EXCL. PREVIEW: Hitch's "Justice League: Rebirth" #1 Fears the Reaper
Conventions | It looks as if Wizard World’s convention won’t be returning to San Antonio, Texas, in 2015. A Wizard World spokesman said the company couldn’t come up with a date that fit the schedule of the city’s Henry B. Gomez Convention Center, adding, “We hope to revisit the possibility for 2016.” However, reporter Rene Guzman notes that San Antonio’s Alamo City Comic Con was a much bigger deal this year, in terms of the exhibit floor (it took up three exhibit halls of the convention center, compared to Wizards’ one) and probably attendance as well: Wizard World said its inaugural event in August drew “thousands,” and Alamo City had 73,000 attendees, almost twice as many as last year. There will be a Wizard World Austin conventionn in 2015, so anyone wanting a taste of that Wizard magic can find it a short road trip away. [San Antonio Express News]
Manga | The top-selling manga in Japan this year was One Piece, with nearly 11.9 million volumes sold; Attack on Titan came in a close second, with 11.7 million. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Jim Zubkavich updates his post from last year about the long-term sales and profitability of his series Skullkickers. There are some interesting angles to this, including the cost of his deluxe collected editions, the boost he got from his “reboot,” and the importance of digital sales in the long term: “Since there’s no print run or storage limit with digital they continue to build profitability over the long haul (particularly with the early issues as new readers sample the series during comiXology sales). Many issues that lost money in their initial print release have been able to make back their losses thanks to digital.” [Zub Tales]
Conventions | The Rhode Island Convention Center exceeded capacity Saturday for what may be the first time in its history, leading the state fire marshal to temporarily bar entry to Rhode Island Comic Con. At one point, about 1,500 attendees were left out in the rain, including some people who stepped out for a minute and couldn’t get back in. Organizers sold a reported 23,000 tickets for a venue that holds just 17,000, and the way the show was configured reduced the capacity to about 15,000. They apologized Saturday afternoon for the “hiccup.” [Providence Journal]
Comics | Joshua Rivera picks the best comics and graphic novels of October. [Entertainment Weekly]
Graphic novels | Although BookScan’s September list of the bestselling graphic novels in bookstores is populated largely by old stalwarts — The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Saga, Watchmen — Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1, the only Marvel title on the chart, clung to the Top 20 in its second month of release (although it slipped from No. 4. to No. 20). Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, meanwhile, climbed in its third month to No. 6. One new manga debuted at No. 12: Noragami, about a homeless god who does odd jobs as he tries to build up his reputation; the anime is already out, which probably gave it a boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | A television reporter pays a visit to the Last Gasp offices to talk about the Kickstarter recently launched by the longtime publisher of underground comics (and other quirky books). It’s worth a look just to see the owner’s amazing collection of oddities. [NBC Bay Area]
The posters, featuring the art of Mike Mignola, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Daniel Danger and Rob Jones/Ken Taylor, will be screen-printed live at the convention by Industry Print Shop. That’s two on Saturday (Mignola and Jones/Taylor) and two on Sunday (O’Malley and Danger); only those with the corresponding MondoCon wristband will be permitted to pick up the posters for the day. There will be no refunds or cancellations, and no shipping from the show.
Mondo has announced the complete lineup for the inaugural MondoCon, the Sept. 20-21 event in Austin, Texas, celebrating film, music, art and toys. And it turns out the participation of artists Geof Darrow, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Mike Mignola and Bernie Wrightson is only the tip of the comics presence.
There’s the world premiere of Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD, a documentary celebrating 35 years of the influential comics anthology (watch the trailer below); a “Designing Movies” panel, with Darrow, Jock, Mignola, Wrightson and others discussing their film work; and “Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy,” which includes a presentation of eight minutes of never-before-seen animation from an uproduced adaptation of his comic.
TVLine has unveiled Mike Mignola’s poster for the ABC holiday special Toy Story That Time Forgot, which will given away Thursday to attendees of the presentation at Comic-Con International.
Set after the events of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, the animated special sends the gang into uncharted territory during a post-Christmas play date as the coolest set of action figures ever turns out to be dangerously delusional.
The Comic-Con panel will be at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in Room 6A. Afterward a special autograph session will be held at the ABC booth.
The art gallery and online store Mondo has announced the inaugural MondoCon, a Sept. 20-21 event in Austin, Texas, designed to celebrate film, music, art and toys. It will coincide with the first weekend of Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Fantastic Fest.
The initial wave of guests includes such comics artists as Geof Darrow, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Mike Mignola and Bernie Wrightson. To mark the occasion, Mondo has also announced a Bride of Frankenstein limited-edition print by Mignola, on sale Thursday at MondoTees.com.
“We specifically picked these first 15 to show a sampling of what to expect from MondoCon,” Mondo Creative Director Justin Ishmael explains on the event website. “Not only will we have people that we’ve worked with before, but we’ll also have guys that we’ve been HUGE fans of showing up, too. We want you in the same room as Mike Mignola who is also in the same room as Richey Beckett who has a booth next to Geof Darrow, etc. Picture walking down that aisle and stopping at like every booth. That’s at least the idea and if you do or not is obviously up to you, but if we were to walk into a convention and these guys were all there, it’d be a day long event for me going around bugging everyone. The thing is that we’re 100% fans of everyone in this room.”
