INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
The internet has been abuzz ever since the news broke that Marvel is demanding $17,000 from Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich in return for not countersuing him, after he lost his suit against them. And now someone is doing something about it: Comics writer Steve Niles has set up a donation fund to help Gary, and donations are pouring in. Niles told CBR that most were in the $20 range, so it will take a lot to make a difference, but Marvel’s action seems to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Jamie Gambell has pledged the proceeds from his February book sales to the fund, and other donors include Steve Lieber, David Gallaher, and Neil Gaiman, who gave the fund drive a huge boost by retweeting it to his large following.
The whole thing came together quickly over Twitter; after getting an e-mail from Friedrich, Niles appealed to friends to help him set up a PayPal page, then reached out to a number of prominent creators (not all of whom have answered the call). The goal is rather modest: “Looks like 6k will keep a roof over his head, so let’s shoot for 7,” Niles tweeted about an hour ago. The donations have been pouring in, but he will need a lot more to reach that goal, he told CBR.
Meanwhile, it’s a bit like the last scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with creators hollering good wishes as they toss money into the till. “I just helped Gary. We might all need help some time. Good Karma, people!” tweeted Jill Thompson. “I am totally in,” said Gail Simone.
Crime | An energetic thief stole all 64 volumes of One Piece from a Japanese bookstore by stuffing 10 volumes at a time in his duffel bag. As One Piece is the most popular manga in Japan, he could have gotten a good price for his booty at a used manga store, had the forces of law not intervened. [Kotaku]
Creators | Kiss member Gene Simmons still remembers the postcard he got from Stan Lee as a kid. [Noisecreep]
CM Punk is currently on top of the wrestling world; he’s not only the current WWE champion, but he’s also one of the WWE’s most popular and most talented performers, both on the microphone and in the ring. So where do you go when you’ve conquered the squared circle? Movies? TV? Disneyland? In Punk’s case, it might be comics.
Punk is no stranger to comics, as he talks about them on Twitter and was the subject of one of Marvel’s Fightin’ Fanboys segments. He also sometimes quotes the Thing’s “It’s clobberin’ time!” on his way to the ring. Earlier today a series of tweets took the idea of Punk actually writing comics right to the top of Marvel Comics, ending with Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso saying, “…let’s make it happen.”
Wrestler Bryan Danielson, a.k.a. the American Dragon, a.k.a. Daniel Bryan in the WWE, shares a design for a jersey/T-shirt designed by Beasts of Burden artist and wrestling fan Jill Thompson. It’s a pretty sweet design, and although I’ve already got a couple of shirts designed by Thompson in my closet, they could use a new friend if someone decided to make it.
FanExpo Canada wraps up today in Toronto, and both Marvel and DC were there this weekend announcing various projects:
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: