If, in the more than four years since its premiere on iTunes, you never got around to watching the 12-part motion-comic adaptation of Superman: Red Son, now’s your chance — for free: The fan site Superman Homepage notes that Warner Bros. has released the entire serial on YouTube, so you can judge for yourself how the 2003 Elseworlds miniseries by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson, Kilian Plunkett and others makes the transition.
Fair warning, though: It’s spread over 25 videos, and this 2009 adaptation may seem a little rough when compared to some more recent motion comics. But, hey, it’s free!
Digital comics | IDW Publishing released its first batch of digital comics on the motion-comics platform Madefire this week. The selection includes partially animated My Little Pony, Star Trek and Transformers comics, which sell for $1.99 each. Jeff Webber, IDW’s vice president of digital publishing, noted that because Madefire has a partnership with DeviantArt, the books are being exposed to “an incredibly broad network of illustration fans.” To commemorate My Little Pony’s Madefire debut, Dave Gibbons drew the image at right “to show that Friendship IS Magic!” `[Publishers Weekly]
Passings | Cartoonist Jack Matsuoka, who chronicled life in the Poston, Arizona, internment camp in his book Camp II, Block 211, has died at the age of 87. , Born in the United States to Japanese parents, Matsuoka was a teenager when his family was sent to internment camps in Salinas, California, and then Poston. After leaving the camp he was drafted and served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in occupied Japan. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for many years. Camp II, Block 211 was based on sketches he did while living in the camps and set aside for many years; his mother found them and encouraged him to share them with the public. They were put on exhibit in San Francisco and then collected into the book, which was first published in 1974. A revised edition was released in 2003. [The Rafu Shimpo]
“As a comic book publisher, I am growing tired of third parties coming up to us and saying, ‘You know what your problem is? More people would read comic books if they were digital somehow, like with some bad animation or if they were more Choose Your Own Adventure, where you clicked somehow while you were reading them.’ Yes, because the problem with novels is that the reader can’t control the story. Because movies would be better if the audience voted on an ending.
These people clearly never realize that their approach is insulting to the medium.”
Shout! Factory has announced the Sept. 10 release of Marvel Knights Animation’s Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, a motion-comics adaptation of the Marvel miniseries by Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof, artist Leinil Francis Yu and colorist Dave McCaig.
The comic is somewhat notorious for its lengthy delays: Announced as a six-issue bimonthly miniseries, Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk debuted in December 2006 but wasn’t completed until May 2009.
The 10th the title produced by Shout! Factory since 2009, it joins the likes of Inhumans, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., Black Panther and the latest, Wolverine: Origin, which was released July 26.
The direct-to-DVD release, which retails for $14.97, includes interviews with Yu and Marvel Knights Animation’s Supervising Producer Kalia Cheng. You can read the official synopsis below:
DC Entertainment will release a motion comic the explores the backstory of the upcoming Mad Max video game from Avalanche Studios and WB Games.
Written by Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2) and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander (Legends of the Dark Knight), the story introduces Max’s trusted mechanic Chumbucket, who plays a central role in the game, which will be released next year in conjunction with director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.
“I love the Mad Max movies,” Alexander tells USA Today, adding that the motion comic “was a great bit of nostalgia for me and also an opening to lend my own touches to this iconic character.”
In the game, set in the post-apocalyptic world of the movie series, Max must cross a desert wasteland after his Interceptor his stolen by a gang of marauders.
Shout! Factory has debuted the trailer for Marvel Knights Animation’s Wolverine: Origin, the motion-comic adaptation of the 2001-2002 limited series that, as the title suggests, revealed the early years of the ubiquitous Marvel mutant. It was written by Paul Jenkins from a story by Jenkins, Joe Quesada and Bill Jemas, and illustrated by Andy Kubert and Richard Isanove.
Wolverine: Origin is the ninth title produced by Shout! Factory since 2009, joining the likes of Inhumans, Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., Iron Man: Extremis, Black Panther and, most recently, Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable. It will be available on DVD beginning July 9 for $14.97.
The timing of the release couldn’t be better, considering that director James Mangold’s The Wolverine premieres July 26.
How quickly we’re evolving: From Yvyes Bigerel’s rough demo in February 2009 to the near-simultaneous launch of Mark Waid’s Thrillbent and Marvel’s Infinite Comics in March 2012 to the Marvel ReEvolution suite of digital initiatives announced earlier this year (and still coming). And now we have DC Comics’ entry, DC2 (“DC Squared”), which looks to be the company’s take on Bigerel’s concepts. Also announced is DC2 Multiverse, a choose-your-own-adventure style digital comic that will inform DC on readers’ story choices.
While the latter seems a little creepy, it’s becoming clear that after years of digital and webcomics primarily mimicking print comic books and comic strips, a new kind of comic is emerging, one that is changing how they’re made and read.
