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Langridge and Samnee reunite for Snarked cover

Chris Samnee and Roger Langridge’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger was a big hit with everyone except its editors, it seems; the kid-friendly version of Thor was cut down in its prime, canceled after only eight issues, despite getting good reviews.

Langridge has moved on to his creator-owned comic Snarked, a light-hearted caper story about two rascals based on Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter—it’s not the most likely topic for a comic, but Langridge makes it work quite nicely. With Snarked #0 in shops now and Snarked #1 due out in October (it’s solicited in the August Previews), it’s time for a bit of Snarked hype, and BOOM! Studios delivered the goods directly to my in-box with a rather breathless press release touting the “special 1:10 Thor: The Mighty Avenger homage variant by fan-favorite Chris Samnee.” The homage is rather indirect, of course, because Thor himself (being the property of Marvel) doesn’t appear on the cover, but glance from this to the cover of TMA #4 and you’ll see the resemblance. Anyway, it’s nice to see Samnee and Langridge together again, even if only for a cover.

Langridge’s interlocking variant covers, which are very handsome indeed, are below the cut.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Spider-Island’ tops sluggish July; BOOM!’s Disney titles end in October

Amazing Spider-Man #666

Publishing | Sales of comic books and graphic novels in July fell 6.17 percent versus July 2010, with dollar sales of comic books sold through Diamond Comic Distributors falling 4.27 percent and graphic novels falling 10.10 percent year-over-year. Unit sales for comics were only down slightly, at .52 percent, which ICv2 points out “indicates that comic book cover prices have in fact declined. The problem is that circulation numbers have not risen enough to make up for the decline in revenue from lower cover prices.” Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man #666, which kicked off the “Spider-Island” event, was the best-selling comic of the month, while League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III Century #2 from Top Shelf topped the graphic novel chart. John Jackson Miller has commentary.

Marvel saw a slight increase in its dollar market share for July when compared to June, while DC’s jumped from 28.03 percent in June to 30.55 percent in July. IDW, the No. 5 publisher in terms of dollar share in June, moved to the No. 3 position in July. The top seven publishers were rounded out by Image, Dark Horse, Dynamite and BOOM! [ICv2]

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You’ve gone digital, Charlie Brown!

In a press release that reads like a parody of corporate press releases, Peanuts Worldwide announced a series of digital initiatives that they hope will develop Peanuts into “a leading global entertainment and multi-media property.” Because it wasn’t before, apparently—just a meaningless jumble of books, television shows, movies, Broadway musical, syndicated newspaper strip, lunchboxes, etc. Verbiage aside, their new initiatives sound pretty cool.

First, there’s a new the Peanuts website, which is very nicely designed and gives you a daily Peanuts strip (the same one that’s in the paper, I’m guessing, but my paper doesn’t get Peanuts) as well as links to Peanuts merchandise, character profiles and video clips, and a page for the Charles M. Schultz museum. It’s a good start, and I hope they continue to add content.

The second part of the push is digital comics and e-books. The first product to launch was Happiness Is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, an original graphic novel published by kaboom!, the kids’ imprint of BOOM! Studios, which is available both in print and digitally via comiXology and a special Peanuts app (not in the iTunes store yet, as far as I could see). There are more original graphic novels on the way.

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SDCC ’11 | BOOM!’s exclusives + booth schedule

BOOM! Studios sent out both their Comic-Con International exclusives and their booth/panel schedule yesterday. They include variant cover editions of Happiness is a Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown, Planet of the Apes (with a movie cover) and Duck Tales. The Duck Tales cover, a “homage” to Nintendo Games, is very tongue-in-cheek, considering many have compared the Kaboom! logo to the Nintendo logo.

They’ll also have Mark Waid and Shannon Wheeler signing, respectively, Definitive Irredeemable Vol. 1 and I Thought You Would Be Funnier. And a lot of other creators. Check out their booth schedule after the jump.

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The Middle Ground #59 | Adding my voice to the hunt

By now, faithful readers of this blog will have read not only an interview with the creator but also a review of Roger Langridge’s new series for kaboom, Snarked. Let me add my voice to the choir on this one: It’s a very, very good comic, indeed. Continue Reading »

Robot Reviews | Snarked #0

Snarked #0
By Roger Langridge
kaboom!

