Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Manga | Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has knocked longtime bestseller One Piece from the top of Japan’s manga charts. Market research firm Oricon reports that Attack on Titan, which has 13 volumes in print, sold 8,342,268 copies in the first half of the year, making it the bestselling series in Japan. One Piece, which has long held that title, sold 4,936,855 copies of 73 volumes, but it did top the charts for single-volume sales, with 2,825,339 copies sold of the latest volume. The numbers cover the period from mid-November to mid-May. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee talks about his history with Batman in advance of DC’s 75th-anniversary celebration for the character. [Asbury Park Press]
Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at how publishing is done on Kickstarter, and interviews Maris Kreizman, the general publishing manager, and Jamie Tanner, who oversees the comics category and is himself a comics creator. Comics campaigns have a success rate of nearly 50 percent, making them the fourth-highest category on Kickstarter (and way ahead of general publishing, which has a 32 percent success rate). Tanner sees the popularity of comics as an indication that people still like a print product, and, he pointed out, “setting up a [Kickstarter comics] project, offering rewards and a delivery date, is very much like any conventional comics publishing project.” [Publishers Weekly]
Conventions | Lance Fensterman, ReedPOP’s global senior vice president, talks about his company’s strategy of focusing on a few big shows, rather than a lot of smaller ones, and gives the numbers for last month’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo: Attendance was about 62,900, up 18 percent from last year, and the show floor grew by 15,000 square feet. Attendees are mostly in the 18-to-35 age group, and the majority are male, although the proportion of women at C2E2 has increased by 6 percent since 2011. Male or female, many of the folks on the floor seem to be “casual consumers” rather than “hardcore fans”: About 50 percent of attendees at New York Comic Con were there for the first time. “Depending on which exhibiting company you’re talking to, they either love it or they’re not sure what to do with it,” Fensterman said. “You’re delivering new readers and new potential consumers. We think it’s cool that you’re getting that fresh perspective, not quite so jaded (been there, done that).” [ICv2]
The husband-and-wife team of Fred Van Lente and Crystal Skillman have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund King Kirby, a play about the life of legendary comics creator Jack Kirby. Characterized as “a real-life Adventures of Kavalier & Klay,” the production is set to be staged at Brooklyn’s Brick Theater as part of the Comic Book Theater Festival on June 20, the day the campaign ends.
“King Kirby has been a long-term passion project of mine,” Van Lente, known for his work on such comics as Action Philosophers, Archer & Armstrong and The Incredible Hercules, said in a statement. “With Crystal’s help, it’s down on paper. Now, with your help, we’ll bring this crucial piece of comics history to life on stage.”
Did you see that Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day raised $1.4 Million on Kickstarter for an Internet series called Tabletop, in which they’ll introduce board gaming to various “geeky guests”? (To you kids out there: “Board gaming” is like video games, but not on a computer. I know, right?) This was apparently some sort of crowdfunding record, as no one previously had raised more than $1 million for an online series.
Some people see this as evidence that geek culture has become an economic power. I see this from another point of view: People just want to see Wil Wheaton playing games. What if I told you, dear reader, there’s a webcomic out there that can deliver that very experience? It’s Wheaton as Wesley Crusher playing some role-playing games with the rest of the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew in Josh Millard’s LARP Trek.
In 2011, writer Joey Esposito and artist Jonathan Moore kickstarted Footprints, a four-issue, hard-boiled detective comic that followed Bigfoot, the Jersey Devil and other cryptids as they investigated the death of a Yeti. Now the duo has returned to that world — and to Kickstarter — for a one-shot subtitled “Bad Luck Charm.”
“The one-shot features two new tales — one set before the events of Vol. 1 and one set after,” Esposito told ROBOT 6. “The first story, given away for free on the Kickstarter campaign, features the oafish Jersey Devil and Vol. 1’s big bad, Motheresa, heading to 1962 to Las Vegas to try their luck. The second story will catch up with Foot, Nessy, Devil and Choop as they investigate a new cryptid emerging in the swamps of South Carolina, the Lizard Man.”
Esposito provided ROBOT 6 with that first story, which is posted in its entirety below. If you’d like to see the second one (and get your hands on a digital copy of the first Footprints collection, which is included at every reward level above $15), check out the Kickstarter campaign.
Cosplay | The Christian Science Monitor looks at how cosplay is spilling out of comics and sci-fi/fantasy conventions and into “daily life,” such as movie theaters, pubs and public squares: “The spread of cosplay owes a lot to the Internet. Social media sites build buzz around the next big cosplay event. Tumblr and Instagram allow strangers to pass around photos of past work and offer words of encouragement from afar. YouTube videos reveal how to craft foam core into realistic-looking armor and braid hair like an elf.” [The Christian Science Monitor]
When two siblings work together on a comic, it creates a rare interview opportunity. The dynamics of a typical collaboration, with unrelated creators, when successful, means there’s a strong rapport between storytellers. But the link between two brothers, as in the case with Shobo and Shof Coker, means a level of candor and communication that I really wanted to discuss with the creators of Outcasts of Jupiter. Their formative years as children in Lagos, Nigeria, and its impact on their storytelling approach, was another area of interest for me.
