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The five best announcements from Image Expo

fade out2In three short years, Image Comics has turned Image Expo into the first big comics event of the year. Interest in the publisher’s announcements has reached the point where I wish there were live-streaming video of the presentation. Maybe next year. For now, we have to settle with live coverage, which was still pretty fun. Image Expo didn’t disappoint: It seemed as if every title announced caught my interest. There are a few that stand out, however, so here are my Top 5 picks of the announcements that went above and beyond.

1. Image signs Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips to a five-year exclusive contract

The acclaimed collaborators have a perpetual green light at Image to do whatever they want for the next five years. That’s a big vote of confidence, and a real commitment to support Brubaker and Phillips. It must be quite a relief for them to not have to worry about crafting the perfect pitch and convincing someone to believe in their story. They just get to create. It’s an exciting arrangement, and one I hope will serve as a pilot program for others equally worthy.

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DeConnick, Schiti show off their workspaces

workspaces

Ever wonder what comic book creators’ workspaces look like? Look no further — For The Bl0g has posted workspace photos from Captain Marvel writer Kelly Sue DeConnick and upcoming Mighty Avengers artist Valerio Schiti that bring a little insight into where the comic book magic happens.

DeConnick’s workspace is decorated by numerous pieces of art and Captain Marvel pieces with organizational cabinets and shelves to spare, while Schiti’s features a tablet, cube bookshelves and many different Spider-Man pieces all over. It’s certainly interesting to see where comic creators work — and even more interesting to see what kind of comics populate their bookshelves.

For the Bl0g also posted a photo of Leinil Yu’s workspace, which the artist revealed on his tumblr in 2012.

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First Ms. Marvel shirts appear on WeLoveFine.com

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Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has been “curating” T-shirts for the site WeLoveFine.com for awhile now, donating her commissions from each sale to the Girls Leadership Institute. This week she added two new shirts, which are most likely the first licensed merchandise for Kamala Khan, a.k.a. the new Ms. Marvel who will appear in her own book in February.

“We definitely wanted to get more Kamala Khan stuff up before her first issue hits,” said WeLoveFine’s Nicole Campos. “Excitement about her has been huge, and we think fans will be really stoked to represent!”

The Ms. Marvel shirt is available in both men and women’s sizes, as is the teaser image from Captain Marvel #17, where Kamala Khan first debuted.

Exclusive | DeConnick adapts ‘Barbarella’ for Humanoids

barbarella coverHumanoids Inc. has big plans for 2014. In addition to releasing The Incal material never before published in the United States, the company will debut a new edition of the racy Barbarella adapted by Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly writer Kelly Sue DeConnick.

That book will be joined by a trio of other releases to make the coming year a standout for the publisher; ROBOT 6 has an exclusive preview of the upcoming titles.

For the uninitiated, Barbarella was a popular science fiction comic strip by Jean-Claude Forest that debuted in 1962, when it played a significant role in the sexual revolution of the era. It was adapted into the cult-classic movie starring Jane Fonda, and is reportedly in development as a television series.

Using a previously existing translation, DeConnick will update the script for a modern sensibility, and gear it closer to the provocative tone of the original version.

The new year will also give us a prequel to The Metabarons, the classic series created by Alexandro Jodorowsky and Moebius. Jodorowsky is joined by Das Pastoras (Deadpool, Wolverine) for Metabarons Genesis: Castaka starting in March.

The line-up is filled out with two promising new titles for U.S. readers: Sam Timel and Corentin’s Milan K is a political thriller series in the spirit of The Bourne Identity; and Christian Durieux brings the lighthearted Benito Mambo, a magical tale about a kid who just wants to dance.

Read on for the full details and an exclusive look at the art:

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Talking Comics with Tim | Matteo Buffagni on ‘Avengers Assemble’

Some color samples  that Matteo Buffagni provided while discussing his design of Toxie Doxie's costume

Some color samples that Matteo Buffagni provided while discussing his design of Toxie Doxie’s costume

Wednesday sees artist Matteo Buffagni teaming with co-writers Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis on Avengers Assemble #22, a tie-in to Marvel’s “Inhumanity” event. In addition to chatting about that, Buffagni was kind enough to share a glimpse into his design process for June Covington/Toxie Doxie’s new costume, revealed at the end of Avengers Assemble #21.

Tim O’Shea: For those unfamiliar with your career, how long have been working in comics?

Matteo Buffagni: I’ve been working at Marvel since 2010, when I started on X-23 then jumped on Daken, Ultimate Iron Man: The Demon in the Armor, Astonishing X-Men and now Avengers Assemble.

