Manga | Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump has announced that One Piece will go on hiatus for the magazine’s next two issues because creator Eiichiro Oda has been hospitalized for a peritonsillar abscess, a complication of tonsillitis. The popular series is expected to return June 10. One Piece, which has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump since 1997, has sold more than 280 million volumes in Japan alone. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly share their thoughts (and sometimes disagree) on their own world, the comics world in general, and digital media. [National Post]
Borrowing a page from Top Cow’s 2012 resurrection of Cyber Force, Rob Liefeld has turned to Kickstarter to help relaunch his 1990s Image Comics series Brigade. His goal is to raise $17,500 in order to offer the first issue for free; in less than 24 hours, he’s already generated $6,775 in pledges.
Debuting in 1992, Brigade was a spinoff of the bestselling Youngblood, featuring a rogue mercenary team led by Battlestone. Following the initial miniseries, it continued as an ongoing for 24 issues, ending in 1995. The property was last resurrected in 2010 as “a complete re-imagining of the original smash series” by the original team of Liefeld and Marat Mychaels, but only one issue was released.
Passings | Silver Age artist Dan Adkins died earlier this month at the age of 76. Adkins, who began with self-published zines before becoming a freelance illustrator, served as Wally Wood’s assistant. As a member of Wood’s studio, he was one of the original artists for T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents. Adkins was a prolific penciller and inker for numerous publishers, from DC Comics and Warren Publishing to Harvey Comics and Marvel, notably drawing 132 covers for the latter. He talked in detail about his career, and working with Wood, in this interview with Alter Ego. [News from ME]
Kickstarter | Jeff Yang analyzes why Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak’s Code Monkey Save World Kickstarter, which started with a single Tweet, was destined for success, and he talks to both creators about how it came to be. [Speakeasy]
Digital comics | Moulinsart, the company that holds the rights to Herge’s works, has released the complete Tintin comics in digital form. The iOS app is free, and it looks like the comics are $5.99 each, which is pretty reasonable. The catch is that they are all in the original French; it doesn’t appear as if translations are available yet. [Idboox]
Passings | Filipino komiks creator Jesse Santos died April 27 at the age of 83. Santos began his career in 1946 as an artist for the first serialized comic in the Philippines, Halakhak, and moved to the U.S. in the 1960s. He drew the sword-and-sorcery character Dragar the Invincible and took over from Dan Spiegle as artist for The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. [Komikero Dot Com]
After teasing fans for a few months, Amy Reeder and Brand Montclare’s Rocket Girl is go for launch.
According to the Kickstarter page, which went live this morning, Rocket Girl is a “teenage cop from a high-tech future” who’s sent back to 1986: “She’s investigating the Quintum Mechanics megacorporation for crimes against time. As she pieces together the clues, she discovers that the ‘future’ — an alternate reality version of 2013 and the place she calls home — shouldn’t exist at all.”
Montclare and Reeder have been on similar flight paths since breaking into comics. They both did their time at Tokyopop before Montclare recruited Reeder to work on Madame Xanadu after he took an editorial position at Vertigo. Last year they re-teamed for a creator-owned one-shot, Halloween Eve, which they used Kickstarter to fund. And now they’ve returned to crowdfunding to finance the production of Rocket Girl, an ongoing series they plan to launch this fall.
I spoke with Montclare and Reeder about Rocket Girl, using Kickstarter to finance their creator-owned works and much more.
For nearly two years, Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett the high-flying adventures of Lady Seneca Sabre in their twice-weekly webcomic, and now they’re looking to bring their special blend of steampunk, magic and the Wild West to print. To that end, the duo has launched a Kickstarter campaign to publish the first five chapters of Lady Sabre & The Pirates of the Ineffable Aether in a 192-page hardcover collection.
Mere hours into the drive and they’re nearly halfway toward the $27,500 they need to pay for their initial 2,000-copy print run, plus shipping, Kickstarter fees, etc. So odds are, this project is going to get funded. Their pledge tiers a pretty reasonable, too, which may help to explain the campaign’s speedy progress; for instance, $30 gets you a copy of the book. Additional incentives include keychains, bookplates, an inscription from Brian Michael Bendis, and dinner at HeroesCon with the creators.
There’s a lot more information on the Kickstarter page. The campaign ends June 5.
Retailing | As the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the Marketplace Fairness Act, Jacob Weisberg looks at how Amazon and Congress have managed to delay online sales taxes for more than a decade, giving online retailers a significant advantage over brick-and-mortar stores. Amazon, which has long fought any attempts to collect sales tax through lobbying, campaign contributions and threats to move to warehouse jobs, now supports the legislation, with Weisberg contending the retail giant “has played out the clock longer than it dared hope and would now like to be able to build warehouses everywhere without doing state-by-state battle over its ‘physical presence.’” The bill seems likely to pass the Senate, but its fate in the House is far less certain. [Slate.com]
Publishing | DC Comics has put together a guide to its graphic novel backlist, which will be available both in print and digitally. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | Singapore cartoonist Leslie Chew was arrested last week on charges of sedition, held over the weekend, and released on S$10,000 bail. His cellphone and computer were also confiscated. The charges stem from two cartoons on Chew’s Demon-cratic Singapore Facebook page. [Yahoo! News Singapore]
Crowdfunding | Chris Sims tells the truly bizarre tale of a crowdfunding scam: Someone copied Ken Lowery and Robert Wilson IV’s Kickstarter campaign for Like a Virus, including the video, and made it into an IndieGoGo campaign, presumably planning to pocket the money and run. [Comics Alliance]
OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way: Kill All Monsters co-creator/writer Michael May is a friend of mine and a fellow contributor to ROBOT 6. Conflict of interest disclosed. Still, I interviewed him about collaboration with artist Jason Copland, which is set to be released in a collected edition (Kill All Monsters: Ruins of Paris) in June from Alterna Comics. He and Copland are in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign (ending May 10), which has already achieved more than 230 percent of its goal $2,500 goal.
