Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Creators | Saying his job has become “too much to bear,” cartoonist Renald Luzier (Luz) is leaving the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He said he worked too hard in the aftermath of the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in which 12 people, most of them his co-workers, were killed, and he did not give himself time to grieve. “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down,” he said. However, the loss is taking its toll: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone.” He had previously announced he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying it no longer interested him, and he is tired of the media attention. “We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he said. “Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.” [The Independent]
Toronto Comic Arts Festival organizer Christopher Butcher opened the 2014 show by announcing the “unspoken theme” of that year’s show was spotlighting work by women creators. “Then,” I noted at the time, “Butcher did something truly amazing: He introduced a panel of three women that was not titled ‘Women in Comics.'” This year’s festival continued that theme, showcasing a diverse group of artists and spreading that diversity across the breadth and depth of the show.
In fact, the first thing I noticed when I looked over the schedule was there was no “Women in Comics” or “LGBTQ Comics” panel. There were a couple of more specialized panels — one on gay comics art in Japan, another on older women and comics — but for the most part, the diversity was just sort of there, no further comment needed. The “Art of the Travelogue” panel moderated by my con roommate Johanna Draper Carlson, for instance, featured four women and two men, and it didn’t seem like a particularly big deal until I started to write this article. This may be a watershed in the history of comics events.
Publishing | Paul Kaminski, Archie Comics’ executive director of editorial since 2012, has left the publisher to become an associate editor for DC Comics’ Superman Group. Kaminski joined Archie in 2007, editing such titles as Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man and The New Crusaders. [Twitter]
Museums | The reason the Cartoon Art Museum is vacating its current location is familiar to San Franciscans, says curator Andrew Farago: “The price per square foot is going to more than double, and that’s just not viable for us. The landlords are giving us what considerations they can, but ultimately it’s a business decision.” The museum will remain open in its current location, on Mission Street, until June 28; a new venue has not been found yet. [SFGate]
She launched Templar, Arizona at a time when the webcomics business model was still being hammered out — and a lot of people were still dubious about it. However, Trotman not only made it work, she expanded the scope of what she does, running a Kickstarter for the Poorcraft graphic novel, then curating and publishing the Smut Peddler anthology, which was also funded on Kickstarter. Her small press Iron Circus Comics is now publishing its first creator-owned work, an omnibus edition of EK Weaver’s webcomic The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal, which was just successfully funded on Kickstarter — in fact, the project raised $65,000, far exceeding its goal of $18,500.
This seemed like a good time to talk to Spike about growing her own small press—and what the future holds for Iron Circus.
The era before World War II was known as the Belle Epoque, the Beautiful Age, in France, but that was for the rich. For the poor and the working class, it was a time of harsh conditions and few opportunities, and numerous anarchist groups sprung up amid the disenfranchised. Among them was the Bonnot Gang, ideological criminals whose anarchist principles led them to go on a crime spree in France in 1911-12, robbing banks and stealing from the rich (they were the first bank robbers ever to use a getaway car). The Illegalists is their story.
Or rather, it will be their story if the graphic novel is completed. Right now, writer Stefan Vogel is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to finish it. The artist is Attila Futaki, whose credits include the Image Comics series Severed (written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft) and the second Percy Jackson graphic novel.
Retrofit Comics is extending its early bird sale, allowing readers to subscribe to a full year of their comics for just $65, shipping included.
That includes original single-issue comics by Kate Leth, Olivier Schrauwen and Matt Madden, as well as some up-and-coming creators you probably haven’t heard of … yet. But wait! There’s more! They also throw in a free digital version of each comic (in PDF format) and two free gifts and you can have one of their 2014 comics sent to a friend! If that’s all too much, there’s also a digital-only option for $35.
Retrofit, which publishes single-issue alt-comics, was launched in 2011 by creator Box Brown with initial funding from a Kickstarter campaign. The idea is to allow creators to publish single-issue comics, which Brown sees as an important part of the creative process:
Although he’s long since departed this mortal plane, author H.P. Lovecraft left an indelible mark on people — Ben Templesmith among them.
A noted horror writer and artist in his own right, Templesmith is tackling a graphic novel adaptation of one of Lovecraft’s earliest published works. Just four days after launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project, he’s already raised more than five times his $14,800 goal. In the wake of such overwhelming success, Templesmith has expanded the graphic novel’s size from 48 to 72 pages, and added in a Lovecraft portrait print with any book order.
