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Comic-Con International

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]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Jill Thompson

Beasts of Burden/Hellboy (one-shot)

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.

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Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs | The monster-hunting pets of Burden Hill

Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites

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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SDCC ’10 | Threadless unveils shirts by Thompson, Chiang, Moore and Baltazar

threadlesscomics

The T-shirt site Threadless has unveiled four new shirts by comic artists Jill Thompson, Cliff Chiang, Tony Moore and Art Baltazar just in time for San Diego. The shirts can be purchased separately for $20 each or as a collector’s set for $70. You can read more about how the artists became involved here.

In addition, the site has announced a new design challenge, where they ask artists to design a shirt based on a particular theme. This time around the theme is comics, and the shirt will be worn by a character in an upcoming issue of John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Chew.

What Are You Reading?

Enter the Heroic Age

Enter the Heroic Age

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading? where we ask, “If you were stuck on an island with the smoke monster, what would you bring to read?” Yes, that was my lame attempt to make today’s edition topical. Sorry. Let’s just write that off as me being really excited to see the end of Lost.

This week our special guest is comics retailer Randy Lander, who you can find selling comics at Rogues Gallery Comics & Games in Round Rock, Texas or blogging over at Inside Joke Theatre. To see what Randy and the rest of our merry castaways have been reading, click the link below …

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Vertigo to publish sequel to The Little Endless Storybook

The Little Endless Storybook

The Little Endless Storybook

DC’s Vertigo imprint announced on their blog today that Jill Thompson will write and paint a sequel to The Little Endless Storybook.

Delirium’s Party: A Little Endless Storybook, reunites all the Endless siblings “in an effort to break Despair of her unhappiness.”

“I’m so pleased to be able to play in the Sandman playground again,” Thompson told Graphic Content’s Pamela Mullin. “I love the Endless and I really enjoy being able to tell quirky and cute stories with them in their ‘Little Endless’ form! They are such a fan favorite that I always want to create something that lives up to everyone’s expectations, mine included-because first and foremost, I am a fan of these characters! I think Delirium’s Party will be a nice follow up to the first Little Endless storybook! Despair is the best ’straight man’ for comedy ever! Well, after Neil and Sandman, of course…!”

The original book was published back in 2001 as a prestige-sized one-shot, and was later repackaged as a hardcover. The plot involved Barnabas, Destruction’s dog, trying to find a lost Delirium.

The sequel is due out next year.

C2E2 | Baltazar, Chiang, Moore, Thompson to create comic story on shirts

Threadless shirt by Jill Thompson

Threadless shirt by Jill Thompson

Threadless announced today during C2E2 that they’re teaming up with comic creators Art Baltazar, Cliff Chiang, Tony Moore and Jill Thompson to create a series of four shirts, each of which tell part of a story written by Thompson. The tees will be revealed at a party during Comic Con International in San Diego in July.

Straight for the art | Delirium and Desire, by Jill Thompson

Delirium and Desire watercolor commissions, by Jill Thompson

Delirium and Desire watercolor commissions, by Jill Thompson

This afternoon on Twitter, the multi-talented Jill Thompson posted these gorgeous watercolor commissions of The Sandman‘s Delirium and Desire, as well as the X-Men‘s Kitty Pryde. Thompson, whose Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites hardcover collection will be released in June, is a featured guest this weekend at the inaugural C2E2.

Dark Horse fills the comic void in your life with an early MySpace Dark Horse Presents

Brody's Ghost by Mark Crilley

Brody's Ghost by Mark Crilley

As mentioned earlier this week on CBR, Dark Horse has released the January edition of MySpace Dark Horse Presents a little bit early. New stories by Mark Crilley, Scott Allie and Kevin McGovern, Jill Thompson and David Malki! all went live a little earlier today.

“We’re putting this one online early–usually MDHP goes up the first Wednesday of the month, but because of Diamond cutting off the shipment of new books on the final Wednesday in December, we thought it would be cool to deliver some comics ourselves on December 30,” Allie told CBR. “I wish it did something for the retailers that are missing a week’s revenue–a crucial week’s revenue–but at least readers will have 26 new pages of comics.”

Straight for the art | Jill Thompson’s Nightmare

Thompson's 'Nightmare'

Thompson's 'Nightmare'

If you’ve got a Facebook account (and have presumably friended Ms. Thompson)  you’ll want to head over to Jill Thompson’s photo album to check out three sample pages she did of a Nightmare Before Christmas graphic novel adaptation. Sez the artist about the work:

All I know was that I did not get it….someone told me that Burton did not want a graphic novel adaptation…but then that Manga one came out…so- who knows what the reasons were. I liked what I did. I think I would have done a good adaptation. Maybe it woulda been a hassle. Liscensed things usually are a helluva headache.

Shame. I would have dropped down serious money to see her try to adapt this film.

Talking Comics with Tim: Evan Dorkin

Beasts of Burden

Beasts of Burden

When an interview goes well, it has very little to do with me. The value of the interview, not surprisingly, is rooted in the answers. Evan Dorkin is proof of this. At one point in this email interview, the man justifiably ridicules my use of the term “sequential art narrative” in a question–and being Evan Dorkin, it’s damn funny when he does it. The interview covers a great deal of ground, given the diversity and richness of his career to date. First up, though, is Dark Horse’s Beasts of Burden, his upcoming collaboration with Jill Thompson, which is featured on the cover of this month’s PREVIEWS. (Beasts of Burden #1′s item code is JUL09 0015 [and goes on sale September 16]). Aweek or so ago my associate Mr. Melrose linked to the original Beasts of Burden short story, Stray, that Dark Horse posted to its site (and that Dorkin also mentions at the start of this interview). My thanks to Dorkin for what I hope you agree is a great interview.

Tim O’Shea: You are working on Beasts of Burden, for Dark Horse, what can you tell folks about the project?

Evan Dorkin: Beasts of Burden is a four-issue series debuting this September from Dark Horse, I’m writing it and Jill Thompson is illustrating it, and it’s about a group of neighborhood dogs and a stray cat that band together to fight the supernatural. It takes place in a town called Burden Hill, which has become increasingly plagued by monsters and the paranormal. The human inhabitants are largely oblivious to what’s happening, so it’s up to these “ordinary” animals to defend the area from these occult incursions. It’s a horror comic with adventure and fantasy elements, and hopefully a sense of humor. Each issue is a self-contained story, with some narrative undercurrents running through them.

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Thompson previews Beasts of Burden

from Beasts of Burden

from Beasts of Burden

On her blog, artist Jill Thompson shares some early pages from the upcoming Beasts of Burden — a Dark Horse project announced at the New York Comic Con earlier this month that Kevin listed as one of his top five favorite announcements coming out of the show. Thompson says to look for the four-issue mini-series later this summer.


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