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Neil Gaiman writing video game ‘Wayward Manor’

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It appears 2013 is going to be another banner year for Neil Gaiman: He’s already following the release of a new novel with a highly anticipated return to The Sandman, and now comes word that he’s writing a video game.

In an interview with Mashable, the author reveals he’s working with the video game companies Odd Gentlemen and Moonshark on a multiplatform game titled Wayward Manor that centers on a haunted house. Set for release this fall, it follows a ghostly resident of the manor as he encounters the various owners and tenants of the house over a 200-year period. Sounds scary? Gaiman’s got more for you than just horror.

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Neil Gaiman and John Barrowman among Eisner presenters

eisnerawards_logoNeil Gaiman, Torchwood and Arrow star John Barrowman and Futurama voice actors Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom and David Herman will be among the presenters at the 25th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony, held July 19 during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

They’ll be joined by talk-show host and comics writer Jonathan Ross, TV host Chris Hardwick, artist (and nominee) Becky Cloonan, writer/artist Bill Morrison, Hall of Fame cartoonist Sergio Aragonés and promised “special surprises.” This year’s title sponsor is Syfy.

Doors will open to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom at 7:45 p.m., with the Eisner Awards ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. Advance seating will start at 7 p.m. for nominees, sponsors, presenters and attendees with pro badges. Everyone who attends the ceremony will receive a graphic novel from the Will Eisner Library, published by DC Comics.

In addition to the 30 Eisner categories, other presentations will include the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award and the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.

J.H. Williams III reveals ‘Sandman: Overture’ cover in all its glory

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The New York Times premiered a small image of the cover for The Sandman: Overture #1 in its article about concentrated efforts to rebuild Vertigo, but artist J.H. Williams III wasn’t happy with how dull it appeared on the newspaper’s website. And so, lucky for us, he’s revealed super-sized versions on his own blog, both with text and without.

Debuting Oct. 30, the bimonthly six-issue miniseries details the events that led Morpheus to be exhausted and so easily captured in 1989′s The Sandman #1. Boasting covers by Williams and original series cover artist Dave McKean, the title will alternate with The Sandman: Overture Special Edition, which includes Gaiman’s original scripts, Williams’ concept art and sketches, interviews with the creative team and more.

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Neil Gaiman to get the spotlight in new Sequart documentary

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Sequart Research & Literacy Organization and Respect! Films, the folks behind the documentaries Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, are next turning their camera on bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman.

Directed by Patrick Meaney, the documentary is described as “an all-access look at the scribe’s illustrious, media-spanning career, from his first foray into published writing all the way up to the current signing tour for his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” It will include footage from Gaiman’s lectures and readings, as well as from his performances with Amanda Palmer, and interviews with his fans, contemporaries and collaborators.

More details are expected to be revealed over the summer, with the documentary premiering in 2015. In the meantime you can check out the teaser trailer below.

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Neil Gaiman takes over Guardian Books site for the day

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Bestselling novelist and comics writer Neil Gaiman took over the Guardian Books site today — “Even as I write this the power is starting to go to my head,” he cautions in his introduction — and delivered precisely the kind of content you would expect: There’s a gallery of artwork by his longtime collaborator Dave McKean; Damian Walter’s Q&A with Harlan Ellison; an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane; an invitation for readers to write a story with the author (he provided the opening, “It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.”); and a webchat.

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Vertigo poised to ‘redefine the industry standards’ of genre fiction

Vertigo ComicsIf the recent New York Times profile of former Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger — to say nothing of industry sentiment — made it appear as if the position and prestige of the 20-year-old imprint have been greatly diminished under the restructured DC Entertainment, the company would like to assure you otherwise.

A new Associated Press article, which seems tailored in response to that May 29 piece, turns the spotlight away from Berger and on to her successor Shelly Bond, who has worked at the imprint since its launch in 1993.

