Publishing | ICv2 has one of its periodic Big Interviews with DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, this time covering how new readers are finding digital comics, how variant covers are working and graphic novel sales in bookstores, among other topics. Here’s Lee’s rather elliptical take on the flurry of recent changes in creative teams: “Without getting into the specifics, from the outside looking in, it might look like there’s a string of changes that point to one common theme, as you suggest. But from the inside looking out, you’ll see that each one has a different set of circumstances and conditions that ultimately led to the conflicts or the resignations or changes in creative personnel.” [ICv2]
Retailing | ICv2 also reports that Amazon and Overstock.com are having a price war on graphic novels, and readers are the beneficiaries. The website did a little shopping around and found a handful of graphic novels priced at up to 70 percent off full retail. [ICv2]
Like many, I first encountered the art of Edmund Bagwell in 2005, in the first issue of Liam Sharp’s extremely short-lived but influential anthology Event Horizon. Sharp introduced lots of new talent in those two issues, but it seemed that Bagwell was to be the book’s breakout star. Here was an artist with many strings to his bow, producing lushly rendered digital paintings and linework to accompany prose short stories in the first volume, and also illustrating Rich Johnson’s role-playing satire “Chase Variant” in the second.
U.K. comics history is full of instances of well-intentioned anthologies eventually failing, leaving that great survivor 2000AD to cherry-pick their best talent. This was again the case, with Bagwell soon working on some memorable short stories with writers Al Ewing and Arthur Wyatt. Short one-offs such as “Future Shocks” and “Terror Tales” are usually seen as dues-paying exercises by the editorial staff at 2000AD, and Bagwell was rewarded by being commissioned to draw the series “Cradlegrave,” written by John Smith.
OK, here’s a chance to get a paid gig alongside some of the greatest names in the imaginative arts industry: Dave Gibbons, Bill Sienkiewicz, Brian Bolland, Mike Carey, and more.
Madefire is looking for a horror illustrator for a story that will go live on our 5-star rated app at Halloween. The creature in the story is a Metawhal Alpha (drawn by me, above).
…Please DON’T send me direct messages, including via DeviantArt. Simply submit your work to us at: email@example.com. Then go and check out the rest of our website and/or iPad app to get a feel for what we’re creating. The portfolio submission period won’t last for more than a few weeks, as we want to select an illustrator in time for a finished title to go live end of October.
Anyone applying for this gig will be seeing his work published alongside a dizzying array of comics superstars, so I’m guessing big brass cojones (or big brass huevos) are also required, if not actually stipulated by Sharp.
In other Sharp-related news, the DTV horror movie he recently worked on in an art department laced with comic book talent (including Gary Erskine, Lee Carter and Alex Ronald), Outpost II: Black Sun, has released a mood-book full of concept art (link via Everything Comes Back To 2000AD).
Ben Abernathy, who left DC Comics last week after more than a decade with the company — most recently as digital editor — has joined Madefire, the innovative motion-comics company launched last year by Ben Wolstenholme, Liam Sharp and Eugene Walden.
“About two years ago Ben [Wolstenholme] and I realized there would be a point very early on where Madefire needed a full-time editor – if all went to plan!” Sharp tells ComicBooked.com. “We started to draft a wish-list – and it barely got past one! Ben Abernathy!”
Abernathy, who worked briefly for Dark Horse and Marvel, was senior editor of WildStorm until the imprint was closed in 2010 amid a corporate restructuring and he was moved with other staff to DC’s West Coast digital division. “… Ultimately, the industry is heading to a predominantly digital delivery and that’s not a reflection whatsoever on the direct market or the print publishers–it’s just a reality based on technology and the evolving audience,” Abernathy says in a Q&A on the Madefire website. “From the position I held at DC, I had the opportunity to see some of the reading tools being developed for the industry, and from the moment I saw Madefire’s work, I could tell they were ahead of the curve. Way ahead. And you’re right: I wouldn’t be answering these questions if I didn’t believe that 100 percent and wasn’t committed to doing everything possible to help facilitate this next step.”
Say the name Liam Sharp to a group of comic readers and it’s bound to bring up different images for each person. To some he’s best known for the early ’90s Marvel UK series Death’s Head II, while others think Judge Dredd and even others remember his ill-fated comic company Mamtor from a few years back. Although Mamtor failed to become a lasting presence, it featured impeccable work (and design from Tom Muller) that is a great back-issue find if you’re so lucky. And at Comic-Con International over weekend, Sharp announced his new publishing outfit — Madefire Publishing.
Launching as a digital-first comics publisher, Madefire is intended to be a modern-day equivalent of the comics from Sharp’s childhood — “cheep, accessible entertainment,” as he’s told Bleeding Cool. Using the wide user base of smartphones, Madefire’s digital comics app hopes to touch into both the hardcore fan, the lapsed fan and the future fan with their line-up of titles.
In addition to his own project Captain Stone is Missing, Sharp has assembled a great line-up of creators for the effort, including Mike Carey and Dave Kendall’s Houses of the Holy and a new series called Treatment written and drawn by Dave Gibbons (!!).
No word yet on when their first projects will be released, but I’ll be keeping my ears up looking for more information as its announced.
After his prospective Swamp Thing series was canned due to a shake-up at DC, fantasy novelist China Miéville has struck out on his own into the comics world with a webcomic. Over on the author’s tumblr blog, six pages have been serialized on almost a daily basis since Jan. 20 — all tagged “London Intrusion.” Miéville is handling both the story and the art, owing to his background drawing for fanzines years ago. The author hasn’t spoken publicly about the series and has opted to let it speak for itself.
Although Miéville’s spent the majority of his career writing a string of successful prose novels he dubs “wierd fiction,” the writer did his first official comics work years ago in Looking for Jake with artist Liam Sharp. Expect to see more on “London Intrusion” and possibly other comics over on China’s tumblr.