The couple, who’s owned the store for 33 years, recently learned their lease isn’t being renewed because the physician next door is looking to expand and offered more money. “We weren’t given a choice,” Marsha Giroux told CBS 5. “And, this beautiful store, filled with amazing stuff, is going to be a waiting room for a doctor’s office.”
Last year Bill Finger biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman campaigned unsuccessfully for a Google Doodle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth, but now he’s proposing a more attainable goal: a commemorative bench in Poe Park in The Bronx, New York, honoring the uncredited co-creator of Batman.
In a blog post published Sunday — Finger’s birthday — Nobleman dusts off a Kickstarter proposal he’d written in 2013 that lays out the plan, which calls for $6,000 to install the bench and plaque as part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Adopt-a-Bench program. “If it generates enough enthusiasm here, it might embolden me to launch it immediately!” he writes.
Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, states that the project would not only “help right a wrong,” but also make pop-culture history as “the first memorial honoring a superhero creator in NYC, the Superhero Capital of the World.”
That’s the story of the upcoming comic series Shrinkage, but as you can tell from the title, it has an extra helping of humor. Akin to Tim Burton’s adaptation of Mars Attacks, Shrinkage mixes political humor with anxiety over alien invasion — and it comes from one of the writers of The Daily Show and Conan.
Conventions | With the long-planned expansion of the San Diego Convention Center stalled indefinitely, the Los Angeles Times offers an overview of efforts to keep Comic-Con International in the city past 2016, and what suitors like Los Angeles and Anaheim, California, have to offer. “The proposals we’ve received are pretty amazing,” says Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer. “It’s not an easy decision.” However, the San Diego Tourism Authority remains confident that convention organizers will sign a deal — possibly with a month — to remain in the city through 2018, based on an agreement for nearby hotels to offer their meeting space for Comic-Con programming. (The Tourism Authority has already asked hotels in the Comic-Con room block to freeze their rates at 2015 levels for the next two years.) [Los Angeles Times]
Two decades after the debut of Nocturnals, the fan base for Dan Brereton’s pulpish horror-adventure shows little sign of dwindling.
Case in point: Within days of launching a Kickstarter campaign for Nocturnals: The Sinister Path, Brereton & Co. have surpassed their $30,000 goal by nearly $10,000.
The 64-page graphic novel, described as “the scariest, hard-boiled tale yet told in their saga,” will be released in three editions: a softcover that will also be sold in stores; a limited sketch cover; and a wraparound hardcover with additional content.
Edited by Michael McDermott, it began life in late 2013 as a modest (if eclectic) anthology of sci-fi and fantasy stories seeking funding through Kickstarter. But as interest and pledges increased — the campaign raised nearly triple its goal — so did the number of pages and indie creators, so that what began as a 56-page comic soon became a 160-page collection.
However, the growth didn’t stop there: When McDermott signed a deal to release Imaginary Drugs through IDW, even more creators were brought on board, bringing the edition that arrives Jan. 27 to a whopping 208 pages.
McDermott, who also wrote several of the stories in the anthology, spoke with ROBOT 6 about the genesis of Imaginary Drugs, how he went about recruiting contributors, lessons learned from the Kickstarter campaign, and the benefits of teaming with IDW.
After successfully funding the first two issues of Noir City through Kickstarter, writer Cody Walker is back with a decidedly different project: Everland, a collection of four connected tales set in a dark fantasy world that will likely be familiar.
Walker has collaborated with a different artist on each of the stories: Chris Yarbrough on “Surviving Everland,” in which a fairy kidnaps a boy, who must survive in a jungle; Nate Peters on “The Boy-God Horror,” in which a terrified pirate fights the Boy-God; Ryan Wheaton on “Mermaid Love,” in which a shipwrecked pirate finds unlikely love; and Nathan Judah on “Monster Slayer,” in which an Iroquois girl seeks revenge against a giant crab for the death of her father.
Crowdfunding | Digital Manga Publishing’s recent Kickstarter campaign raised some questions as to the proper role of crowdfunding in publishing. When DMP acquired the rights to all of Osamu Tezuka’s manga that haven’t already been translated into English, CEO Hikaru Sasahara launched an ambitious Kickstarter effort to publish about 400 volumes in just a few years. The campaign raised eyebrows not only because of the large amount of money involved (with stretch goals, it would have been more than half a million dollars) but also because it went beyond the direct costs associated with single volumes to include travel and staffing. That campaign failed, but DMP immediately launched another one that’s closer to the usual model. I interviewed Sasahara and one of his most prominent critics to get both sides of the discussion. [Publishers Weekly]