For those not familiar with it, The Ride is an anthology series conceived by 12-Gauge president Keven Gardner that features various stories of murder and mayhem, with the unifying theme of a 1968 Camaro that appears in each story. Creators who worked on The Ride in the past include Chuck Dixon, Cully Hamner, Doug Wagner, Ron Marz, Jason Pearson, Brian Stelfreeze and many more. And now you can add Nathan Edmondson and Paul Azaceta to the list, as they prep the engine for a new The Ride series, a preview of which will appear alongside the Gale Anne Hurd-conceived Anti on FCBD.
Courtesy of 12-Gauge, here’s an exclusive look at the cover for The Ride by artist Andrew Robinson, and you can find a page from the book after the jump. Free Comic Book Day is May 5.
Legal | The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI on Thursday shut down the popular file-sharing site Megaupload, seized $50 million in assets and charged its founder and six others with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy that’s cost copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. The FBI has begun extradition proceedings in New Zealand to bring company founder Kim Schmitz, aka Kim DotCom, to the United States. He and three other associates are being held without bail until Monday, when they’ll receive a new hearing. Three others remain at large. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
News of the shutdown was met with retaliation by the hacker collective Anonymous, which attacked the websites of the Justice Department and the Motion Picture Association of America.
Passings | British cartoonist Ronald Searle, best known as the creator of the fictional St. Trinian’s School, passed away Friday at a hospital near his home in southeastern France. He was 91. His spiky drawings of the wicked pupils of the girls school debuted in 1941 in Lilliput magazine, leading to five books and seven films. Searle, a Cambridge native, also co-authored (with Geoffrey Willans) the Molesworth book series. [Reuters]
Conventions | Four-day passes for New York Comic Con go on sale for $85 today at noon ET/9 a.m. PT. The event will be held Oct. 11-14 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. [press release]
Conventions | Comiket, the world’s largest self-published comic book fair, drew a total of 500,000 people for its winter convention, held Thursday through Saturday at the Tokyo Big Sight in Japan. Held twice a year, in August and December, the event doesn’t use turnstiles or unique passes, so a visitor who attends all three days would be counted each time. [Anime News Network]
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Image Comics, the company formed by a group of artists who left the security of work-for-hire comics to create and own their own comics. It’s been 20 years of ups and downs, but one thing that has remained consistent is a focus on creator-owned work.
With 2011 in the history books and their big anniversary kicking off with the first Image Expo, a new ad campaign and high-profile series by big-name creators like Brian K. Vaughan, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jonathan Hickman, Nick Spencer and many more, I thought it was a good time to chat with Publisher Eric Stephenson about the state of the company, the year that was, their upcoming plans and anything else he was willing to talk about. My thanks to Eric for taking the time to answer my questions.
JK Parkin: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview, Eric. Incidentally, another feature we’re running as a part of our anniversary bash is one where we asked various comic industry folks about what they’re looking forward to in 2012. I got one back yesterday where the answer was basically “everything from Image Comics.” I find that interesting, because there’s a lot of diversity in Image’s line and although I think you guys probably publish something for every kind of taste, I wouldn’t think that every title would appeal to every comic reader. And yet I also find myself checking out at least the first issue of everything you guys have done lately. So from your perspective, what’s the unifying factor (or factors) right now among your titles, if there is one?
Stephenson: I think the main thing is that we’re moving forward and creating new things. We’re not content to just recycle the same old ideas month in and month out and then market it all as brand new. If this was another publisher, we’d be debuting our latest spin-off of The Walking Dead in March, but instead, we’re launching a new series by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, a new series by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra, a new series by Joe Keatinge and Andre Szymanowicz, and so on. For 20 years, Image has put its faith in creative people, and it’s the power of their imagination that links all our titles together, now more than ever.
Image Comics released the first issue of The Activity a couple of weeks ago, by writer Nathan Edmondon and artist Mitch Gerads. The comic focuses on the U.S Army’s last secret special operations tribe, The Intelligence Support Activity, or Gray Fox. “Within Gray Fox is a team of elite men and women whose mission is flexible, whose technology is bleeding edge, and whose execution is precise and lethal. They are Team Omaha, and they serve The Activity.”
