?
In a response to a question on Twitter about ideas she might have for a story to go with this image, Thompson said “I DO have an OGN I’d love to do. ”
Last year I interviewed Thompson for Newsarama.com about her work on Beasts of Burden, where she talked about this very subject, saying:
Twitter is a wonderful thing — it allows people to speak and share their mind, and in the case of comics, show off cool artwork. After Eric Powell broke the news that Evan Dorkin was guest-writing an issue of The Goon, Dorkin’s Beasts of Burden partner Jill Thompson posted an interesting sketch of her own:
That’s right: Jill Thompson drawing Archie’s Jughead and Betty. On her Twitter feed, Thompson simply stated “so I’m doodling these guys… I think they work in my style.” Seconds later, she posts a painted version:
Rumors began to swirl about a sequel to Wednesday Comics as soon as DC’s weekly anthology debuted in July 2009. But now we finally have confirmation from a contributor that something’s in the works.
Bleeding Cool picked up on word from the Facebook page of Steve Rude that the Nexus artist is working on a New Gods strip for a new Wednesday Comics. Years ago Rude and writer Mark Evanier were in line to do a New Gods series but it fell through (although they did do a Mister Miracle Special sometime back). For Wednesday Comics 2 there’s no word yet whether Rude is writing and illustrating or working with someone else.
The book’s editor Mark Chiarello confirmed last June, as the collected edition was released, that thought has gone into a sequel. All this begs the question — who else is in the book? Let’s put some pieces together …
Earlier in this year Jill Thompson told Newsarama she was approached to do a Wonder Woman strip for the first series but had to turn it down due to working on Beasts of Burden. However, she asked to be considered if Wednesday Comics came back.
During a panel at Baltimore Comic-Con in 2009, Chiarello and some of the contributors to the first series spitballed some ideas of what they’d like to see in the sequel. Read Comic Book Resource’s full report, or follow on for who recommended who:
Comic-Con | A reminder: Four-day and single-day passes for Comic-Con International go on sale Monday at 9 a.m. PT. Note, though, that four-day memberships with Preview Night sold out on the last day of this year’s convention (more could be released later, depending on returns and cancellations). Prices have increased oh so slightly, from $100 to $105 for four-day memberships and from $35 to $37 for single-day passes.
Convention organizers also announced the first 20 special guests for the 2011 event, including Jordi Bernet, Jo Chen, Alan Davis, David Finch, Dave Gibbons, Jonathan Hickman, Jamal Igle, Mark Tatulli and Roy Thomas. [Comic-Con International]
Legal | A federal judge on Wednesday blocked a new Massachusetts Internet law designed to protect children from sexually explicit material, say the legislation was so broad that it would criminalize legitimate websites and electronic communication. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund was among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit opposing the statute. [The Boston Globe]
The Monday before Halloween, as well as the Monday before the release of the Beasts of Burden/Hellboy one-shot (Set for release this Wednesday from Dark Horse), was the ideal time for an interview with writer/artist Jill Thompson. October has been busy for Dark Horse and Thompson, given that earlier in the month the publisher released the new hardcover Scary Godmother collection of the four “Eisner Award-winning, fully painted children’s books … (Scary Godmother, Revenge of Jimmy, The Mystery Date, and The Boo Flu)”. The prospect of new Scary Godmother was a great topic to cover with Thompson, as well as learning her thoughts on how she creates certain tales and how organic the creative process is for her. Thanks to Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for arranging this interview, and I offer a great deal of gratitude to Thompson for this discussion.
Tim O’Shea: How satisfying is it to have all of the fully-painted Scary Godmother stories repackaged into one book? You considered teaming with different publishers to collect the stories, but what factors motivated you to go with Dark Horse?
Jill Thompson: Well, the original books, published by Sirius Entertainment had been out of print for a long while and I was very anxious to find a way to get them back out to the reading public. Since there are two animated specials in seasonal rotation on the Cartoon Network I knew there were a great many new fans I could introduce or reintroduce to the original material. I’m so happy that the book is back in print and available at comic shops and bookstores and online.
Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites
Written by Evan Dorkin; Illustrated by Jill Thompson
Dark Horse; $19.99
I know we’ve been talking a lot about comics for kids lately, so I’m going to give that a rest for a bit (except to point you to Nate Cosboom and Skottie Young’s latest thoughts on the subject). Fun and awesome comics don’t always have to be kid-appropriate. Beasts of Burden is an excellent example of that. Monster-hunting dogs and cats sounds particularly good for children, but not when the monsters are this scary. Your kids may be different from mine and more power to them if they are, but my eight-year-old would have nightmares if this was his bedtime reading. Doesn’t mean that I can’t enjoy the hell out of it though.
As you may know, Beasts of Burden began as a recurring feature in the Dark Horse Book of… anthologies. There were four volumes – Book of Hauntings, Book of Witchcraft, Book of the Dead, and Book of Monsters – and one of the highlights of each was always Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson’s story about five dogs and a stray cat who get pulled deeper and deeper into the supernatural.
The Animal Rites collection includes those four stories as well as the four-issue Beasts of Burden mini-series. In the spirit of anthology tales, each of the eight stories stands by itself. There are no cliffhangers; no To Be Continueds. But there’s a larger story taking shape as the pets learn more and more about the paranormal and begin to figure out that the recent weirdness in their quiet, little, wooded community is being orchestrated by a single intelligence. What that intelligence is remains to be discovered by the end of Animal Rites, which is fine by me. There’s a slow build moving towards that revelation and I don’t want Dorkin and Thompson to rush it. Besides, I want more of these stories and it’s comforting to know that there are plans for that.
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