HarperCollins Children’s Books announced this morning it has signed a five-book deal with bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman that includes a collaboration with comic artist Skottie Young.
Publishers Weekly reports the agreement begins in January with Chu’s Day, the first of two pictures books about a little panda with an outsized sneeze illustrated by Adam Rex. The remaining books are Fortunately, the Milk, the middle-grade novel illustrated by Young and described as “an ode to the pleasure and wonders of storytelling itself,” a sequel to 2008′s Odd and the Frost Giants, and a third currently untitled book.
Dave McKean was at one point set to illustrate Fortunately, the Milk, which Gaiman referred to last fall as “a very silly children’s book” that “was meant to be about the length of The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish, but it’s actually about four or five times as long.”
Gaiman has published 13 novels and picture books through HarperCollins Children’s Books, including the Newbery-winning The Graveyard Book.
This isn’t comics, but it’s certainly comics-adjacent. Kelly Thompson writes the She Has No Head! column for Robot 6′s sibling blog Comics Should Be Good and is also one of the hosts of the 3 Chicks Review Comics podcast. She’s also written a contemporary fantasy novel that she’s hoping to get published through Kickstarter. She describes The Girl Who Would Be King this way:
Separated by thousands of miles, two young women are about to realize their extraordinary powers which will bind their lives together in ways they can’t begin to understand.
Protecting others. Maintaining order. Being good. These are all important things for Bonnie Braverman, even if she doesn’t understand why. Confined to a group home since she survived the car accident that killed both her parents, Bonnie has lived her life until now in self-imposed isolation and silence; but when an opportunity presents itself to help another girl in need, Bonnie has to decide whether to actually use the power she has long suspected she has. Power that frightens her.
Across the country, Lola LeFever is inheriting her own power by sending her mother over a cliff…literally. For Lola the only thing that matters is power; getting it, taking it, and eliminating anyone who would get in the way of her pursuit of it. With her mother dead and nothing to hold her back from the world any longer, Lola sets off to test her own powers on anyone unfortunate enough to cross her. And Lola’s not afraid of anything.
One girl driven to rescue, save, and heal; the other driven to punish, destroy, and kill.
And now they’re about to meet.
Paul Tobin (Marvel Adventures, Gingerbread Girl) announced yesterday that his first novel, Prepare to Die will be published this summer (June 5 is the current target date) by Night Shade Books. Appropriately, it’s a superhero story.
Tobin describes the book as being about a hero named Reaver who during a battle receives the traditional villains’ imperative: “Prepare to Die!” When Reaver surprisingly accepts his fate and asks for time to prepare, his arch-nemesis grants it. The novel explores Reaver’s trip to his hometown where he attempts to make peace with the past, but also finds a new reason to want to see the future.
Though he makes clear that he’s not leaving comics, Tobin states that he expects the novel to be the first of many, though not necessarily all about the same characters. The attraction of novels for him is to “delve into characters on a level that would take fifty comic book issues to explore.”
Stayed tuned to Tobin’s website for more details, including sample chapters.
Scholastic has premiered a new trailer for Bone: Quest for the Spark, by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith, ahead of the release of the second volume on Feb. 1.
The prose trilogy, which includes illustrations by Smith, follows a new generation of Bone characters into the Valley. Here’s the description of Vol. 2:
The Nacht, the evil dragon that threatens to destroy both the Dreaming and the Waking World, is growing stronger, and twelve-year-old Tom Elm is the champion the Dreaming has chosen to defeat it. Along with Roderick the raccoon, Percival Bone and his nephew and niece, Randolf, Lorimar, and the two stupid Rat Creatures, Tom must race to find the missing pieces of the Spark. This leg of the journey introduces him to a trio of scheming bears and takes him into the depths of a dangerous beehive. And, on top of everything else, a traitor might be among them.
In related news, comiXology is offering the entire Bone series — individual issues and collections alike — at half the download price through Thursday. You can even get the first issue for free.
This week saw the release of the $1 first issue of The Strain from Dark Horse Comics, an adaptation of the trilogy of novels by director Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth) and novelist Chuck Hogan (The Town, Prince of Thieves). Stray Bullets creator David Lapham joins artist Mike Huddleston (Butcher Baker Righteous Maker, The Homeland Directive) in adapting the vampires-meets-Contagion story into comics form.
Here’s a sampling of what folks are saying about the first issue:
Rocco Sansone, Review Fix: “The Strain: Volume 1 does follow the original novel closely with the introducing all the main characters, the plane with everyone dead and the prologue with the old lady telling the tale of Jusef Sardu. Sometimes adapting a novel into comic form can be tricky and Dark Horse has managed to pull off the prologue and the first chapter in a good way.”
Big Tim, Giant Fire Breathing Robot: “The Strain #1 primarily focuses on a Boeing 777 at JFK International Airport that sits silently on the runway. Before long, fearing a terrorist attack, the Center for Disease Control calls in our hero, Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, and his team of expert biologists. What does this potential terrorist attack have to do with an elderly pawnbroker from Spanish Harlem? Well, I guess you’ll have to wait and see. Taking the reigns of The Strain and translating it to comics, is Eisner Award-winning writer David Lapham, and judging by the first issue, he has captured the twisted mystery of del Toro’s imagination, firmly planted in the urban fantasy setting.”