Before those assignments I attended the International School of Comics in Florence and worked on a couple of French books called Vestiges.

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Comics A.M. | Smart’s ‘Fish-Head Steve’ shortlisted for Roald Dahl prize

Fish-Head Steve

Fish-Head Steve

Awards | Jamie Smart’s Fish-Head Steve has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the first comic to make the list in the six-year history of the award. The prize recognizes the funniest book for children in two age categories, and the final judges will be 200 children from schools around the United Kingdom. [Forbidden Planet]

Comics | Eric Margolis reports on the difficulties U.K. creator Darren Cullen had in getting his Kickstarter-funded comic (Don’t) Join the Army printed. The format was unusual, so some shops simply couldn’t do it, but printers also took exception to the comic itself, which was an “anti-recruitment leaflet” satirizing the British army. [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]

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Retailer apologizes for ripping up copy of ‘Pretty Deadly’ #1

Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

A retailer who last week ripped a copy of Pretty Deadly #1 in half in front of customers, triggering heated online reaction as well as responses from Image Comics and writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, has apologized for his actions.

“A small group of long time customers who know me well asked me what I really thought of the book,” Steven LeClaire, owner Comics Ink in Culver City, California, explained in a post on the Bleeding Cool forum (it was deleted and made into a standalone article). “For dramatic effect, I ripped a copy of the book after giving my review. I personally found the book lacking a coherent storyline and the art too muddy to follow. That was my opinion. The book was still on the shelves for sale for all those who wanted it. I made a mistake of thinking I was having a private talk with a small group of friends. I apologize for my actions.”

The incident was first mentioned Thursday by CBR columnist Hannibal Tabu in “The Buy Pile,” where he wrote that he agreed with the retailer’s assessment of the issue — by DeConnick, Emma Rios, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles — although he didn’t mention LeClaire by name. Word of the comic’s destruction quickly spread online, with Zero writer Ales Kot questioning whether the act was prompted merely by “anger about the product, or also by misogyny,” and leading Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson to offer to take back the remaining copies of Pretty Deadly #1 from Comics Ink and have Diamond Comic Distributors cancel orders for subsequent issues.

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DeConnick says ‘Pretty Deadly’/Comics Ink controversy ‘is not the story’

prettydeadly

Photo provided by Hannibal Tabu.

Thursday’s installment of CBR’s long-running (and infamously blunt) review column “The Buy Pile” attracted more controversy than usual when writer Hannibal Tabu described the retailer at his local comic book store — Comics Ink in Culver City, just outside LA city limits — tearing up a copy of Image’s Pretty Deadly #1 in front of customers. Tabu made it know that he also had a negative take on the issue, calling it “remarkable in its rough hewn, unfinished looking art, drifting narrative and tedium.”

The incident as reported quickly took a life of its own, with sites like Bleeding Cool and Multiversity Comics weighing in on the situation, and industry professionals discussing and debating the topic; including Secret Avengers and Zero writer Ales Kot asking if the destruction was prompted by “anger about the product, or also by misogyny” given that three of the four main creative forces on the book — writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, penciler and inker Emma Rios and colorist Jordie Bellaire — are female (letter Claytown Cowles is male).

DeConnick remained silent on the issue until Friday, in a Tumblr post titled, “The Only Statement I Will Make On The Matter.” In it, the writer says she first found humor in getting a negative review in The Buy Pile, viewing it as something of a rite of passage: “I literally laughed out loud. Hey! I got jumped in!”

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NYCC ’13 | C is for ‘Cookie,’ while ‘T’ is for ‘T-shirt’

nycc-shirts

Conventions are always a great place to see creators and celebrities, but it’s rare that you’re given the opportunity to meet a Muppet. At New York Comic Con, Cookie Monster — and his “assistant” David Rudman — will appear Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon and from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the WeLoveFine booth (#1836), where you can also buy an exclusive NYCC steampunk Cookie Monster shirt.

Cookie Monster isn’t the only special guest appearing at their booth:

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Comics A.M. | For Banned Books Week, a look at ‘corrupting’ comics

From "Superboy" #2 (1949)

From “Superboy” #2 (1949)

History | Michael Dooley celebrates Banned Books Week with a look at the comics singled out by Dr. Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent as particularly corrupting of our youth; Dooley juxtaposes scans of the pages with Werthem’s commentary. [Print]

Creators | Lynda Barry is now an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) as well as the UW-Madison Department of Art; she was an artist in residence at the university last year. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]

Creators | Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell talk about their involvement in the graphic novel March. [Free Comic Book Day]

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media expanding into India; the Avengers at 50