Publishing | In the wake of the ban in Saudi Arabia of the animated adaptation of The 99 comic, creator Naif Al-Mutawa writes about what he had to go through in the first place to get approval in that country for the Islamic superheroes (one of the steps was the sale of Cracked magazine at a loss so his company would be sharia-compliant to the satisfaction of an Islamic bank). He looks at what led to the fatwa, and concludes by seeking one of his own, posing questions for the clerics who issued the decree. [The National]
Publishing | As part of its five-year anniversary celebration, Multiversity Comics surveys such industry figures as Eric Stephenson, Rachel Deering, Tom Spurgeon and Gina Gagliano about the biggest changes that have taken place during that time, and where comics are headed. [Multiversity Comics]
He’s written sentient living planets, talking wooden puppets and the Fastest Man Alive, but The Leg: Or, the Remarkable Return of the Disembodied Limb of Santa Anna may feature Van Jensen’s strangest protagonist yet.
Jensen teamed up with artist Jose Pimienta to tell the tale of, yes, the leg of Antonio López de Santa Anna, the famous Mexican general and president who fought for Mexican independence from Spain as well as against Texas rebels at the Alamo. He later lost his leg while fighting the French in the Pastry War.
And now the leg is back, in a graphic novel that Jensen and Pimienta hope to self-publish by raising funds through Kickstarter. They’re looking for $10,000 to bring story to print, while their $25,000 stretch goal would allow them to also release a Spanish-language edition.
I spoke with Jensen about the Kickstarter and his inspiration for this tale.
It was only a month ago that ROBOT 6 contributor Corey Blake was imagining the possibilities for a comics truck in Los Angeles — y’know, like a bookmobile, only for comics — and now, almost as if by magic, a Kickstarter campaign has launched for that very thing.
Well, not that very thing, as A Comic Spot is more like a pop-up comic store than a traditional bookmobile, with tables and chairs designed to create “an outdoor meeting space […] allowing people to connect and share in an engaging dialogue.”
Described as a “sci-fi road trip set during the Summer of Love,” Just Another Sheep follows a timid teen on a quest in the tumultuous 1960s — or, rather, an alternate version of the decade — to discover the origin of his ability to make others experience anything his body has felt before, from pleasure to pain to intoxication.
Writer Mat Heagerty funded production of the first three issues largely by himself, but with money getting a little tight, he has turned to Kickstarter for help with the final two. He’s seeking $5,000, which seems like a pretty reasonable goal.
Kazu Kibuishi has found success in comics by charting his own path, one that took him from creating the Eisner-winning Copper to editing the acclaimed Flight anthologies to finding a home for his Amulet graphic novels at mainstream publisher Scholastic.
His work led him to be selected to create covers for the 15th anniversary re-release if J.K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter books. Kibuishi approached this prized assignment with reverence and deep knowledge for what Rowling and original illustrator Mary GrandPré did before, but infused the artwork with his own style to make the new editions stand out. And he took what he learned from that project back to his own books.
With more power comes more problems. Just ask Starpunch Girl, who’s in the middle of a battle to free her enslaved homeworld from the Black Hole Army. And leading that army is Blackhole Boy, a rival who going all the way back to grade school. Creators S.D. Lockhart and Narm started the series as a webcomic, and now they’re turning to Kickstarter to help fund a 90-plus page print edition.
Described by Lockhart as a “full-color cosmic comic creation featuring surrealistic characters and intense action sequences,” Starpunch Girl is looking to raise $1,000 by April 27 to print a book collecting the 18 pages already released online plus more than 75 pages of additional story. As rewards for backers, they’re offering interesting extras including a soundtrack for the series, a custom plush doll, as well as an appearance in an upcoming page of the series.
The creators of The Walking Dead: The Prison board game may have jumped the gun over the weekend when they canceled their Kickstarter campaign and announced an exclusive agreement with Diamond Comic Distributors and its subsidiary Alliance Game Distributors.
“We have not agreed to an exclusive distribution deal for this game,” John Wurzer, Diamond’s vice president of purchasing, tells ICv2.com. “We have been having discussions regarding the possibility of a distribution agreement, but none is in place.”
Launched early last month, the Kickstarter campaign was intended to raise $81,100 to produce a licensed standalone sequel to Z-Man Games’ hit 2011 release Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: The Board Game, based on the bestselling comic series (rather than the television adaptation, like Cryptozoic’s game). But on Saturday, after securing $31,830 in pledges, the creators announced they had struck “an amazing distribution deal with the perfect distribution partner,” and therefore didn’t “feel comfortable continuing to ask for funding money through Kickstarter.”
ICv2 reached out to game designer Keith Tralins, who replied, “I can’t really comment right now, other to say [sic] that discussions are ongoing.”