These current platforms were far from the first to experiment with digital. Artists like Cayetano Garza Jr. began experimenting with limited effects and layout as early as 1998. Scott McCloud’s infinite canvas theory, in which digital could break free of the confines of the limited dimensions of a page, was proposed in 2000, ironically in the pages of his print book Reinventing Comics. Experiments with using an infinite canvas followed, but it never grabbed hold as a standard format. Mostly, webcomics have echoed the structure and dimensions of daily newspaper strips with the occasional experimentation.
That means creators will be able to make their own motion comics using Madefire’s tools, and then distribute them through deviantART and the Madefire’s app. DeviantART also has a new Motion Books section in which visitors can preview a dozen Madefire titles previously only available on the company’s iOS app, and purchase chapters for 10 cents each (they remain free through the app for a limited time).
Creators | Laura Sneddon talks to Neal Adams about his life in comics, including the time Stan Lee offered him the opportunity to work on any comic Marvel published: “I said, ‘Ohh okay, I see. So what’s your worst-selling title?’ He said, ‘X-Men, we’re gonna cancel it in two issues.’ I said, ‘You know what, I’d like to do X-Men.’ He said, ‘I just told you we’re gonna cancel it in two issues.’ I say, ‘Well fine! You know for two issues I will do X-Men. And that will be fine.’ He said, ‘Well okay. We’ll [write/run] it as long as we can, we’ll make you a deal. You can do X-Men, then we cancel it, then you gotta work on an important book like the Avengers.’” [The New Statesman]
It will be the eighth title produced by Shout! Factory since 2009, joining the likes of Spider-Woman: Agent of S.W.O.R.D., Iron Man: Extremis, Black Panther and, most recently, Astonishing X-Men: Unstoppable. The Inhumans DVD will be available beginning April 23 for $14.97.
Debuting in November 1998, the Eisner Award-winning series follows the race of genetic outsiders as Black Bolt and the rest of the Royal Family attempt to repel attacks on their island kingdom of Attilan from without and within. Inhumans ran for just 12 issues.
While a 15-year-old series — rather than, say, something from the Avengers or Iron Man stables — may seem an unusual choice to receive the motion-comic treatment, it’s probably worth noting that Marvel Studios is gearing up for Phase Three of its cinematic universe, one that will include some of the company’s more offbeat properties, like Ant-Man and Doctor Strange. An Inhumans movie was confirmed in October 2011 as part of the studio’s agenda, and the third phase that begins in 2015 seems as likely a home for the project as any.
See the official synopsis for Marvel Knights Animation’s Inhumans below:
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian marked the U.S. Election Day with a short comic called America: Elect! that uses limited animation in some very effective ways. The comic is constructed as one continuous series of panels, and as the reader scrolls downward, elements move in and out of the picture — primary candidates get crossed out, a tiny Osama bin Laden falls from the sky, sign-carrying tea partiers pop into the panel.
The comic is credited to “Guardian US Interactive Team with Richard Adams and Erin McCann“; Adams is in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C., bureau, and McCann is a copy editor who recently wrote about New York Comic Con for the Guardian blog. It’s lighthearted and clever, and will take about five minutes to read. Of course, it’s also incomplete, as the comic was posted yesterday. The story says “stay tuned for the final chapter,” but it’s not clear where that’s going to be posted.
In April we spotlighted the first music video/motion comic collaboration between writer James Davidge, Saga artist Fiona Staples and Canadian alt-country band Cowpuncher, and now, six months later they’re at it again.
This time Davidge and Staples’ 2007 short story “Nouveau Hobo” is transformed into a music video for Cowpuncher’s “Kill All the Artists.” The story originally appeared in Davidge’s collection My Modern Panic: Short Stories.
Watch the video below, and listen to more Cowpuncher music on the band’s website.
Conventions | San Diego City Council has given final approval to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as necessary to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. The project still faces a legal challenge to a financing scheme involving a hotel-room surtax, as well as state regulatory approval, leading the city attorney to caution that the targeted 2017 completion date is just “a goal.” Whether Comic-Con organizers can be convinced to sign another three-year extension to their contract remains a big question. [NBC San Diego]
Conventions | Most of Heidi MacDonald’s article about New York Comic Con is behind a paywall at Publishers Weekly, but she pulls out some stats at The Beat: Ticket sales are up 190 percent over this time last year. As the capacity of the Javits Center is somewhere south of 110,000 people, this means the ReedPOP folks won’t sell any more tickets than last year, but they are selling out faster. Three-day and four-day passes are already gone, only Friday tickets remain, and ReedPOP vice president Lance Fensterman expects everything to be sold out by the time the show begins. [The Beat]
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.”