X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Crowdfunding | Digital Manga Publishing’s recent Kickstarter campaign raised some questions as to the proper role of crowdfunding in publishing. When DMP acquired the rights to all of Osamu Tezuka’s manga that haven’t already been translated into English, CEO Hikaru Sasahara launched an ambitious Kickstarter effort to publish about 400 volumes in just a few years. The campaign raised eyebrows not only because of the large amount of money involved (with stretch goals, it would have been more than half a million dollars) but also because it went beyond the direct costs associated with single volumes to include travel and staffing. That campaign failed, but DMP immediately launched another one that’s closer to the usual model. I interviewed Sasahara and one of his most prominent critics to get both sides of the discussion. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | Disney on Tuesday asked a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a two-year-old lawsuit by Stan Lee Media claiming the copyright to such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men. A lawyer for Stan Lee Media, which no longer connected to its namesake, argued a federal judge in Colorado erred last year in dismissing the 2012 complaint, but Disney countered that the copyright claims have been addressed time and again by the courts. “This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple,” Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the hearing. The three-judge panel hasn’t issued its decision. [The Associated Press]
Manga | The finale of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, which will run in an upcoming issue of Shonen Jump (both the Japanese and the North American editions), will be two chapters long, with the second appearing in full color, the manga magazine announced. Naruto was at one time the bestselling graphic novel in the United States and is still one of the top selling manga in the country. [Anime News Network]
Nearly a year ago, ROBOT 6 reported on a graphic novel anthology being created in tribute to Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo. Now that dream is closer, but the publisher needs some help to make it a reality.
Locust Moon Press’ Little Nemo: Dream A Little Dream boasts an undeniably impressive contributor list, with marquee names like Peter Bagge, Paul Pope, J.H. Williams III, John Cassaday and Craig Thompson. More than 100 artists are involved with the 144-page book, with contributor J.G. Jones describing it as “perhaps the most stunningly ambitious comic project I’ve ever seen.”
As we reported in July, West Philadelphia retailer turned indie publisher Locust Moon is putting together an impressive-sounding (and -looking) anthology called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream that pays tribute to Winsor McCay’s pioneering comic strip. The talent roster includes such names as John Cassaday, Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Becky Cloonan, Mark Buckingham and David Petersen — and it’s the Mouse Guard creator who brings us to this post.
Locust Moon has debuted Petersen’s contribution to the book, a strip that — fittingly enough — features helpful mice (“royal field mice,” we’re told), an aggravated goose and a gramophone-carrying locust. As you can see, it’s beautiful.
At Comic-Con International in San Diego, IDW Publishing announced that Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo will return in a new series titled Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, by Eric Shanower and Gabriel Rodriguez. As it turns out, there’s more to Little Nemo than just one new book.
Comics store turned small-press publisher Locust Moon is putting together an anthology of Little Nemo stories called Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream. Scheduled for release in 2014, the book has an eye-opening A-list lineup, including Peter Bagge, John Cassaday, Neal Adams, Bill Sienkiewicz, Becky Cloonan, Scott Morse, David Petersen, Mark Buckingham, Paul Pope and J.G. Jones. This book is a follow-up from the company’s anthology Once Upon a Time Machine, released last year by Dark Horse.
Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream will be published by Locust Moon as both a newspaper and a hardcover book, at the full size of the original Little Nemo pages — 16 inches by 21 inches. Described by Locust moon as a “love song for Winsor McCay, Little Nemo and the limitless possibilities of comics,” this is definitely one to watch. Here are several sample pages:
Age of Bronze creator Eric Shanower and Locke & Key artist Gabriel Rodriguez will produce a series for IDW Publishing based on Winsor McCay’s pioneering early 20th-century comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland.
Debuting in 1905, and unquestionably decades ahead of its time, the surreal Sunday strip initially followed the nightly dreams of a little boy named Nemo as he attempted to reach the realm of King Morpheus, who wanted him as a playmate for his daughter. Each installment ended with Nemo abruptly waking just as he was about to experience a mishap in dreamland. The strip, later retitled In the Land of Wonderful Dreams when it changed newspapers, ran until 1914 before being revived from 1924 to 1947. (ROBOT 6 contributor Chris Mautner provided an overview of McCay’s work in a March installment of “Comics College.”)
Titled Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland, the IDW series will launch next spring, with Nemo setting out on a new voyage. “However,” the publisher’s press release states, “everything else is different, even Nemo himself—in search of a new playmate for the princess of Slumberland, King Morpheus enlists the Candy Kid to help bring the latest playmate, our titular Nemo, into the dream realm. There, Nemo embarks on a visceral journey full of adventure and danger.”
