"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Publishing | Portland, Oregon, will be the home base for Heavy Metal’s new line of comics, which was announced in October, following the company’s sale to David Boxenbaum and Jeff Krelitz. “I think it’s being closer to the talent,” Krelitz said. “If you wanted to be a painter in the early 20th century, you went to Paris. The comics line launches in March with the second season of Michael Moreci and Steve Seely’s Hoax Hunters. The company plans to be publishing eight original series by the end of this year and another 12 next year, building up to 50 in five years. “We’re positioning to be a premier publisher,” Krelitz said. [The Oregonian]
Passings | Editorial cartoonist R.K. Laxman, who maintained a running commentary on Indian politics for almost 60 years, has died at age 93. The younger brother of novelist R. K. Narayan, Laxman got his start illustrating his brother’s work as well as doing drawings for local newspapers. He became an editorial cartoonist for the Times of India around 1947, about the time India became an independent country, and stayed there until 2010. Laxman’s most famous creation was the Common Man, a character that stood in for the average Indian. As the official obituary in the Times of India said, “His Common Man, created in 1957, was the symbol of India’s ordinary people, their trials and tribulations, their little joys and sorrows, and the mess they found themselves in thanks to the political class and bureaucracy. But despite the sobering reality of this, there was never any rancour in Laxman’s cartoons. His humour was always delightful, and no one could hold a candle to his brushstrokes.” [Times of India]
IDW Publishing will release print collections of titles from Thrillbent, the digital comics site founded by Mark Waid and John Rogers, beginning in the spring with Empire Volume Two and Insufferable. Under the partnership, IDW will also publish a new edition of the sold-out Empire Volume One.
Founded in 2012, Thrillbent is “an experiment in new-media publishing” whose lineup also includes The House in the Wall, Moth City, Everstar and Valentine.
The sequel to the series created in 2000 by Waid and Barry Kitson, Empire Volume Two continues the saga of Golgoth, the evil armored despot who defeated all of Earth’s heroes and conquered the planet. Insufferable, which Waid created with Peter Krause, explores what happens when a hero’s sidekick grows up and goes to war against his mentor, and what it would take to bring them back together for one final adventure.
Hard to believe, but this month marks four years since I first interviewed artist Peter Krause about his return to comics. More immediately, today marks the return of Mark Waid and Peter Krause’s Insufferable at Thrillbent 2.0 with a new arc, “On the Road.” Through Thrillbent 2.0, Insuffereable: On The Road is free to view and download or embed — there are plenty of ways to enjoy the somewhat reconciled father-son team of Nocturnus and Galahad (seemingly led by the smarter than both of them, Meg). In addition, there are bundled editions of the first Insufferable arc (with extras) for sale at comiXology.com.
Tim O’Shea: How did Mark Waid convince you to try working in a then-relatively new medium like digital comics on Insufferable?
Peter Krause: The main attraction was that I’d get to keep working with Mark. I really valued the time we’d spent on Irredeemable for BOOM! I stepped away from that book because of time constraints — I was doing non-comics work that was making it harder to bring an “A” game to Irredeemable.
Creators’ rights | Gerry Giovinco points out that the mega-studio that is Walt Disney got its start because Walt signed a bad contract and lost the rights to his creation Oswald the Rabbit. Giovinco calls on Disney, as the parent company of Marvel, to acknowledge and perhaps actually compensate the creators of the products it is marketing: “I can’t believe that a company as wealthy Disney cannot find a way to see the value of the good will that would be generated by establishing some sort of compensation or, at the very least, acknowledgement to the efforts put forth by these creators.” [CO2 Comics Blog]
Digital comics | John Rogers discusses working with Mark Waid on his Thrillbent digital comics initiative. “There are people who are selling enough books to make a living on Amazon, whom you’ve never heard of. Because Amazon made digital delivery cheap and easy. That is what you must do with comics. It’s not hard. The music business already solved this problem. Amazon already solved this problem. It’s not like we’re trying to build a rocketship to the moon out of cardboard boxes. Webcomics guys — and this is kind of the great heresy — solved this problem like ten years ago, using digital distribution then doing print collections and also doing advertising and stuff.” [ComicBook.com]
Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
This Sunday, December 12, TNT is giving Leverage fans a holiday treat of new Season 3 episodes. First up is The Ho Ho Ho Job (the December 12 episode, which TNT previewed with this clip, is set to air at 9 PM EST ), followed by the two-hour season finale on December 19. Given that neither myself nor Graeme make it a secret how much we enjoy the show, series co-creator John Rogers was more than happy to answer my questions in a recent email exchange. While I had his attention, we also touched upon his Dungeons & Dragons work for IDW (the column is supposed to be about talking comics at some point, of course [also be sure to check out CBR’s late October 2010 John Rogers interview where he discussed the ongoing comic in greater detail]). One final thing, if you are not a frequent visitor to Rogers’ blog, Kung Fu Monkey, you should be. The man finds a way to make his show’s hate mail worthwhile reading. As for the upcoming episodes, I was hooked at the name Dave Foley.
Tim O’Shea: In this latest batch of new episodes, who of the core cast do we get to delve deeper into their back stories?
John Rogers: We’ve implied for a long time that Christian Kane’s character, Eliot Spencer, did violence professionally for a long time. We get to see him work with his usual moral restraints off … In the second half of the season finale, it’s very Sophie-centric. Not so much her backstory but just a nice bit on her evolution as a character.