Naruto, Vol. 62

Naruto, Vol. 62

Publishing | Viz Media, the largest U.S. publisher of English-language manga, is poised to jump in to a new market: India. Kevin Hamric, the company’s director of publishing and marketing, was there this week, and he says the demand is there. “With India’s growing book and reading sector we have identified it as key to our growth,” Hamric says. “We receive many, many requests each and every month from fans in India to bring our product here.” [The Hindu Business Line]

Comics | As the Avengers turn 50, Noel Murray recounts their history and explains why they work so well as a super-team. [Hero Complex]

Conventions | The founder of this month’s incredibly successful Salt Lake Comic Con — it drew about 70,000 attendees in its first year — is planning a spinoff event for Jan. 9-11, the weekend before the Sundance Film Festival. [Salt Lake Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Salt Lake con’s success reignites mega-hotel talk

salt lake comic con logoConventions | The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con, which sold 50,000 tickets in advance of the Sept. 5-7 event and reportedly drew an additional 20,000 attendees, has rekindled discussion about a new mega-hotel in downtown Salt Lake City Utah. The proposed $350 million project, which would have been funded in part with tax dollars, was narrowly defeated by the state legislature in March. [Fox 13 News]

Creators | Art Spiegelman talks about his life and work, touching on writing vs. art, how Maus came into being, and his lack of depth perception: “I don’t really see stereo, so it’s not good for getting in and out of cars, but when I draw something, it looks real.” [NPR]

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What would Kelly Sue DeConnick do? Sends girls to camp

WWCMD?WeLoveFine.com recently debuted a new Captain Marvel shirt featuring the heroine punching a dinosaur with the slogan “WWCMD?” — What Would Captain Marvel Do? — beneath it. But maybe it should have read, “WWKSDD?”

Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly writer Kelly Sue DeConnick began curating a T-shirt collection at WeLoveFine.com a few months ago, bringing the world several Captain Marvel-themed shirts as well as those Fake Geek Girl tops for guys. She donated her commissions from each sale to the Girls Leadership Institute.

In the four or so months since DeConnick started doing this, not only has she become the top-selling partnership for the site, but her donations have enabled the institute to provide room and board for one summer camper. “I’m reeling, you guys,” she wrote on her blog. “I could not ask for a better birthday present. Thank you. I’m so proud of you I could pop.”

You can find an interview with DeConnick about the charity and her day job on the charity’s website. “Why did I want to support you work? Because … because I think you’re doing something special and I want as many girls as possible to have access to your programs. Because I want a more positive experience of coming into womanhood for my daughter than the one I had,” she told them. Much more at the link.

SDCC ’13 | A roundup of pre-convention news

robotech-voltronPreview Night doesn’t begin for another 11 hours, but judging from the flurry of announcements, Comic-Con International has been well under way since, oh, about Monday. So, if it feels like you’re already falling behind, that’s because you probably are.

To help you catch up, we’ve rounded up early news from DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Madefire and Marvel, along with a few other convention-related items.

• Dynamite Entertainment came out of the gate running this week with news that Steve Niles and Dennis Calero will reboot Army of Darkness, James Robinson will launch his crime romance Grand Passion, the Legends of Red Sonja miniseries will team Gail Simone with an all-female creative team that includes Marjorie M. Liu, Nancy A. Collins, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mercedes Lackey, Nicola Scott and Devin Grayson, Peter Milligan will debut his sci-fi action series Terminal Hero, Duane Swiercyznski will expand the publisher’s crime line with Ex-Con, Howard Chaykin will return to The Shadow with the miniseries Midnight in Moscow, NBC’s Heroes will get a “fifth season” in a series written by Cullen Bunn, the acquisition of the Robotech license spawns a Robotech/Voltron crossover, and The Heart of the Beast, the graphic novel by Dean Motter, Judith Dupré and Sean Phillips, will receive a 20th-anniversary prestige-format edition.

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‘Fake Geek Girl’ tees (for guys), Cypress and Suburbia designs

fake-geek-girl3

It’s been, oh, about six months since the last “fake geek girls” flare-up, but no matter when the next argument erupts, WeLoveFine.com has you covered.

Showcased in the T-shirt collection curated by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick are two designs made especially for (in her words) “Male-Type-Guy-Dudes.”

“Look. Here’s the deal: you’re not fooling anyone. We know you’re not Geek Girls. (Your unsightly stubble and Adam’s apples give you away.),” DeConnick writes. “It’s okay. We understand. Being a Geek Girl is a pretty fabulous thing. We get it and love you for your aspiration. But the thing is, you’re not a Geek Girl … because you’re a guy. So quit pretending and learn to love yourself for who you are.”

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