Edmondson has been making a name lately on espionage-fueled series like Grifter and Who Is Jake Ellis?, and with the second issue of The Activity due in a couple of weeks, I thought I’d go back and see what people thought of the first issue. Here are just a few of the reviews so far:
Brian Bannen, Unwinnable: “Buying a first issue of a new series can be a lot like gambling. Usually, you get a 50/50 chance of picking up a real stinker. The Activity, however, reads like Brian De Palma’s Mission Impossible. Nathan Edmondson (Olympus) pens the tale of an elite squad of military and civilian personnel, each with his or her own special talent. While their task still remains a secret, I enjoyed the spy-thriller feel Edmondson crafts and the uneasy resolution with which he leaves readers.”
Courtesy of writer Nathan Edmondson (Grifter, Who Is Jake Ellis?), we’re pleased to present a preview of the second issue of The Activity, which goes on sale Jan. 11. Illustrated by Mitch Gerads and published by Image Comics, The Activity debuted this past week and focuses on the U.S Army’s last secret special operations tribe, The Intelligence Support Activity, or Gray Fox. Within Gray Fox is a team of elite men and women whose mission is flexible, whose technology is bleeding edge, and whose execution is precise and lethal. They are Team Omaha, and they serve The Activity.
“After the overwhelming response to issue #1, we’re primed to light the fuse on issue #2, out in just two weeks!” Edmondson said about the preview.
Check out the preview and solicitation text after the jump. You can read more about the series in CBR’s interview with Edmondson about the book.
Comics | ICv2′s latest report on the comics market shows a mixed picture for monthly comics and graphic novels. While DC’s New 52 reboot has helped push comics sales, the graphic-novel versions of those comics won’t be out for months — and Amazon is gobbling up a larger and larger share of graphic novel sales, especially at the high end. And this is interesting: “Digital sales are growing as a percentage of the market, but apparently not at the expense of print sales. Retailers interviewed by ICv2 do not feel they’re losing sales to digital competition on DC’s day and date titles.” That seems to be more anecdote than data, but you would think retailers would be the first to notice a drop in sales. The report also includes lists of the top 10 properties in various categories. [ICv2]
Publishing | IDW’s Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein attributes a bump in the company’s September sales to several factors, including DC’s big relaunch: “The reality is the DC New 52 brought some people into comic book stores that hadn’t been in comic stores for a while, and we had the opportunity to sell them some of our books as well as the other books that are available to them. But clearly, people who had not been focused on comics came out of the woodwork a bit.” It didn’t hurt that IDW had its own launches of properties familiar to those outside of comics, including the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, an ongoing Star Trek series and the Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover. [ICv2]
Legal | A Belgian judicial adviser has recommended that the nation’s courts reject a four-year-old bid by a Congolese student to have Herge’s 1931 Tintin in the Congo banned, or at least restricted, because of its racist depictions. The recommendation is being viewed as a major setback for the case, as the opinion of the Procureur du Roi (Senior Crown prosecutor) is requested and typically followed by the court. [The Guardian]
On the heels of Monday’s Stormwatch teaser, David Macho has unveiled a trailer for Grifter #1, which integrates the Jim Lee-created Wildstorm character into the DC Universe in one of nine titles in “The Edge” group.
Cole Cash is a charming grifter few can resist. And yet he’s about to be branded a serial killer when he begins hunting and exterminating inhuman creatures hidden in human form – creatures only he can see!
Can the biggest sweet talker of all time talk his way out of this one when even his brother thinks he’s gone over the edge?
Written by Nathan Edmondson (Who is Jake Ellis?) and illustrated by CAFU (T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), Grifter #1 premieres on Sept. 14.
Writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Tonci Zonjic seem to be knocking it out of the part with their Image series Who Is Jake Ellis? With the first issue selling out and two subsequent issues hitting the stands like clockwork, Who Is Jake Ellis? is turning into a star-maker for the both of them. With #4 in the can and scheduled for release on June 1, we asked the duo if they could share anything special with us here at Robot 6 and they happily obliged.
Below are three pages from Who Is Jake Ellis? in the raw penciled stage from Zonjic’s drawing board.
The duo are hard at work on the fifth and final installment of the first series, USA Today recently revealed that the duo are already planning both a sequel and a third series in the franchise. Nice!