The Times contends that Berger’s departure in March “raises questions about the future of Vertigo and where its renegade spirit fits into an industry and a company that seem increasingly focused on superhero characters who can be spun off into movies and TV shows.” However, Bond speaks in rosier terms about the direction of the imprint, which lost its last founding title — and longtime flagship — in February with the end of Hellblazer (which was resurrected in the DC Universe as Constantine).

“I am so ready to bring in some new blood and new bravado and just continue to show the masses that comics are the most essential part of pop culture,” she tells The AP.

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Neil Gaiman, the Cybermen and ‘Doctor Who’s’ comics links

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I’ve often heard creators who’ve worked on the comic-book adventures of Doctor Who comment that current showrunner Steven Moffat is somewhat dismissive of the contributions comics have made to the character’s extended canon. That said, last Saturday’s episode featured the recurring series MacGuffin “the Eye of Harmony,” which has Alan Moore to thank for around 50 percent of its backstory.

In his first season in charge, Moffat inserted an episode based upon the Doctor Who Monthly strip “The Lodger” by Gareth Roberts, adapted by Roberts himself. His second season featured the Ray Bradbury and Hugo award-winning “The Doctor’s Wife” written by Neil Gaiman, who’s been known to write a comic or two in his time. He’s returned to the series this season to write “Nightmare in Silver.”

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Quote of the Day | ‘Try everything. Make mistakes.’

neil gaiman

“The model for tomorrow, and this is the model I’ve been using with enormous enthusiasm since I started blogging back in 2001, is to try everything. Make mistakes. Surprise ourselves. Try anything else. Fail. Fail better. And succeed in ways we never would have imagined a year or a week ago.”

Neil Gaiman, in his keynote address to the London Book Fair’s fifth Digital Minds Conference

What Are You Reading? with Evan Young

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Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and whatever else we’ve been checking out lately. Today we are joined by guest Evan Young, an “influential pioneer” of digital literature and creator of the digital graphic novel The Carrier. He’s currently raising funds for his next project, The Last West, via Kickstarter, so head over there and check it out.

To see what Evan and the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novel sales boost Books-A-Million profits

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Books-A-Million

Comics sales | The bookstore chain Books-A-Million had an up year, and CEO Terrance G. Finley credited that in part to strong graphic novel sales, including The Walking Dead and kids’ graphic novels. [ICv2]

Digital comics | Wired runs down a handful of digital comics apps, noting both the pluses and the minuses of each one. [Wired]

Creators | Yehudi Mercado talks about his kid-friendly comic Pantalones, TX, which is filled with Saturday morning cartoon-style action, authority-questioning, and risky business: “I did purposefully envision Pantalones, TX as the anti-safety pad cartoon. I see my nieces and nephews growing up in a sheltered and sanitized environment, they don’t play outdoors at all. When I was a kid we shot fireworks at each other while playing in a bayou. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, but there should be a balance.” [Wired]

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Quote of the Day | Todd McFarlane on Angela’s Marvel debut

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“The health of the industry is based upon having good stories and good characters, and a wide customer base. If bringing some of these characters back to the fold in a meaningful way adds to that, then it just strengthens our industry. [...] “Good stories that entertain are something that we all should applaud on any level. Whether we’re doing it directly at Image Comics, or at our competition, it helps keep our industry that we love alive. I will sit back and be as interested as anyone else.”

Todd McFarlane, who was embroiled in a nearly decade-long legal battle with Neil Gaiman over the rights to the characters they co-created in Spawn #9, responding to the announcement last week that the writer will introduce Angela into the Marvel Universe this summer. McFarlane also confirmed to Newsarama that as part of the 2012 resolution to their lawsuit, Gaiman owns the rights to Angela outright.

By the Numbers | Waiting for Marvelman

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In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers.

With Thursday’s announcement that Neil Gaiman is returning to the Marvel Universe and bringing with him Angela, the character at the center of his eight-year legal battle with Todd McFarlane, we’re left to wonder about the whereabouts of Marvelman. We also look at the surprise departures at DC Comics, and what the right price is when you name your own.