Roger Langride, writer of the Muppet Show comics and Thor: Mighty Avenger, set the bar pretty high when he decided to use Lewis Carroll’s characters, the Walrus and the Carpenter, in his new comic, Snarked. Carroll is a tough act to follow, and there’s a big risk that the new characters will fall flat compared to the original.

Langridge has succeeded admirably, however, in not only making an enjoyable comic but making one in which his story is both an original creation and true to its roots. Carroll’s walrus and carpenter use witty-sounding conversation as misdirection while they lure unsuspecting oysters to their dinner plates. Langridge’s characters, cast as lovable swindlers in some vague past, fast-talk their way into the palace to steal some food from the king’s kitchen, but unlike in the poem, they wind up with empty stomachs after all.

Snarked #0 is a tease, a one-dollar prequel to the series, which launches with issue #1 in October. This comic features an eight-page story, plus some special bonus content—puzzles, a fake diary and newspaper that relate to the story, and all of Carroll’s poems “The Hunting of the Snark” and “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” with the original illustrations.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Roger Langridge

Snarked! #0

Recently I was lucky enough to see a preview of Roger Langridge‘s Snarked! #0, his all ages series for Kaboom where the writer/artist uses Lewis Carroll‘s “Walrus and the Carpenter” poem (from Through the Looking-Glass) as a springboard for his storytelling. For every consumer that railed against the cancellation of Langridge’s Thor: The Mighty Avenger, here’s your chance to support Langridge again. For every pundit and website commenter who opined that Thor would have flourished, had it not been caught in the deluge of Thor titles that dashed any chance of it succeeding, take note.

A quick look at the CBR front page reveals a full court press for every new DC #1 coming our way in September. And we should be covering the DC relaunch, don’ t get me wrong. But I am fearful that some great books coming out around the same time, say this one, for example, are going to get overlooked. Roger Langridge’s Snarked! should not be overlooked. This is the comic that non-comics reading parents are looking for when they wander into a store seeking something to give their kid. This is a fun comic. This is a funny comic. This is an intelligent comic. This is a comic with puzzles, mazes and word searches. This preview issue is only a $1. This is a project that I hope to see on many folks Best of 2011 lists (I know it will be on mine).

Langridge chatted with me briefly in this email interview, and Kaboom was kind enough to give us a preview of Snarked! (provided at the end of our discussion). While the preview is not on sale until August, of course it is in Previews this month, with orders due June 30 [Diamond Code: JUN110963]. I can count on one hand the number of active creators that write and draw as engagingly a story as Langridge. If that does not win you over, the book stars a talking walrus (Wilburforce J. Walrus, as noted by Kaboom: “that’s right, the same Walrus that inspired the Beatles song “I Am the Walrus” is now in Roger Langridge’s merry, mad hands”) for the love of God. Check it out, I think you’ll agree it should be on everyone’s must-read list, no matter your age. To paraphrase Langridge fromthis interview, I hope this project is something that people will want to re-read many times–and if that’s not the definition of a great comic, I don’t know what is.

Tim O’Shea: How long have you been a fan of the work of Lewis Carroll?

Roger Langridge: It’s tempting to say “since I could read”; I’m sure it can’t have been quite that long, but I know I was very, very young when I first read the Alice books. And I’ve gone back and re-read them every couple of years since then, pretty much. They’re that rare thing, books which hit you in one way when you’re a kid, and in a different (yet equally powerful) way when you’re an adult, when you appreciate some of the really black humor and the general pricking of pomposity. They reward repeated re-readings more than most.

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Comics A.M. | Mike Keefe wins Pulitzer; BOOM! loses Classic Disney titles?

From Mike Keefe's portfolio

Awards | Denver Post editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning “for his widely ranging cartoons that employ a loose, expressive style to send strong, witty messages.” Keefe, who joined the Post in 1975, had previously served in the Marines and taught math in college. “I am gobsmacked,” the 64-year-old cartoonist says. “In recent years, the Pulitzer has gone to much younger folks who are newer in the business. I’ve always done pretty classical editorial cartooning. I thought my day had passed.” Comic Riffs has Keefe’s award-winning portfolio. [Denver Post]

Publishing | On the heels of successive announcements that Marvel will publish comics based on Disney’s Pixar and Muppets properties, licenses previously held by BOOM! Studios, comes word that BOOM! has stopped soliciting Classic Disney series like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. However, Diamond’s Previews catalog for July contains listings for the publisher’s titles based on such Disney Afternoon properties as Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and DuckTales. [ICv2.com]

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WonderCon | A round-up of stuff to do and buy at the con

WonderCon

The 25th annual WonderCon kicks off in San Francisco tomorrow, with special guests like Robert Kirkman, Berkeley Breathed, Paul Levitz, Joe Quesada, Frank Quitely, Seth, Bill Sienkiewicz and many more. The show runs through Sunday.