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly round-up of the comics and other stuff that have escaped the unread stacks of books next to our beds. Our special guest this week is Nathan Edmondson, writer of the Image comics Who is Jake Ellis?, The Light and Olympus. To see what Nathan and the Robot 6 crew have bene reading, click below.
This Wednesday marks the launch of writer Nathan Edmondson‘s quirky spy thriller five-issue miniseries for Image: Who Is Jake Ellis? The core concept is defined as follows: “Jon Moore is the most sought after spy-for-hire in Europe’s criminal world. This is because of Jake Ellis, a psychic man who is invisible to everyone except Moore. When a deal goes bad, the only one who can protect Moore from Europe’s most dangerous criminals is Jake Ellis. No one but Moore can see Jake Ellis. But Jake Ellis can see everything.” There’s clearly a great deal of advance interest in the series. According to Edmondson: “HeavyInk.com, one of the internet’s foremost comics retailers, reports that WHO IS JAKE ELLIS? #1 is the 3rd highest pre-ordered book for January–just below THE WALKING DEAD and BRIGHTEST DAY.” In addition to discussing Who Is Jake Ellis?, Edmondson (author of Olympus) and I also discuss the recent release of The Light TPB. In addition, HeavyInk offers a five-page preview of the first issue.
Tim O’Shea: What prompted you to go the psychological thriller route with Who Is Jake Ellis?
Nathan Edmondson: Part of what sparked Who Is Jake Ellis? was my interest in the idea that covert and special forces operatives put complete trust in those working for and alongside them. Those in the field or undercover rely 100% on the intel and action and defense of others. They’re comfortable doing this because they know exactly what those people are capable of and how well they are trained. I mean, it’s no easy task to turn your back to gunfire and trust the person at your back to defend you. And many operatives do that very thing. So that was one psychological dynamic that’s fascinated me.
The other theme is one of friendship, and more specifically, taking a friend for granted. I’ve done it and I know many people have and that’s something Jon has to consider in the story.
Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15:
There are a lot of great periodicals coming out this week, so I’d have some hard choices to make. With only $15, I’d concentrate first on those with the cheapest prices: the first issue of Dark Horse’s new Mighty Samson ($3.50), Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2 ($3.50), and Mouse Guard: Black Axe #1 ($3.50). I’m already a huge fan of both Atomic Robo and Mouse Guard and – based on its concept and vague memories of stories I read as a kid – hope to become one of Mighty Samson too. I’d spend the last of my money on Northern Guard #1, because I’m a sucker for Canadian superheroes.
If I had $30:
I’d add Doc Macabre #1 ($3.99), John Byrne’s Next Men #1 ($3.99), and Strange Tales 2 #3 ($4.99). “Doc Macabre” is an awesome name and I love Steve Niles’ pulp stuff, I’ve been waiting 16 years for that Next Men issue, and the Strange Tales book has a Kate Beaton story in which the Avengers go to a carnival. I’d pay five bucks just for Beaton’s deal, but it’s also got a Thing tale by Harvey Pekar (and yes, Harvey Pekar is in the story).
Nathan Edmondson, who recently wrapped up the horror comic The Light, has a new comic in the works, and the first issue will be hitting the stands in January: Who Is Jake Ellis?, written by Edmondson and drawn by Tonci Zonjic, whose other credits include Popgun, The Immortal Iron Fist, and Daredevil.
Edmondson spoke with CBR about Who Is Jake Ellis? when it was announced at the New York Comic Con, and Edmondson and Zonjic have set up a dedicated website for the comic with a preview, downloadable art, and links to their Twitter feeds.
Edmondson was kind enough to share an unreleased page from the book with us (above), and had this to say about the project:
Tonci and I have put our heads together to make what we believe will be something exceptionally intriguing, thrilling, mysterious, and more than a bit fun. We’re just flat out thrilled with the incredible response so far just at the pre-order level–retailers getting the word out, fans taking it upon themselves to supply stores with postcards for the book–it keeps on getting better. Numbers seem to double daily.
This preview, especially the splash page, is a fine example of Tonci matching brilliance with diligence. Expect more of this, and some art that will blow you away.
It’s coming January 5.