In this interview, we discuss the collaborative process on the webcomic/upcoming collection as well as the Kickstarter. My hat is off to May and Copland for writing a great Kickstarter FYI blurb that efficiently describes the project: “Kill All Monsters: Ruins of Paris is the printed first volume of the hit webcomic about monsters and the giant robots that kill them.”
Tim O’Shea: I went into this work assuming it was going to be all giant robots and monsters, but it contains a great deal of human interaction/drama. How early in the development of the project did you realize the story needed that balance?
Michael May: Right away. I’ve never been interested in slugfests for the sake of slugfests. A story has to give readers a reason to care about the people in the fights. If anything, I needed encouragement to make the fights a bigger part of the comic so it wouldn’t just be people talking about fighting monsters. No one — including me — would want to read that, but characters and drama is where my interest always goes first. It’s a tough balance though and one we worked hard at, so hopefully we got close to achieving it.
Last year an enterprising trio of comic creators had an idea for a comic series populated with sky pirates, dusty airships and floating cities. Sounds like a crazy idea, but they’re now going at full speed thanks to a little kickstart.
Coming this June from IDW Publishing, Wild Blue Yonder is created by the uber-talented artist Zach Howard and writers Mike Raicht and Austin Harrison. The story is best summed up by the press release: “When land and sea have become deadly and uninhabitable, the intrepid survivors of ecological disaster must take to the skies; to the Wild Blue Yonder.”
In the comic, the fractured remnants of human civilization fight over the last vestiges of precious resources — both in food and shelter, but also in fuel to keep their vessels aloft and away from the spoiled ground below. The largest and most enviable on Earth is an airship called the Dawn that runs on a combination of solar, hydrogen and magnetic energy — making it untethered from the needs of fuel that other platforms need to say afloat. With that, the Dawn is a prized commodity, not just for its owners and inhabitants, but for any of the more scurrilous lot left living on this planet — namely, pirates. But the one thing standing between humanity’s best hope of survival and certain doom is a female pilot named Cola, and her dog Critter.
Announced last year at Comic-Con International, Wild Blue Yonder used Kickstarter to raise more than $16,000 for the creators to devote their time exclusively to finishing their project in a timely manner. Unlike most creator-owned work, where creators only see money months or sometimes years after the book is published, Wild Blue Yonder utilized Kickstarter to mitigate that financially precarious scenario and devote the much-needed time to finish the five issues in a relatively short time.
IDW has provided an extensive preview of the first issue, which arrives June 12. If you’re interested in more, CBR interviewed Raicht in November.
Awards | Online voting is open through April 30 for the sixth annual Inkwell Awards, which recognize excellence in comic-book inking. The winners will be announced during a ceremony at HeroesCon, held June 7-9 in Charlotte, North Carolina. [Inkwell Awards]
Comics | On the website of the conservative Media Research Center, Kristine Marsh and Matt Philbin accuse DC Comics and Marvel of having a “homosexual agenda”: “Like the rest of American pop culture, comic books have increasingly included pro-gay propaganda pieces aimed at the children and young adults who read them.” [Media Research Center]
Publishing | Image Comics provided the retail news and analysis website ICv2 with worldwide pre-order figures for 15 of its March titles, allowing for comparison with estimates of Diamond Comic Distributors sales to U.S. direct market stores. [ICv2.com]
Creators | Mark Waid pens a tribute to the late Carmine Infantino. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez distinguishes between autobiography and art in his new graphic novel, Marble Season, which takes on a 1960s suburban childhood not unlike his own. [Chicago Reader]
Why should Emily and the Strangers, the band formed in the current Dark Horse miniseries by the perpetually 13-year-old Emily the Strange, be restricted to comics? As far as creator Rob Reger is concerned, it shouldn’t be. And so he’s launched a Kickstarter campaign to make Emily and her band real.
Reger plans to create an animated Emily and the Strangers single — the first release from Emily’s record label Strangerous — in collaboration with John King (Dust Brothers, Beck, Tenacious D), Money Mark (Beastie Boys) and Chantal Claret (Morningwood) and animators Ghostbot Studios. If all goes according to plan, the animated single will be officially release in July at Comic-Con International.
There’s just one hitch: Reger needs $55,000 to make it happen (be breaks down where the money will go on the Kickstarter page). To help reach that goal, he’s offering rewards likes passes to the animation screening, Kickstarter-exclusive posters, vinyl singles, signed original artwork, video chats and more. The Kickstarter campaign ends May 11.
I walked into MoCCA Arts Fest a few minutes after it opened, with my friend Erica Friedman, and we noticed the difference right away: The last two shows have had an improvised, “Let’s have a comics show! We can use my father’s barn!” kind of feeling. They weren’t disorganized, exactly, and the talent has always been top-notch, but the show floor felt crowded, cluttered, and confusing.
This was the first year that the Society of Illustrators was running the event. Organizers had a lot to prove, and they proved it. The show felt professional. The aisles were wider. A very simple addition — a bright red backdrop that ran behind the tables — made a huge difference, giving visitors more focus and eliminating the distraction of looking out across that cavernous space. The red curtains also set off a small gallery at the back of the armory that featured original comics art from the Society’s collection, a gentle reminder that they have been welcoming comics creators for more than 100 years. Visitors could buy a slick, nicely produced catalog for $5, and there was a modest cafe downstairs, a pleasant addition that allowed friends who met at the show to sit down and have a bite and a chat without disrupting the experience too much.