Writer Mark Andrew Smith has penchant for getting young heroes into trouble. He did it in 2005 with The Amazing Joy Buzzards, and again in 2009 with The New Brighton Archeological Society. In 2011, he expanded on that by casting a group of kids as villains-in-training for his Image series Gladstone’s School for World Conquerors. But after that title went on hiatus at the end of last year, readers didn’t know where, how or if that story would continue.
But after talking to Smith earlier this week, we can confirm there’s more … lots more.
The Black Coat creator Ben Lichius hopes to see his Colonial super-spy ride again, with some help from Kickstarter. If the name sounds familiar, that’s probably because The Black Coat has appeared in a pair of miniseries and a 52-page special dating back to 2006 and featuring the talents of such artists as Francesco Francavilla, Gabriel Hardman and Dean Kotz.
In a nutshell, The Black Coat is about Nathaniel Finch, a New York City newspaper editor and budding scientist who, in the days before the American Revolution, dons a mask to protect the Colonies from the British — and the forces of the occult. And now, Finch is back in a 66-page graphic novel called The Blackest Dye, from Lichius, Kotz and colorist Diego Rodriguez, which picks up where the 2009 miniseries Or Give Me Death left off. “The new book promises lots of twists and turns, backstabbing, sword fights, New York in flames, new mysterious monsters,” Lichius promises. “… and, oh yeah, George Washington!”
Comics | The Dundee, Scotland, city council has approved a proposal by publisher DC Thomson to name a street in the city’s west end to honor the Bash Street Kids, stars of the long-running comic strip in The Beano. Dundee already has statues honoring comic characters Desperate Dan and Minnie the Minx. [BBC News]
Comics | Laura Sneddon continues the New Statesmen’s week-long series on comics with a look at children’s comics in the U.K., including the digital relaunch of The Dandy, the continuing popularity of The Beano (which sells a respectable 30,000 copies per week) and the new kid on the block, The Phoenix. [New Statesman]
Creators Alex Grecian, Jeremy Haun, B. Clay Moore and Seth Peck have launched a Kickstarter campaign forBad Karma, a 200-page anthology featuring comic-book stories, prose and illustrations by those four and their collaborators.
The assembled talent is impressive indeed, working on five main stories: “Middleton” by Grecian and Phil Hester; “Chaos Agent” by Haun and Mike Tisserand; “Old Dog” by Moore and Christopher Mitten; “Hellbent” by Peck and Tigh Walker; and “The Ninth Life of Solomon Gunn” written by Grecian, Haun, Moore and Peck, and illustrated by Haun. These strips, all stylistically different and set in various time periods, all threaten to coalesce into a larger narrative: “Each of these concepts is separate from one another, designed to stand on their own, but there are subtle threads that run through each. One of these threads is the presence of the Kraken Corporation, a mysterious organization whose activities play a part (whether large or small) in each story.”
I talked Monday with writer Dara Naraghi about his Kickstarter campaign for his new graphic novel Persia Blues, which will be published by NBM next summer; the book is done, and the Kickstarter is to pay his artist Brent Bowman. In addition to the campaign, we also spoke about the genesis of the book and the creative process, and I decided that part of the interview would be more at home at Robot 6. To accompany this part of the conversation, Dara has sent along some exclusive art from Persia Blues, which is set in two eras and drawn in two different styles.
Robot 6: Let’s start with the elevator pitch: What is this story about?
Dara Naraghi: At its very core, Persia Blues is the story of a smart, independent young woman trying to define herself and her place in the world, in the face of family obligations and societal pressures. More broadly, I’ve been describing the book like this: Minoo Shirazi is a rebellious young Iranian woman, struggling to define herself amidst the strict social conventions of an oppressive regime, and the differing wishes of an overbearing father. Minoo Shirazi is also a free-spirited adventurer in a fantasy world, a place where aspects of modern America and ancient Persia meld into a unique landscape.
And yet, neither of these women are the true Minoo Shirazi.
On her journey(s) of self-discovery, she will encounter diverse elements from Iran’s rich culture and history, both real and mythological, and eventually solve the mystery of her world(s).
Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le, the duo behind the Batman: Nightwing fan film that made the rounds over the summer, are now hoping expand upon the adventures of Dick Grayson with a three-part web series called, appropriately enough, Nightwing: The Series. To that end, they’ve teamed with Las Vegas’ MG Studio, which is providing the production facility and some of the resources for the project. However, Shepherd and Le need money for costumes, props and location shoots — and they’ve taken to Kickstarter in hopes of raising $20,000.
Just five days in to their 60-day campaign, they’re almost halfway toward their goal. To encourage pledge, they’re offering such incentives as the series soundtrack, posters, limited-edition T-shirts and a Batarang prop. Of course, with merchandise like that, they may be pushing their luck with Warner Bros.’ legal department.
You can watch the Nightwing: The Series teaser below, and visit the Kickstarter page to see the pitch video.
After working behind the scenes and delivering one of the signature parts of superhero comics, the coloring studio Hi-Fi is stepping out from the shadows to write, draw and, yes, color, comics of its own and show them to the world. Titled Untold Tales, this 150-page collection brings together both current and former members of the Hi-Fi crew, including Flash co-writer/colorist Brian Buccellato and A-list Marvel colorist Jason Keith. And they’re looking to Kickstarter to make it happen.
With an ambitious fundraising goal of $59,000, Hi-Fi founder (and colorist) Brian Miller’s intent with Untold Tales is to show off the caliber of talent under the Hi-Fi umbrella in a variety of different styles and genre. On the book’s Kickstarter page they’re already showing off samples of the work produced for the anthology, and plan to publish the book in January.
Ryan North’s (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) Kickstarter for his illustrated prose book, To Be or Not To Be is way past being fully funded with 24 days still to go, so this isn’t a plea for action so much as it is a public service announcement. Because, dude …
North is putting together something that he can’t call Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for legal reasons, but totally is, only it’s for grown-ups, based on Hamlet, allows you to play as various characters including the ghost, and is illustrated by an insane line-up of artists like Kate Beaton, Chip Zdarsky, Chris Hastings, David Malki, Dustin Harbin, Jim Zubkavich, Kazu Kibuishi, Ray Fawkes, Vera Brosgol. … Seriously, I’m going to embarrass myself by leaving someone awesome out and the list is loooong. Check out the Kickstarter page for the full scoop.
$15 gets you a PDF copy, but $20 gets U.S. residents the PDF and a paperback copy too. Backers outside the U.S. are asked for a $30 pledge to cover shipping costs. And of course there are other goodies for pledging more.
Awards | Following the nomination of two graphic novels for the Costa Prize, the new chairman of the Man Booker Prize said he would welcome submissions of graphic novels as well. [The Telegraph]
Passings | Former Wizard staff member Marc Wilkofsky, whose efforts on behalf of Friends of Lulu earned him their Volunteer of the Year award in 2005, has died at the age of 42. He was also an enthusiastic member of the NYC Comic Jams. [Andrew Kardon, The Beat]
Conventions | Richard Bruton files a comprehensive con report on the recent Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, England. [Forbidden Planet]
As they teased back in September, Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology) and her husband Ray Dillon (Servant of the Bones, The Last Unicorn) have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a graphic-novel adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
“The original story is one of the most beautiful, inspired things I have ever read, and I hope to convey that beauty to the best of my abilities into this graphic novel,” De Liz writes on the project’s Kickstarter page. “I also intend to further explore Peter Pan and Captain Hook’s backstory by adapting parts from J.M Barrie’s The Little White Bird ( prequel to Peter and Wendy) and a little known informations given by Barrie about Jas. Hook into the story.”
They’re seeking a rather sizable amount — $48,000 — to fund production of the first of three planned volumes, which will be released by IDW Publishing. Pledge incentives range from a copy of the 90-page Peter Pan: The Companion Guide to signed editions to an appearance as a background character in one or more panels. Just a day into the campaign, they’ve already raised $6,424.
More than three decades after his death, Golden Age cartoonist Fletcher Hanks has developed a bit of a cult following, bolstered significantly by Fantagraphics Books’ archive collections I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! and You Shall Die By Your Own Evil Creation! The former features on its cover the delightfully named Stardust the Super Wizard, an alien who comes to Earth determined to fight crime using a vast array of powers — among them, near-invulnerability, flight, super-strength, “retarding rays” and the ability to alter his size and shape — that tended to change as the story required.
