REVIEW: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is a Lot of Fun, a Little Flawed, and Whedon All the Way
Comic Books, Film
With the release last week of Princess Ugg #4, writer/artist Ted Naifeh cleared some time in his schedule to discuss the ongoing Oni Press series. After years spent with Courtney Crumrin, the creator moves into new territory by combining barbarian adventure with a princess finishing school to create a social satire/adventure tale.
While I had read the first few issues in preparation for our discussion, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to learn Naifeh created the character out of a desire to “play with Frazetta-style barbarian fantasy.” That turns out to be just one aspect of his work I was delighted to learn about, has his candor about the creator/editor dynamics also proved informative.
Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors has announced it will return to Chicago April 24-26 for its annual Diamond Retailer Summit, held in conjunction with the April 26-28 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo . The three-day event includes presentations from sponsoring publishers, focus groups, and retailer workshops and roundtables. [Diamond Summits]
Awards | Johanna Draper Carlson has resigned as a judge for the 2012 Glyph Comics Awards following a disagreement over which works are eligible for the annual honors. Carlson believed judges should be able to nominate comics (as is the case with the Eisners), but the organizers limited the pool to comics that were submitted to them, which resulted in a smaller group of nominees. [Comics Worth Reading]
“It’s a shame that the company is no longer scrappy enough to do something involving their bustier heroines. I’d pay attention to an ad that showed, say, Emma Frost talking about how it was particularly important for her to keep her breasts healthy, given how often they were on display.”
– Johanna Draper Carlson on Marvel’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure variant covers, which will grace several of their comics in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Publishing | Viz Media announced that Ken Sasaki, formerly the senior vice president and general manager of the manga and anime publisher, will take over from Hidemi Fukuhara as president and CEO. Fukuhara is being promoted to vice chairman, which apparently involves little of the day-to-day management of the company. [Crunchyroll]
Publishing | Johanna Draper Carlson counts the pages in some recent DC and Marvel comics and finds lots of house ads — and very few paying ones. This raises the chicken-and-egg question of whether the comics publishers are losing interest in selling ads or the advertisers are losing interest in buying them. [Comics Worth Reading]
Digital | Nerdist Industries’ CEO Peter Levin has joined comiXology’s advisory board. [comiXology]
This weekend, I made my way up to Charlotte, N.C., to catch up with my pals Johanna Draper Carlson and KC Carlson, who also drove down to attend the 35th Anniversary of the Charlotte MiniCon. I enjoyed attending the Minicon (seeing folks like the always photogenic and hilarious Dustin Harbin [yeah, I had to photograph him…again], as well as Jason Latour, Matt Wilson, Bridgit Scheide and Rich Barrett). Yet as I was in the middle of having fun, I realized I wanted to enjoy it as a consumer, not cover it as a journalist. So if you are looking for coverage of the Minicon, I highly recommend Johanna’s coverage over at Comics Worth Reading.
[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O’Shea and JK Parkin]
This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.
There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!
I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.
On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.
I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.
This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent. Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers. In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.
• iFanboy has named Petrograd by Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook as their book of the year.
• Johanna Draper Carlson shares her top ten graphic novels of the year, a list that includes Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, Love and Capes: Wake Up Where You Are by Thomas Zahler and Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton.
• Danny Djeljosevic, Nick Hanover and Jason Sacks at Comics Bulletin count down their top ten graphic novels of 2011, which include Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, Oil and Water by Steve Duin and Shannon Wheeler, and Habibi by Craig Thompson.
• Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson continues her countdown of the top people of 2011. Jeffrey Brown comes in at No. 71, while Brian Selznick lands at No. 55. Jeff Lemire is at No. 31. Robert Kirkman and Kevin Smith both break into the top 20. I won’t spoil the No. 1 pick, but I agree with it wholeheartedly.
• Jonathan P. Kuehlein of the Toronto Star picks his year’s best, including Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran, Joe The Barbarian: The Deluxe Edition by Grant Morrison and Sean Murphy, and Scarlet: Book 1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev.
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.
This interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov (creator of the acclaimed Elk’s Run from a few years ago and current noir work at Archaia, Tumor [which reunites Fialkov with his Elk’s Run artist Noel Tuazon]) took an interesting route before finally getting here. The initial interview started as a suggestion from Johanna Draper Carlson back in October 2008 (thanks, Johanna) and was intended for my pop culture blog, Talking with Tim. Fialkov was more than game to do the interview and we completed the initial interview in late 2008, right around the time I signed on to contribute my comics interviews to Robot 6. So, savvy, yet disorganized guy that I am, I set the interview aside–and promptly misplaced it. When news of Fialkov’s Tumor (available here for Kindle and here for free for those of without Kindles) started making the rounds, I realized my mistake and tracked the emails down. I contacted Fialkov (offering my sincere apologies) and he was kind enough to entertain new questions about Tumor. So please note, after the initial Tumor discussion, the interview moves on to the initial 2008 interview, which while it is understandably dated in some aspects, much of it is still quite engaging and relevant. My thanks to Fialkov for his understanding and for his time both in 2008 and 2009.
Tim O’Shea: How pleased have you been with Tumor’s Kindle sales? How much has the story’s word-of-mouth been boosted thanks to the website?
Joshua Hale Fialkov: Well, just using our placement in the ranks on Amazon, the fact that a Kindle only comic book can get up to be the 8th most ordered graphic novel on all of Amazon, including print, is pretty damn amazing. I think there’s a lot of reasons that we’re up there, including that we’re giving the first chapter away for free, but, still, that says to me that there’s an audience for comics on the device, and it’s one that in some ways may soon rival the audience for print comics. At least, for those readers who use Amazon to get their fix. My whole career has been built on a lot of goodwill, and from the support of friends and fans with big mouths and wide audiences, and, frankly, in a niche business like comics, that’s really how the whole thing works. What I hope to do is go the extra mile to really reward my readers, first with what I hope is excellent content, but secondly by giving them access to the stuff over on the website, including behind the scenes material, and special features that not only enhance their enjoyment of the book, but hopefully show them a side of the process they haven’t considered. To that end, there’s a healthy amount of traffic who make it over to the site every time we release an issue, so, I know that in some respects, it’s working.