Passings | Bob Clarke, one of the original artists for MAD Magazine, passed away Sunday of complications from pneumonia. He was 87. Best known for his “Believe It or NUTS!” parodies, Clarke actually began his career at age 15 as an uncredited assistant on the Ripley’s Believe It or Not comic strip before joining the Army, where he worked for Stars and Stripes. At MAD, he also drew “Spy vs. Spy” for many years, and illustrated the famed January 1961 back cover congratulating John F. Kennedy on his election (the front featured Richard Nixon; the editors were hedging their bets). [The News Journal]
Creators | Charles Soule talks about taking the reins of DC Comics’ Swamp Thing: “Swamp Thing isn’t just a horror book by any means — it’s also a book about superhero action and philosophy and humor. This is a title that’s open to just about anything.” Soule’s plans include new supporting characters and short story arcs that build up to a bigger structure. [USA Today]
Happy Easter and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we review the stuff we’ve been checking out lately. Today we are joined by Miranda Mercury and Voltron writer Brandon Thomas, whose collection of original art and other stuff we featured in Shelf Porn yesterday.
To see what Brandon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Earlier today Kevin linked to all those images of Before Watchmen that BuzzFeed had posted after their visit to the DC offices, but if you’re less curious about the project and are more curious as to what the inside of Dan DiDio’s office looks like (spoiler alert: comics!), they took a bunch of pictures of DC’s working environment as well. Click on over to see the reception area, the giant mural depicting several DC characters by different artists, and the offices of Will Dennis, Mark Chiarello and DiDio.
Rumors began to swirl about a sequel to Wednesday Comics as soon as DC’s weekly anthology debuted in July 2009. But now we finally have confirmation from a contributor that something’s in the works.
Bleeding Cool picked up on word from the Facebook page of Steve Rude that the Nexus artist is working on a New Gods strip for a new Wednesday Comics. Years ago Rude and writer Mark Evanier were in line to do a New Gods series but it fell through (although they did do a Mister Miracle Special sometime back). For Wednesday Comics 2 there’s no word yet whether Rude is writing and illustrating or working with someone else.
The book’s editor Mark Chiarello confirmed last June, as the collected edition was released, that thought has gone into a sequel. All this begs the question — who else is in the book? Let’s put some pieces together …
Earlier in this year Jill Thompson told Newsarama she was approached to do a Wonder Woman strip for the first series but had to turn it down due to working on Beasts of Burden. However, she asked to be considered if Wednesday Comics came back.
During a panel at Baltimore Comic-Con in 2009, Chiarello and some of the contributors to the first series spitballed some ideas of what they’d like to see in the sequel. Read Comic Book Resource’s full report, or follow on for who recommended who:
Mark Chiarello, the award-winning editorial art director of DC Comics, has been promoted to the newly created position of vice president-art direction & design, the company announced today.
He’ll oversee the editorial art department, and “lead in establishing the style, visual look and graphic design across all of DC’s imprints.” Chiarello will continue to be based in New York City, where he’ll report directly to Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee.
The news follows Wednesday’s announcement that longtime editor Eddie Berganza has been promoted to executive editor of the DC Universe imprint and Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler to the new position of director–editorial, special projects & archival editions.
The moves come as part of a massive restructuring that began in September 2009 with the creation of DC Entertainment with Warner Bros. veteran Diane Nelson as president, and continued in February with the naming of an executive team that includes DiDio and Lee as co-publishers and Geoff Johns as chief creative officer. DC announced in September that it would close its WildStorm and Zuda imprints, and shift business/administration, multimedia and digital-content operations to Burbank, Calif., while leaving the publishing division in New York City. As part of that “bi-coastal realignment strategy,” as many as 80 employees are expected to be fired or relocated.
The shakeup has seen the departures of executives like Richard Bruning, Steve Rotterdam and Cheryl Rubin, and the promotions of Bob Wayne, Hank Kanalz and, most recently, Bob Harras, who was named editor-in-chief, VP, DC Comics.
Chiarello, a respected artist who joined DC in 1993 as color editor before becoming editorial art director, has overseen such acclaimed titles as Batman: Hush, Batman Black & White, Solo, DC: The New Frontier and Wednesday Comics.
Today Pop Candy’s Whitney Matheson did something that some consider too revealing even in this socially networked, airport x-ray’d age: She posted 20 movies from her Netflix “Watch Instantly” queue. Like anyone else’s, it’s a motley crew of movies made possible by a massive library of films and the power to watch any of them at any time with a few clicks of a mouse — a blend of “comfort food” you want access to at all times, unwatched stuff you’re dying to see at the next available opportunity, major investments of time or energy you haven’t been prepared to make just yet, “eat your vegetables” fare you know you ought to watch eventually, and goofy guilty pleasures you’re simply tickled to be able to watch whenever you feel like it.
This got me thinking. I know there are any number of logistical and financial reasons why such a thing doesn’t exist for comics. But we comics readers are an imaginative bunch, no? And today I choose to imagine a world where I can load up pretty much any book I can think of and read to my heart’s content. So here’s what my imaginary “Read Instantly” queue would look like, circa today. Check it out, then let us know what’s on your queue in the comments!
Kevin is out sick today, so I’m filling in on Comics A.M. … apologies for the lateness.
Publishers | Viz Senior Vice President and General Manager Alvin Lu discusses the state of the company after the layoffs that occurred in May, as well as the overall manga market. “We continue to get great support from our retail partners. They do see that these very popular series continue to do well. They are getting up there in the 40s and 50s of the volume count, and there is the challenge of bringing in newer readers, to catch them up. I was looking though a calendar from several years ago when we were looking at Bleach Vol. 5 or something. That is a conversation we’ve been having with the bookstores, and they’re being very responsive on how to work with us, to continue to drive the category. They’ve been very supportive of helping us launch new series as well. So it’s a balancing act of getting the space to launch new series while nurturing the more mature series that continue to enjoy a loyal readership.” [ICv2]
Events | Brian Heater from the Daily Cross Hatch and Sarah Morean from Blog Chicka Blog Blog have declared Aug. 28 “International Read Comics in Public” Day. They’ve started a blog that features, as you might guess, people reading comics in public. [Daily Cross Hatch]