“There are people like Ray Bradbury, Neil Gaiman, Hayao Miyazaki and Winsor McCay that can grasp what dreams are made of, transform them, and share that with all of us,” Rodríguez said in a statement. “I think we’re lucky that McCay not only left us his wonderful stories, but also created a whole universe filled with windows opened for every one of us, inviting us to explore it, too. And Eric and I are taking the challenge, not trying to redo what he previously did, but trying to invite kids and adults from today to enjoy and have fun in of the Land of Wonderful Dreams.”
With Labor Day weekend upon us, now is a good time to stock the virtual longbox with some digital comics. We reported the other day that Image has made 20 of its #1 issues free on comiXology; here’s a roundup of some other free’ n’ cheap digital comics to check out over the holiday.
Centsless Books is a website that rounds up all the free Kindle books on Amazon, and it has a dedicated section for comics and graphic novels. There’s a preview of Batman: Earth One up there, and a lot of first issues of different indy series. Some of the graphic novels aren’t really — at least one book I checked was prose not a graphic novel, and Little Nemo’s Wild Sleigh Ride is a picture book that uses Winsor McCay’s illustrations (which are in the public domain). Well worth checking out, especially if you’re a First Second fan, are the two Between the Panels books, which are promotional pieces put out by Macmillan, with creator essays, character sketches and side stories, all related to different First Second graphic novels. Aside from that, it’s a pretty mixed bag, but one that looks like it will be fun to rummage around in. These Kindle comics will also work on the Kindle iPad and Android apps.
Infinity is a free iPad fanzine from Panel Nine, which has published Eddie Campbell’s Dapper John and David Lloyd’s Kickback as standalone iPad apps. The inaugural issue includes an interview with Lloyd, a preview of Dapper John, a roundup of digital-comics news, a couple of app reviews, art by Simon Russell, and an interview with PJ Holden, the creator of Murderdrome, a short comic that was booted from the iTunes store for being too violent (it’s actually a spoof). It’s a nice collection and well worth the effort of clicking that iTunes button.
Here’s a holiday treat at a price Ebenezer Scrooge would appreciate: Little Nemo in Christmasland, a free sampler of Winsor McKay’s comics from Sunday Press, which publishes those big, beautiful Little Nemo books.
It’s too bad the iPad didn’t exist in 1906, because it would be interesting to see what McKay could do with the smaller format and bright colors. As it is, the comics show up nicely on the screen but are a bit too small to be fully legible. (This isn’t helped by McKay’s wobbly, crowded lettering.) That means the reader’s experience is broken into two pieces—first you look at the page as a whole, and appreciate McKay’s lovely drawings and masterful compositions, and then you blow it up to read the lettering and follow the story. Admittedly, the second stage is optional, as the stories are fairly slight. The bottom line is that the iPad is really too small to show off these comics at their best, but it is a decent alternative if you can’t afford (or store) the full-size books.
One warning note: These comics appeared in the early 1900s, and they reflect the popular culture of the times. Which is to say, there are crudely caricatured black characters in several of the strips.
If you like the Christmas sampler, check out the 38-page Little Nemo in Slumberland app for $3.99.
If you’ve been thinking of heading to Italy and want to stay somewhere close to the water, Villa Comics has six rooms available with a private bathroom, air conditioning, TV, minibar and a comic book theme.
Located in the Gulf of Policastro – Cilento, “the theme is ‘comics,’” their website reads, “and each room is named after a comic character. There are room in honour of: Little Nemo, Tin Tin, Spiderman, Uncle $crooge, Corto Maltese, Spirit and Dylan Dog. Each room is decorated with a colourful canvas. Whether you’re a comic fan, or not, you’ll be enthralled by the attention to detail and the way in which ‘comics’ seeks to transport its guest into the world of fantasy to which each room has been dedicated.”
The proprietor, Gianfranco Martuscelli, is a cartoonist who wanted to combine his passions for comics and tourism.
No, really. I swear. They’re going to have children’s activities and everything. Still, if you’re unable to attend the proceedings, I suggest celebrating by putting on your finest nightgown, have your bed grow legs and walk out of your house and then talk so quickly that the words all cramp together and then spill out of the balloon above you. Either that or have a toasted cheese sandwich just before bed which, as well all know, always leads to a horrible nightmare.