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Angela cosplayer celebrates Marvel’s Neil Gaiman news

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Few were more excited by this morning’s announcement that Neil Gaiman will introduce Angela into the Marvel Universe than Kearstin Fay Nicholson, who referred to it on the Comic Book Resources Facebook page as the “greatest news I’ve heard all day.” That’s because the Chicago-based cosplayer won The Superhero Costuming Forum‘s 2012 Most Epic Female Costume Contest for her take on the Spawn character — and deservedly so.

You can see for yourself below, and on Nicholson’s photo gallery.

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Neil Gaiman introduces his children’s book ‘Fortunately, the Milk’

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Beyond a vague description of it as “a very silly children’s book,” we’ve been given scant details about Fortunately, the Milk, the upcoming collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Skottie Young (for the U.S. edition) and Chris Riddell (for the U.K. version). But at long last, the author has broken his silence in a video introduction from SFX.

“It’s the silliest, strangest, most ridiculous book I’ve ever written. And I’m damned proud of it,” Gaiman says. “It’s called Fortunately, the Milk. It’s the story of a father who goes out to bring back milk for his children and, at least according to him, on the way is kidnapped by aliens, kidnapped again by pirates, rescued by a stegosaurus in a hot-air balloon. He has a nearly fatal encounter with a volcano god, there’s a ridiculous amount of time travel. There are ponies. There are vampires, or possibly one-pires, there are interstellar dinosaur police, and there’s a happy ending. And fortunately for everybody, there’s milk. Can a container of milk save the universe?”

Officially announced in July as part of the author’s five-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books, Fortunately, the Milk will be released Sept. 17 in the United States, and in October (from Bloomsbury) in the United Kingdom. Watch the video below, and check out Skottie Young’s cover for the U.S. edition.

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This week it’s a choice between navy beans and Nova

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Nova #1

Nova #1

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d buy the leading contender for best ongoing series this year, Saga #10 (Image, $2.99). I loved the last issue focusing on the Will, but I’m excited at the prospect this one teases of Izabel returning – although in a red-tinged, seemingly evil demeanor. After that I’d get another creator-owned gem with Francesco Francavilla’s The Black Beetle #2 (Dark Horse, $3.99). I love the latitude Dark Horse is giving Francavilla in the design packaging here – that cover is something special — and luckily, the insides have the promise of being even better given what happened last issue. Third and last in my $15 haul this week would be Dark Horse Presents #21 (Dark Horse, $7.99). Criminally underrated and consciously mind-blowing, this issue promises three new serials debuting plus a collaboration between Neil Gaiman and Paul Chadwick about alien saucers. Why isn’t this a top-selling book?

If I had $30, I’d make it a Dark Horse trifecta with Conan the Barbarian #13 (Dark Horse, $3.50). How does Brian Wood do it, finding such great artists that no one else knows about like Mirko Colak? This time, Conan tries to conquer the desert. Then I’d do a Marvel trifecta: Avengers #6 (Marvel, $3.99), Nova #1 (Marvel, $3.99) and Thor: God of Thunder #5 (Marvel, $3.99). Avengers has seemingly the origin of my formerly most favorite D-list hero in the Marvel Universe, Captain Universe – until she upgraded to the A-list as an Avenger. Then Nova has a spirited, seemingly kid-friendly romp by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. Then Thor … Thor. This thoroughly dark and mythic story has made Jason Aaron’s beard even more ominous than before.

If I could splurge, I’d get Alter-Ego #115 (TwoMorrows, $8.95). Normally a magazine about comics, in this issue they collect some lost gems – namely the stereoscopic comics (3-D!) – of the 1950s. 3-D glasses included, this issue contains work by Joe Simon, Jack Kirby, Joe Kubert, Curt Swan (!!), George Tuska and more. Truly a highlight of the week.

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