SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Publishing | The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy before armed gunmen attacked its offices last month, but the outpouring of support that followed has changed the financial picture: The first issue after the attack sold millions of copies, 250,000 new subscribers signed up, and the paper even received more than $4.5 million in donations. The flush of wealth is causing dissension among the staff, Sam Schechner reports, with some arguing that the publication should become a cooperative. At the same time, they’re discussing how Charlie Hebdo will keep its edge under the new circumstances. A new issue, the second since the attacks, is out on newsstands today. [The Wall Street Journal]
Legendary Comics has debuted Shane Davis’ cover the first issue of Epochalypse, the upcoming sci-fi adventure written by Jonathan Hennessey and drawn by the Superman: Earth One artist.
Set in a dystopian world where a space-time phenomenon causes 600 years of history to collapse into one era, forcing societies from the past, present and future to coexist, Epochalypse centers on a defiant Resynchronization Officer — part of an elite team tasked with ridding futuristic artifacts that threaten the laws of time — who leads a manhunt for an elusive scientist and a notorious outlaw in a bid to save history.
Epochalypse #1 goes on sale Nov. 19.
Retailing | Books-A-Million had a good second quarter, and CEO Terry Finley gives at least part of the credit to graphic novels: “We also saw strong growth in the graphic novel category, with continued success with titles related to AMC’s The Walking Dead series and a renewed interest in several manga series [that] drove sales increases.” And to boost that, the retail chain, which operates more than 250 stores nationwide, is planning Marvel promotions throughout September. [ICv2]
Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr is trying to measure how much money attendees are spending. In terms of hotel beds, at least, the convention seems to be dwarfed by trade shows, but with people coming to Salt Lake City from 48 states for the recent spinoff event FanXperience, that may be changing. Still, even in San Diego, attendees spend only about $600 per person; if Salt Lake attendees are similarly thrifty, the convention may not be a significant player in the Salt Lake City convention scene. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Legendary Comics unveiled Grant Morrison’s Annihilator at New York Comic Con 2012, only for the creator-owned project to drop off the radar. However, now the publisher has released new details about the upcoming series, including a Sept. 4 release date and a first look at pages.
Featuring art by Frazer Irving, Annihilator centers on on Ray Spass, a former screenwriter with a brain tumor who gets a big break to write a huge blockbuster film.
Retailing | Image Comics took seven of the Top 20 spots on Nielsen BookScan’s list of graphic novels sold in bookstores in May, with multiple volumes of Saga and The Walking Dead once again appearing, joined by the first collection of Sex Criminals. Kodansha Comics took six spots, with the most recent volume of Attack on Titan at the top of the chart, followed by the first volume. Four more volumes were scattered around the list. Legendary’s Godzilla movie tie-in, Godzilla: Awakening, placed at No. 3. [ICv2]
Legal | The Japanese legislature has moved forward with a bill that would criminalize possession of child pornography, which is expected to pass the Diet before it recesses on June 22. The new law would ban photos and videos made using real children but excludes manga and anime. [The Japan Times]
Conventions | Although convention organizers rolled out an altered name — WonderCon Anaheim — and logo when they confirmed two weeks ago that the event will return to Anaheim, California, again next year, they insist they haven’t close the door on San Francisco. “We still want to get back to the Bay Area. […] We are in touch with [the Moscone Center organizers] fairly regularly and we have an open dialogue,” says David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations. “They haven’t given up on us, either.” The convention was uprooted from the Moscone Center in 2012 first because of remodeling and now because of scheduling conflicts. WonderCon Anaheim will be held April 18-20. [Publishers Weekly]
Digital comics | I spoke with Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater and iVerse Media CEO Michael Murphey about the new “all-you-can-eat” digital service, Archie Unlimited. [Good E-Reader]
It doesn’t look like there were as many comic-related announcements on Saturday at WonderCon as there were on Friday, but the second day of the con certainly brought some gems.
• IDW and DC announced that Mark Waid (Daredevil, Insufferable) and Paul Smith (Uncanny X-Men, Leave it to Chance) are teaming up for The Rocketeer/Spirit: Pulp Friction. “Not many writers have been lucky enough to write The Rocketeer or The Spirit,” Waid said in a press release, “so I feel like I’ve won the lottery. This is one of the most exciting-and scariest-assignments I’ve ever undertaken. Luckily, I’ve got Paul Smith to make me look good!” The first issue of the miniseries arrives in July.
The New York Comic Con officially kicked off this afternoon, with fans eager to get inside and publishers eager to begin releasing news into the wild. So let’s see if we can’t herd some of those announcements together. Here’s a round-up from today:
• DC Comics Co-Publisher and artist extraordinaire Jim Lee will team with Batman scribe Scott Snyder on a new Superman title next year, just in time for the Man of Steel’s return to the silver screen. “This will play along with the other Superman books in the sense that it’s in continuity, but we really wanted to carve out our own territory,” Snyder told CBR. “This really is sort of the biggest, most epic Superman story we could do together while having our feet planted firmly in continuity and making sure that everyone had enough room.”
DC also unveiled a Kia Optima that features a Batman design by Jim Lee.