Stardust, who lapsed into the public domain, has made appearances in Image Comics’ Next Issue Project, Savage Dragon and, in reimagined form, a couple of webcomics. But the Super Wizard isn’t quite finished yet: Jarez Zichek has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund “a hand-painted metal figurine of one of the most bizarre and unique super heroes of the Golden Age of Comics!”
Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are no strangers to creator-owned work — or using Kickstarter to get their projects off the ground. The longtime Jonah Hex scribes are once again turning to the crowd-funding site to raise funds to publish a unique split-book graphic novel called Sex and Violence. Planned as the first volume in a series, the 64-page adult graphic novel has each writer penning his own story about “crime, lust and redemption.”
In the first story “Pornland, Oregon,” Gray partners with artist Jimmy Broxton to follow a grieving grandfather who turns Portland’s Internet-porn community upside down looking for answers and revenge. The second story, by Palmiotti and longtime collaborator Juan SantaCruz, is titled “Girl in a Storm” and follows a New York City cop who becomes an unlikely voyeur when a lesbian couple moves into her neighborhood.
I’m both amused and creeped out by Edwin Vasquez’s Kickstarter campaign for The Werewolf of NYC, his 32-page comic (the first issue in a planned miniseries) about the aforementioned lycanthrope terrorizing the streets of Hell’s Kitchen. I’m intrigued by the art and premise — “Outcast Albert Shaw (Werewolf) violently lashes out while wandering the streets, taking drastic measures to bring meaning to his life” — but it’s the video that gets me.
So many of these Kickstarter projects feature the creators staring unblinking into the camera as they talk aimlessly about their plans. But not Vasquez; he dons a frightening werewolf mask and shows off his moves to some funky ’50s tune (I think he works in a nod to “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah”). And then he breaks in with the creepy distorted voice to explain the details of the campaign. But really what Kickstarter needs is more werewolf dancing …
With eight days to go, Vasquez is $1,860 toward his $3,000 goal. Pledge incentives include stickers, buttons, an exclusive T-shirt, a silkscreen accordion book and original art.
The Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length story reel for the stalled CGI-animated adaptation of The Goon ended successfully Sunday, exceeding its $400,000 goal by $41,900.
“Frankly, we don’t have the words to describe our APPRECIATION, Goon Fans,” the message on the Kickstarter page states. “We NEVER could have imagined how much SUPPORT we’d receive from this fan community. It’s truly been OVERWHELMING. Through your time, energy, dedication, and donations, you’ve given us an AMAZING opportunity to help keep The Goon Movie dream alive.”
That dream dates back to at least 2008, when it was announced that producer David Fincher and Blur Studio would adapt the acclaimed comic by Eric Powell. Progress soon stalled, however, as financing proved difficult. Test footage, featuring the voices of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, was at last revealed last year, giving fans hope the project might eventually see the light of day. With few additional signs of movement, Powell gave in to pressure and revealed at Comic-Con International he would turn to Kickstarter.
The result of the campaign won’t be the actual film; that budget is pegged at somewhere around $45 million. Instead the $441,900 will be used to finance a story reel to shop to studios.
Legal | EC Comics writer and editor Al Feldstein and the estate of Mad editor and artist Harvey Kurtzman have taken steps to reclaim the copyright to their early work under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (the same provision invoked by the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster). Feldstein has already reached an agreement with the William M. Gaines Agency, which holds the rights to Tales from the Crypt and other classic EC comics of the 1950s; the deal will bring him a small amount of money and the freedom to use the art any way he wants in his autobiography. Kurtzman’s people are in the early stages of negotiations with Warner Bros./DC Comics, which holds the rights to Mad magazine. [The Comics Journal]
Graphic novels | BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels list for October makes for strange bedfellows, with The Walking Dead Compendium Two at No. 1, Chris Ware’s Building Stories at No. 2, and the third volume of Gene Yang’s Avatar: The Last Airbender at No. 3. It’s an interestingly mixed list, with the usual sprinkling of manga (Sailor Moon, Naruto, Bleach), a volume of Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine compilations, and four more volumes of The Walking Dead. And bringing up the rear, at #20, the perennial Watchmen. [ICv2]