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Comics A.M. | San Diego enlists hotels to help keep CCI in city

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | The San Diego Tourism Authority is asking hotels in the Comic-Con International room block to freeze their rates at the 2016 level for the following two years, as part of its bid to keep the convention in the city. Already, 30 of the 50 participating hotels have agreed to do so. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Faulconer will attend the next Comic-Con board meeting to make an appeal to organizers to remain in the city; Tourism Authority CEO Joe Terzi said Anaheim has made a bid for Comic-Con, but the city’s convention bureau wouldn’t comment.

A plan to expand the San Diego Convention Center collapsed after the hotel-tax funding scheme was ruled unconstitutional, but Anaheim is preparing to break ground on its own 200,000-square-foot expansion. However, Comic-Con spokesman David Glanzer said, “Some people had mistakenly implied that an expanded convention center would be the thing that solidified our decision to stay or go, but there are a number of factors to be addressed: hotel room rates, available space within hotels and outside the center, things that could mitigate the issue of having outgrown the convention center. An expansion would be great for the city and us, but if it doesn’t happen we’ve been able to make do without it, and if we can mitigate the concerns we do have we’ll be able to stay here.” [U-T San Diego]

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Muradov makes GN debut with ‘(In a Sense) Lost and Found’

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After a series of short stories in anthologies like MySpace Dark Horse Presents, Chameleon and The Anthology Project Vol. 2cartoonist Roman Muradov is making his debut as a long-form storyteller next month with (In a Sense) Lost and Found.

In the graphic novel, from boutique publisher Nobrow, Muradov uses his flowing illustrative style to follow a young woman on a quest to find something she lost and tries to decide whether she even wants it to begin with. Saying more about the plot would spoil the book, but it’s only part of the appeal of the cartoonist’s work here.

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Nobrow to close its brick-and-mortar store this month

nobrowU.K. publisher Nobrow has announced it will close its London store after three and a half years to better concentrate on publishing and to expand its office space.

“Our desire is to focus on our core business, developing and producing the best content in visual publishing,” reads a statement on the Nobrow website. “With the increasing growth of our team, we have no choice but to expand the office space and, unfortunately, this is at the expense of the Nobrow Shop. Nobrow UK will still reside in the same historic premises, but with a significantly larger team – and our books will still be available everywhere that good books are sold.”

Although the brick-and-mortar shop, located at 62 Great Eastern St., will close on July 18, the publisher plans to launch an expanded online store in September.

Founded in 2008, the boutique publisher has made its mark with frequently inventive and ambitious releases, like a panoramic exploration of aviation history, and a surprising adaptation of Swan Lake.

What’s hot for summer and fall: Comics and graphic novels at BEA

Mel Caylo and the Lumberjanes at the BOOM! Studios booth

Mel Caylo and the Lumberjanes at the BOOM! Studios booth

Book Expo America is the annual trade show where publishers promote their upcoming books to retailers and librarians. BEA is all about books, but comics and graphic novels are a growing presence. Diamond had a dedicated area, as it has in previous years, several comics publishers had their own booths, and several of the big publishers featured graphic novels alongside their other titles, most notably Hachette, which gave quite a bit of space to Yen Press.

I spent Friday at the show looking at which books the publishers were drawing the most attention to. Here’s a very subjective account of what I saw.

Kid stuff! Children’s and YA graphic novels have been hot for a couple of years, and the news that Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters is getting a 200,000 copy initial print run got a lot of buzz. Of course, the BEA crowd has been on board with her work for a while, and they lined up in droves for her book signing. The same was true of Jeff Kinney, who was signing copies of The Wimpy Kid School Planner at the Abrams booth; the crowd just kept on coming. And the staff at the BOOM! Studios table were hustling as attendees grabbed copies of their Adventure Time and Bravest Warrior collections as well as their third original Peanuts graphic novel, Peanuts: The Beagle Has Landed, which takes Snoopy to the moon.

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The U.K. graphic novel renaissance rolls on

The-Man-Who-LaughsIt’s been a big couple of weeks for U.K. comics publishing, and a lot of that might have to do with this weekend’s Comica Festival (a.k.a. “the 10th London International Comics Festival”). There has been a rush of titles from British graphic novel publishers of late, no doubt timed for a big push at this most art-centric of U.K. comics conventions (it’s hosted this year at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, and I dare anyone of a certain vintage to think of that place and not start humming this).

There’s a lot of great stuff out there at the minute that’s maybe not getting enough coverage internationally, so let’s do a round-up, shall we? There’s a myth that the American comics audience is insular, so let’s disprove it: These books are even already available in English, although their spelling is a bit suspect at times. Yeah, you heard me, buy a dictionary, limeys!

The Man Who Laughs, the oddest of Victor Hugo’s novels, adapted by David Hine and Mark Stafford, published by SelfMadeHero: Hine has posted a host of  panels from the book at his blog. I was previously ignorant of Stafford’s work, but these are some handsome-looking samples; they reminded me a little of the great Dave Cooper. Hine is always good value, and has a track record of making some genuinely unsettling comics (Strange Embrace, The Bulletproof Coffin), so this sounds like the perfect alignment of talent to source material.

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Jet-setting art explorion with High Times aviation panorama

Usually between all of the gang here at Robot 6, we’re able to pinpoint the great new things coming out in comics either when they arrive, and sometimes while they’re on their way. But one thing that slipped under the radar in October is now making its presence known.

High Times: A History of Aviation isn’t a comic in the traditional sense, but it’s definitely a comic. Created as part of U.K. boutique publisher Nobrow‘s Leporello series, this creation by the German artist duo known as Golden Cosmos celebrates the cultural history of aviation with an expansive art print done on both sides of an accordian-folded 54″ panorama.

Both Golden Cosmos and Nobrow are relatively unknown in the United States, but that’s bound to change. Last year Nobrow secured a U.S. distribution deal, and its epicly high-quality printing — and content to match — is slowly making its way into better comic stores nationwide. High Times is available on Amazon, through your local comic shop, or directly from Nobrow’s website.

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Check out an inventive Swan Lake comic from Ping Zhu

Comics have been home to stories from various mediums, but this might be a new one.

The ambitiously creative UK publisher Nobrow has recently released a a comic take  of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake ballet by artist Ping Zhu. In this impressively inventive fold out comic, the cartoonist shows the performance on one side of the accordion-style book, while on the other Zhu shows the backstage antics. Here’s picture of the book, provided by the publisher:

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