Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Passings | Eisner Hall of Fame nominee Fred Kida has died at the age of 93. Kida was an active comics artist for almost 50 years; he got his start drawing Airboy for Hillman Comics in about 1940 and went on to work for Lev Gleason and then Marvel. He assisted Will Eisner occasionally on The Spirit and also drew a number of newspaper strips, including Flash Gordon and The Amazing Spider-Man. “He was a good, dependable artist who drew beautiful women, handsome heroes and some of the ugliest villains in comics,” said Mark Evanier. [News from ME]
Publishing | ICv2 has a two-part interview with Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci, who has plenty to say about variant covers, the launch of Twilight Zone and Legenderry, their Gold Key properties, and what’s coming in the year ahead. [ICv2]
Comics sales | ICv2 unpacks February’s miserable direct market sales numbers a bit, noting that for the second month in a row just one comic — in this case, Batman #28 — sold more than 100,000 copies, indicating weakness at the top of the list. Since September 2011, when the most recent “growth spurt” began, at least two comics have sold more than 100,000 copies each month; however, that streak ended with the first two months of 2014. One cause of the poor sales may be the unusually cold winter, which meant higher heating bills and thus less disposable income for some folks. ICv2 also has a separate analysis of dollar sales and the charts of the top 300 comics and graphic novels of the month. [ICv2]
Neil Gaiman, Torchwood and Arrow star John Barrowman and Futurama voice actors Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom and David Herman will be among the presenters at the 25th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony, held July 19 during Comic-Con International in San Diego.
They’ll be joined by talk-show host and comics writer Jonathan Ross, TV host Chris Hardwick, artist (and nominee) Becky Cloonan, writer/artist Bill Morrison, Hall of Fame cartoonist Sergio Aragonés and promised “special surprises.” This year’s title sponsor is Syfy.
Doors will open to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom at 7:45 p.m., with the Eisner Awards ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. Advance seating will start at 7 p.m. for nominees, sponsors, presenters and attendees with pro badges. Everyone who attends the ceremony will receive a graphic novel from the Will Eisner Library, published by DC Comics.
In addition to the 30 Eisner categories, other presentations will include the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award and the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.
The Columbus College of Art & Design has announced the schedule for its first-ever comics symposium, Mix 2012. The event is highlighted by a keynote event with Chris Ware, as well as a rare screening, two exhibitions ,and a comics-making marathon for CCAD students.
While the symposium is primarily held Oct. 3-6, there are several events occurring around it, such as a Maus roundtable discussion on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and a three-week gallery exhibit starting Sept. 21 that showcases original artwork from Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth.
Thursday night features a screening of the acclaimed BBC Four documentary by Jonathan Ross, In Search of Steve Ditko, which has rarely been shown in the United States (outside of YouTube, that is). There’s also an open house at Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, where the public will be able to dive into the largest and most comprehensive academic research facility of printed cartoon and comics art. How many opportunities have you had to examine original art from Jeff Smith’s Bone, Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes, Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland, the work of P. Craig Russell, and more?
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Chris Williams, editor of the web series The Variants.
To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:
• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”
• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.
• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.
Titan Magazines has released a teaser video for CLiNT Magazine, its new monthly venture with writer Mark Millar. Announced in May, the 100-page publication is set to debut in September in the United Kingdom with a mix of interviews, features about movies, television and video games, as well as four serialized comics. The premiere issue will include the debut of the Kick-Ass sequel, Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall.
Retailing | Well-regarded Brooklyn retailer Rocketship, whose owners confirmed just last week had closed after five years, apparently has reopened. However, it’s unclear whether that’s only temporary.
An update posted yesterday on the store’s blog reads: “Rocketship is currently open again for business. We apologize for any inconvenience over the past few weeks.” C0-owner Alex Cox had attributed the closing primarily to the end of the store’s five-year lease: “Five years went by fast, and my partner and I are suddenly making some large life decisions about what comes next. We love the shop, and as fun as it is, we have to figure out what makes sense for us on a practical level.” Cox posted yesterday on Twitter that, “Rocketship is back open for a bit; vacation is over, time to sell some books!.” [Rocketship]
Retailing | Gary Warth spotlights local comic-store owners about Comic-Con International, from the first-time exhibitors to the veterans — some of whom don’t view the event as a moneymaker. “All I ever did was just make enough to pay for next year,” said former retailer Tom Piper. […] At the ‘Con,’ there was so much competition. I did the best I could.” [North County Times]
Publishing | Stanley Pignal takes a look at the transformation of the Tintin brand since the death of Hergé in 1983, as the cartoonist’s widow Fanny Vlamynck and her husband Nick Rodwell drastically changed merchandising strategies. In the process, the prickly Rodwell has become a controversial figure, running afoul of fans and journalists alike in his effort to exert control over Tintin’s image.
Of particular interest is a brief profile of Bob Garcia, a novelist and fan who published a series of books examining Hergé’s possible inspirations for Tintin. Garcia believed he could legally reproduce a few copyrighted illustrations for the purpose of critique, but Moulinsart saw things differently: The writer is now fighting to keep his home as penalties and legal fees mount. [Financial Times]
Crime | Danny Wayne Barton, owner of Kryptonite Komics in Carbon Hill, Alabama, was arrested Thursday after he allegedly sold marijuana to police informants on four separate occasions. Three of those incidents reportedly occurred in Barton’s shop, which also sells smoking devices as the Good Karma Store. The 38-year-old retailer faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison on four counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance within a three-mile radius of a school. [Daily Mountain Eagle]
Last summer we learned that Jonathan Ross, the host of the BBC’s Friday Night, will team with artist Tommy Lee Edwards on a new series for Image Comics called Turf. Today we’re really excited to give you your first look at the cover to the first issue, courtesy of the fine folks at Image Comics. And here’s the description of the comic, courtesy of Jonathan Ross himself:
A 4 issue hard boiled noir crime thriller with girls, guns, fangs and aliens.
New York, 1929. The height of prohibition. The cops turn a blind eye while the mobs run the city, dealing in guns, girls and illegal liquor. But the arrival of the mysterious Dragonmir Family from Eastern Europe with more of a taste for blood then booze coincides with a series of brutal attacks on the gangsters themselves. As the gangs fall before the fangs, only a handful of mobsters survive. But an unlikely alliance formed between tough guy Eddie Falco and a character from a LONG way from New York City – a long way from Earth, in fact – offers the humans a glimmer of hope. As the strong-willed young reporter Susie Dale from the Gotham Herald tries to survive in the middle of the maelstrom, and an ancient prophecy unfolds, no one can guess who’s going to win the battle for this particular slice of Turf.