MondoCon will feature new artwork and products, as well as panels and special screenings. Tickets, which go on sale Wednesday, cost $35 for one day and $70 for the full weekend.
With April sales numbers released from Diamond Comic Distributors, a subtle pattern has revealed itself: Dark Horse has reclaimed its position as fourth-largest publisher from IDW Publishing for three months straight. It’s a streak of growth in market and dollar share that hasn’t happened for Dark Horse since fall 2011.
It’s great news for an industry mainstay that seemed to be getting eclipsed by the younger IDW at its own game of mixing licensed properties with creator-owned titles. Whether it’s temporary or not, digging into the sales charts, it’s clear there’s more stability in Dark Horse’s catalog than there might first seem.
Obviously Star Wars is the property many know the company for, and when it was announced the license would move at the end of this year to Marvel, some worried how Dark Horse would carry on. However, most publishers realize that no license is forever, so Dark Horse has built a diverse library that seems to be lifting it up now. Despite such diversifying, Star Wars is still the big seller at comic shops, but it’s only the beginning. The back-to-back launch of The Star Wars, a comics adaptation of an early draft of George Lucas’ screenplay, and a back-to-basics Star Wars by Brian Wood provided two accessible titles; if you’d ever seen the original Star Wars trilogy, you’re all set. The last issue of The Star Wars comes out later this month, with a collection in both hardcover and softcover to follow in July.
Legal | Signe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed against the newspapers by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and his wife Lise Rapaport. The judge and his wife accuse the two papers of running a smear campaign against them, and the suit specifically mentions a Wilkinson cartoon satirizing their marital and work relationship (it’s complicated). Blogger Alan Gardner adds that he hasn’t been able to find a case in which a cartoonist was successfully sued for defamation, although in this case the newspapers’ reporting is part of the issue as well. [Philadelphia, The Daily Cartoonist]
“It is dreadful. But, this is what happens: You get better with time. I actually have been looking at it the last couple of days because I’m writing something where I have to reference things that happen in that first issue. The voice isn’t there. John [Byrne] and I had a completely different take on what the writing should be like on it. We didn’t have different ideas from each other, but together we’d agreed on this approach to the writing of it. It worked fine, but I realized after doing it that it wasn’t the book I had in mind.
It’s pretty primitive, and yet it does present all my ideas. It’s not like at some point I said, ‘Oh, we’ve gotta ignore everything that’s gone before!’ It’s one of the things I’m proudest of looking at 20 years worth of this stuff. I didn’t write myself into any corners, I didn’t have to hit any reset buttons, I’m still referencing things that are in these first couple issues of Hellboy. To some extent, I got it right right out of the bat story-wise. It’s the way it’s drawn and colored, all that stuff has gotten radically refined.
— Mike Mignola, reflecting on Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1, released in March 1994. The 20th anniversary of that first issue will be celebrated Saturday worldwide with Hellboy Day. You can see the list of participating retailers at the link.
I knew that Saturday is Hellboy Day, with events held around the globe to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy: Seed of Destruction #1 — but nobody told me there would be chocolate!
Pop Candy has the details about the limited-edition series of Hellboy chocolates, designed by renowned chocolatier Richard Ruskell, and featuring wrapper art by Mignola and names like Abe Sapien Sea Salt Bar, “Taste the Justice” Lobster Johnson Bar and Hellboy Inferno.
They’ll be available Saturday during the Hellboy Day event at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles, and afterward at Sweet! Hollywood.
“I know there’s a certain appeal for creators to work on the classic characters like Batman, Superman and Spider-Man, but I’ve said this before: I asked creators who have worked on those books who the people were doing the books ten years ago, and they don’t know! But I can say, ‘Who worked on Sin City?’ and they’ll go ‘Frank Miller.’ Who worked on Hellboy? Mike Mignola. Who worked on The Goon? Eric Powell. They know it instantly. So to me, the lure of creating your own character and owning it — owning your own universe and being associated with that — in the long run for talented writers and artists makes me question why someone would toil away on a company owned character for years and years of their lives.”
– Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson, discussing his company’s commitment to publishing creator-owned work
We featured The Mortal Vintner and its Mike Mignola-designed wine labels last year, and now the Dayton, Washington-based winery are releasing the “Skeleton Head” wine en primeur via its webstore for 10 days only. But you do get a 20-percent discount during that period. I notice buying the magnum gets you a little more Mignola art in the border.
This was a tough year for Boston Comic Con: It was originally scheduled for the weekend after the Boston Marathon, and although organizers worked tirelessly not to cancel the event, the venue was within the lockdown zone following the bombings, and the load-in day coincided with the massive manhunt forsuspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. In the end, they had no choice but to shut down the convention. As most of the talent was already in town, local retailers sponsored a number of mini-cons.
Despite the cheerful we-can-get-through-this attitude of that weekend, things were looking pretty bleak. And then Boston Comic Con came roaring back, in a new venue and with a new attitude. This year, it felt less like a local event and more like a big-city con, with a smattering of publisher booths and an array of top-tier talent. The convention has grown quickly, from 1,000 attendees at the first con in 2007 to 15,000 last year. This year, with a bigger venue and more guests, I’m guessing the final number will be even higher.