How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
You’ll recall that on June 30 — a date that undoubtedly will be celebrated by future generations as a national holiday — American company MegaBots boldly challenged Japan to a giant-robot battle. Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry accepted, but promptly raised the stakes, demanding full-on hand-to-hand combat. Now MegaBots needs some help to make that happen.
The company, which specializes in creating giant piloted fighting robots, has launched a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to pay for upgrades to its 12,000-pound, 15-foot MegaBot Mark II. Sure, it can already fire 3-pound paint cannonballs at speeds of 100 miles per hour, but it needs more. This is America, after all!
Comics | Novelist Jonathan Lethem is the guest editor for this year’s Best American Comics collection, the first to come from outside the comics realm. Series editor Bill Kartalopoulos says he was “amazing”: “He clearly knows a lot about comics and cartooning. His novels draw on his lifelong love of comic books, he’s written Omega the Unknown for Marvel, and he’s more than familiar with the historical and contemporary landmarks in comics. But as someone who’s not ‘from’ the comics field he brings an entirely fresh perspective to the material from the past year that we considered for the book. He doesn’t bring any baggage to the table about who ‘should’ be included in this volume based on status or popularity or currency. Comics can be so insular sometimes, so we’re lucky to have this kind of attention from someone like Jonathan.” [Publishers Weekly]
The comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a new edition of the manga Barefoot Gen for distribution to libraries, schools and individual readers.
Barefoot Gen is a partially fictionalized account of creator Keiji Nakazawa’s experiences during the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. Nakazawa, who was six years old at the time, was walking to school when the bomb was dropped. The woman who was walking with him was killed instantly, and his father, brother and sister died when their burning house collapsed on them — in front of his mother, who managed to escape; she gave birth that day to a baby who died a few days later.
Creators | Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto isn’t getting the break he was looking forward to, although he was finally able to take his honeymoon, more than 10 years after his wedding. At a preview of Boruto: The Naruto Movie, he talked about moving from the hit manga, which ended its 15-year run last fall, to working on the movie: “I had thought that I could finally rest when I finished the manga series, but I couldn’t rest …” His own son is the same age as Boruto, the protagonist of the new movie (and Naruto’s son). And when asked about a sequel, he said, “I can’t. Please let me rest now,” adding that he thought Boruto was “perfect.” The movie will open on Aug. 7 in Japan and Oct. 10 in the United States. [Anime News Network]
In less than two years, starting in September 2013, Matt Bors built up The Nib into one of the best comics sites on the internet, with a stellar roster of creators and a curated selection of short comics that offered profound insights into current issues. This was achieved with a combination of talent and money: Host site Medium paid Bors to edit the site and gave him a budget to pay contributors. This made it a significant player in the field of online and indy comics.
And then it all ended a few weeks ago with a vague post from Bors saying that The Nib would be changing, although it was not clear to what.
Well, now it has become clear: Bors has taken The Nib with him, and his first initiative is a Kickstarter campaign to produce a print volume, Eat More Comics! The Best of The Nib, with a lineup of creators that includes Josh Neufeld, Kate Leth, Sarah Glidden, and Erika Moen. The Kickstarter has a goal of $45,000, which covers not only production costs but also compensating the creators for the republication of their comics. The plan is to have the books out by Small Press Expo in September.
And then? Bors says in his post on Medium that he has reassembled his editorial team and has plans to do more online and print comics in the future.
Graphic novels | The 70th volume of Naruto topped the June BookScan graphic novel charts, followed by Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and the 23rd volume of The Walking Dead. The rise up the chart by Bechdel’s celebrated 2006 memoir can probably be chalked up to its musical adaptation, which opened in January on Broadway and earned five Tony Awards. [ICv2]
Conventions | Lisa Halverstat rounds up some facts about Comic-Con International, including the number of attendees at the first Comic-Con (100), the number of scheduled events (2,040) and the amount of money con-goers are expected to spend in San Diego ($80.4 million, or $619 per person). [Voice of San Diego]
Margaret Atwood wrote some of the best literary works of the modern era, both in terms of feminist novels and essays and in terms of all-around fascinating and engaging tales from multiple genres. So, news of Atwood contributing to an all-female anthology aimed at “geek girls” and consisting of non-fiction tales and comic strips about dating, love and sex comes as a really pleasant exciting surprise. But what’s even more surprising and exciting is the fact that Atwood won’t be contributing a prose piece: she’ll be drawing a comic strip.
Legal | Mohammed Moghini, the attorney for jailed Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, has been arrested for shaking his client’s hand. (According to this Pakistani source, the official charge is “fornication.”) Held at Rajai Shahr Prison, his bail has been set at about $7,000. This presents a potential problem for Farghadani, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for drawing a cartoon “insulting” the country’s Parliament and leader, as she has only a limited time to appeal that sentence, and now her attorney is behind bars. [The Daily Cartoonist]
In its first crowdfunding case, the Federal Trade Commission has taken legal action against the developer of a board game who raised more than $122,000 on Kickstarter but failed to deliver a product.
Erik Chevalier of The Forking Path Co. launched a fundraising campaign in 2012 for The Doom That Came to Atlantic City, a lighthearted Lovecraftian board game created independently by industry veterans Lee Moyer and Keith Baker. With pledge incentives that included original art, pewter playing pieces and an afternoon of hosted gaming, the Kickstarter effort rocketed past its original $30,000 goal.
Fans of John Layman and Rob Guillory’s Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Image Comics series “Chew” have successfully backed a Kickstarter campaign for a Tony Chu mini-bust — and there’s still time for more.
Designed by Guillory and Israel Skelton and sculpted by Derek Hallett, the mini-bust stands over seven inches tall and features Tony emerging from a can of beets with his gun drawn, ready for FDA action.
Creators | Daniel Clowes talks about Eightball, his hate mail, and the Shia LaBeouf affair: “I mean, I don’t hold a grudge. I don’t think about it that much. But I don’t think what he did was really forgivable. I don’t know that it matters that much if he’s apologizing or whatever. I just hate the idea of anybody doing that to some young artist who couldn’t hire legal representation. I’m sort of the one guy who could deal with something like that, and it would be really possible for somebody with his amount of money and power to just crush some poor young artist if that happened to them, and I would hate to see that. So I don’t think it’s something that needs to be forgiven; I think it’s something that always needs to be thought of as just a horrible thing to do.” [Vulture]
Just two days after its launch, the Kickstarter campaign for the role-playing game based on The Sixth Gun has already exceeded its $5,000 goal by more than $24,000.
According to Oni Press, the publisher of the supernatural Western series by Cullen Bunn, Brian Hurtt and Bill Crabtree, the effort has surpassed $27,000 within the first 24 hours.
Few Kickstarter pitch videos are genuinely funny, but the one created by longtime collaborators Craig Rousseau and Todd Dezago for their new Perhapanauts campaign is one of them. Maybe that’s why they’re nearly halfway to their $15,000 goal just a day after the launch. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a Chupacabra puppet and an artist in a bear suit …
After a decade of releasing Perhapanauts first through Dark Horse and then Image Comics, Dezago and Rousseau are returning to self-publishing for the 64-page graphic novel The Perhapanauts: Into Hollow Earth, which continues the adventures of the operatives of Bedlam — taking them inside the Earth itself.
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.