• Marvel announced three more Season One graphic novels: Iron Man, written by Howard Chaykin with art by Gerard Parel; Thor by writer Matthew Sturges and artist Pepe Larraz; and Wolverine, written by the team of Ben Blacker and Ben Acker, with art by Salva Espin. Also, Cullen Bunn returns to Deadpool with Deadpool Killustrated, a miniseries that pits the Merc with a Mouth against Moby Dick, Sherlock Holmes, Beowulf, Don Quixote and more. Spoiler alert: he’s gonna kill them.
Legendary Comics announced today at New York Comic Con that it will publish a graphic-novel prequel to Guillermo del Toro’s upcoming giant-monster epic Pacific Rim as well as sci-fi miniseries written by Grant Morrison.
Produced by corporate sibling Legendary Pictures, Pacific Rim centers on monstrous creatures known as Kaiju that rise from the sea to consume Earth’s resources, and the massive piloted robots called Jaegers that are constructed to save humanity from destruction.
The graphic novel, which will be released before the film’s July 12 debut, is written by Pacific Rim screenwriter Travis Beacham and delves into the early days of the Kaiju attacks and how mankind reacts to the realization that these aren’t isolated incidents but rather a full-fledged invasion.
Del Toro tells Hero Complex that the book won’t simply have his name slapped on the cover. “I try to get involved as much as possible,” he said. “The first decision that is needed from me is to hire the right artist, the right colorist, the right writer for the books. That’s the part that I think is most important. It’s like directing in the comics. … In Pacific Rim, I expect to approve the layout, the pencils, the inking, the coloring, the cover, the script … everything.”
Morrison describes his project, Annihilator, to Heat Vision as “my big L.A. story. It’s a devil’s deal story, it’s a science fiction story, it’s a horror story.”
The six-issue miniseries follows Ray Spass, a screenwriter grappling with a brain tumor, lack of inspiration, and a deadline for a sci-fi movie script about an antihero named Max Nomax who’s in a haunted prison on the edge of a black hole after loosing a battle with an artificial lifeform. But Spass’ life changes when the real Nomax appears, and it’s revealed the tumor contains information key to preventing worldwide destruction.
Legendary Comics, the relatively new publishing arm of film production company Legendary Pictures, had about as audacious a debut as was possible last fall, with its first offering being Frank Miller’s too-controversial-for-DC Batman vs. Al Qaeda comic Holy Terror, the Legendary version scrubbed of DC trademarks just enough that it could be published without risk of a lawsuit.
The company’s latest offering isn’t quite as controversial … nor is it quite as noteworthy. It is, however, the comics project one might expect from film production company: a sort of focus group-testing, balloon-floating introduction to a character and concept that could potentially be adapted into a major motion picture, something I can’t imagine anyone seriously considered doing with Miller’s beautifully told, politically wacky comic about an off-brand Batman and Catwoman fighting terrorists.
If the very thought of a comic book series as film R&D turns you off (believe me, I understand!), then it’s worth noting that this latest project is edited, like Holy Terror was, by Bob Schreck and created by as solid, experienced and talented a creative team as a comics fan could ask for. It’s written by Matt Wagner (yes, Grendel, Mage and Sandman Mystery Theatre‘s Matt Wagner) and penciled by Simon Bisley (the painter whose interior work you’ve seen in Slaine and Batman/Judge Dredd), here being inked and colored by Rodney Ramos and Ryan Brown.
Still not sold on The Tower Chronicles: GeistHawk Volume 1 …? Look, I don’t blame you.
Retailing | The Manchester, Connecticut, comics store Buried Under Comics will reopen with a new name, A Hero’s Journey, and a new owner, April Kenney. A friend of previous owner Brian Kozicki, who died unexpectedly last month, Kenney arranged to purchase the store from Kozicki’s family. [Patch.com]
Retailing | Toronto retailer Silver Snail has moved from its longtime location on Queen Street to Yonge Street. [CityNews]
Publishing | Brian Smith, the DC Comics associate editor publicly ridiculed by Rob Liefeld last month, has announced his departure from the company, apparently under amicable circumstances. Nonetheless, Liefeld took a parting shot on Twitter. [Blog@Newsarama]
Museums | So what is the deal with the move of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art to the Society of Illustrators? They are being “transferred and acquired,” says MoCCA President Ellen Abramowitz, although the headline on this article says “rescued.” “After the transition, the Society of Illustrators will go on to be the sole overseer and manager of the holdings. ‘It’s in excellent hands,’ said Ms. Abramowitz.” [The Wall Street Journal]
Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:
• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.
• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.
• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.
Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
This weekend Legendary Comics announced that Steve Niles and Mike Kaluta are working on a new graphic novel for the publisher, an adaptation of John Milton’s 17th-century poem Paradise Lost. The poem tells the Biblical story of Satan tempting Adam and Eve, and how the couple is eventually cast out of the Garden of Eden.
Now, over on the publisher’s website, they’ve revealed the first piece of artwork for the new book. No word on when it will appear. “It’ll be a while,” Kaluta said at the panel. “It’ll take more than seven days.