Comic Book Resources will be at the show doing video interviews, covering panels and all that good stuff. From our own team, both Carla Hoffman and myself will be on hand, so watch the main site and the blog for updates all weekend. I’m even on a panel Friday afternoon, which should be a lot of fun.

After the jump I’ve collected all the WonderCon-related items that have hit my in-box or I’ve seen around the web over the last few days, including booth schedules, stuff to buy and all that cool stuff …

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Comics A.M. | Archie #1 sets auction record; more bookstore layoffs

Archie Comics #1

Comics | A copy of Archie Comics #1, published in winter 1942, sold at auction last week for $167,300, setting a world record for an Archie title and a non-superhero comic. “Archie may have a ways to go to catch the likes of Superman and Batman, his Golden Age counterparts,” said Lon Allen, managing director of comics for Heritage Auctions, “but you can bet that collectors sat up and took notice when this comic brought that price. This amount exceeds the priciest of Spidey and Hulk comic books we’ve sold, which brought in excess of $125,000 each.” [Luxist]

Retailing | REDgroup Retail, which owns the Australian booksellers Borders and Angus & Robertson, has laid off 321 employees at the two chains following the closing of 38 stores. The company entered into administration last month. [ABC News]

Retailing | Borders Group has asked a bankruptcy judge for more time to decide whether to assume or reject its 681 leases, including those for 674 stores. If granted, the extension would give the company until Jan. 12, 2012, to deal with its leases. [Detroit Free Press]

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Comics A.M. | Dark Horse CEO on state of industry; BOOM! changes

Mike Richardson

Publishing | In a wide-ranging interview with retail news and analysis site ICv2, Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson discusses the state of the market, the potential impact of Borders’ bankruptcy, digital comics, the decline in manga sales, the success of Troublemaker and more. Of particular note is Richardson’s confirmation that Apple’s stricter enforcement of a prohibition on in-app purchases outside the iTunes store was behind the delay of the planned January launch of Dark Horse’s digital comics program. He also says that Frank Miller is working on the third issue of his 300 prequel Xerxes, which is expected to be “roughly six issues, but he hasn’t exactly decided yet.” [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson provides an overview of recent changes to BOOM! Studios’ kids’ line, from the loss of the Pixar licenses to a new imprint name — changed from BOOM! Kids to kaboom! — to the announcement this week of a Peanuts original graphic novel. “BOOM Kids! was designed to publish children’s comics — kaboom! is designed to be a true all-ages imprint, and for that reason Peanuts is the perfect launch title, the sort of material that adults and kids read alike,” CEO Ross Ritchie said. “Roger Langridge’s Snarked! is along these lines, as is Space Warped and Word Girl.  I put the Word Girl announcement on my wall on Facebook and immediately there were a zillion adults commenting, ‘My child loves this show but I’m buying this comic book for myself!’  The title mix will be broader for kaboom! than it was for BOOM Kids!” [Publishers Weekly]

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Kaboom! picks up Word Girl license

Word Girl

BOOM! Studios has been rolling out announcements all week regarding their rebranded kids comics line. So far they’ve announced Peanuts comics, a new Roger Langridge book and a Star Wars parody.

Today brings word, or at least another image, of another new book — Kaboom! will publish comics based on the PBS show Word Girl.

BOOM! Kids goes Kaboom!, to publish Peanuts comics

Kaboom!

BOOM! Studios has been teasing “BOOM! Kids 2.0″ for awhile now, and earlier today they sent out the above image that denotes a name change for their kid’s line, from BOOM! Kids to Kaboom! They’ve also taken down the BOOM! Kids website and replaced it with the teaser.

That was followed a few hours later with this image:

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