The thriller follows Michael Tiranno, aka The Tyrant, an orphaned farm boy in Sicily who’s adopted by the local mob godfather after the murder of his parents. Tiranno becomes a master of finance, eventually becoming the owner of The Seven Sins, “the grandest and most extravagant casino in the world.” But when Las Vegas is targeted by terrorists, Tiranno returns to his homeland to track down those responsible.
DC struck the deal with King Midas World Entertainment, which envisions a multimedia franchise — the film rights were optioned in 2008 — including, eventually, a real Seven Sins casino. Talks reportedly began with the comics publisher as far back as 2009.
Fabrizio Boccardi, founder of King Midas World Entertainment and, according to this video, the inspiration for The Tyrant, tells the trade paper, “We conceived the character as the Batman of Las Vegas. Honestly, I want to build a franchise. I know it’s not an easy task but I’d like to create something that can endure longer than just three movies.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Nate Cosby, co-writer of the upcoming Image series Pigs and editor of the upcoming Jim Henson’s The Storyteller anthology, which will feature stories by an impressive group of talented creators.
To see what Nate and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Welcome to a special Super Bowl Sunday edition of What Are You Reading? Not that it’s any different from a regular WAYR column, but you can enjoy it while eating hot wings while the TV is paused.
Today our special guest is biology professor Jay Hosler, creator of Clan Apis and Optical Allusions. His latest book, Evolution, with artists Kevin Cannon and Zandor Cannon, was recently released by Hill & Wang. Check out his blog for a story he’s working on about photosynthesis.
To see what Jay and the Robot 6 gang are reading, click below.
With just two weeks to go, Comic-Con International has released the programming schedule for the first full day of the event. The highlights for Thursday, July 22, include:
• A discussion with Jeff Smith (10 to 11 a.m., Room 5AB)
• “DC Comics Writers Unite!,” with Paul Levitz, Dennis O’Neil, J. Michael Straczynski, Gail Simone, Judd Winick and moderator James Robinson (10:15 to 11:15 a.m., Room 6DE)
• DC Talent Search, with editorial art director Mark Chiarello (10:30 to 11: 30 a.m., Room 4)
• “Divas and Golden Lassoes: The LGBT Obsession with Super Heroines,” with Marc Andreyko, Phil Jimenez, Andy Mangels, Michael Troy and moderator Charles “Zan” Christensen ( 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Room 8 )
• BOOM! Irredeemable/Incorruptible panel, with Mark Waid and Peter Krause (11 a.m. to noon, Room 32AB)
• Walt Disney Pictures: Tron: Legacy, with exclusive glimpses of the film, plus director Joe Kosinski, stars Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen and Bruce Boxleitner, and moderator Patton Oswalt The discussion, moderated by Patton Oswalt, is set to include exclusive glimpses of the film, as well as a Q&A involving all panel participants, along with special surprise guests. (11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., Hall H)
Comic-con or no comic-con, gods or no gods, we aim to keep What Are You Reading up and running every Sunday regardless. Our special guest this week is none other than the one, the only Abhay Khosla. Abhay’s a regular contributor to Brian Hibbs’ Savage Critics Web site, but can also usually be found lurking about here.
To see what Abhay and everyone else is reading, click the little linky …
At the risk of repeating something already covered in JK’s convention roundup, there’s at least one publishing announcement from this weekend that deserves another look: Marvel has turned to novelists Seth Grahame-Smith, Jonathan Maberry and David Wellington for the next installment of its Marvel Zombies franchise.
Maberry, author of Patient Zero, already is familiar to Marvel readers for his “Wolverine: Ghosts” short, Punisher MAX: Naked Kill one-shot and his upcoming run on Black Panther. Wellington penned the Monster trilogy of zombie-apocalypse novels — Island, Nation and Planet — the Laura Caxton vampire series, and the werewolf novel Frostbite.
And Grahame-Smith made a splash a few months ago with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, a widely publicized mashup that combines the 1813 Jane Austin classic with elements of zombie fiction. His follow-up is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The three will join comics writer Fred Van Lente on the five-issue Marvel Zombies Return, which debuts in September. According to CBR’s panel report, each issue will spotlight different characters: Spider-Man, by Van Lente and artist Nick Dragotta; The Avengers, by Van Lente and Wellington Alves; Wolverine, by Maberry and Jason Shawn Alexander; Iron Man, by Wellington and Andrea Mutti; and The Hulk, by Grahame-Smith and Richard Elson.
I’m not really a fan of the zombie sub-genre, and I haven’t read any of the previous Marvel Zombies miniseries, but this seems like a pretty smart move by the publisher to keep the franchise fresh (so to speak) and to potentially expand the audience.
Also, I like what I’ve read of Wellington’s work serialized online. So it definitely has that going for it.
Welcome to this week’s edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is blogger and critic Matthew J. Brady (not to be confused with the other Matt Brady). He and everyone else at Robot 6 have been reading some really interesting stuff, so click on the link to find out what …
* Sonny Liew reveals that he and Roger Landridge are working on a Spider-Man story for Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #50.
* PictureBox publisher Dan Nadel revealed two projects of note over on the Comics Comics blog: 1) He is working on a second volume of Art Out of Time; and 2) He and Marknewgarden are working on a “biography/art book” on Milt Gross.
We have spoken to hitherto undiscovered sources, found incredible artwork, and are finally beginning to understand the scope of Gross’s epic career in comics, film, prose, animation, fine art, and even television. We don’t have a release date for the book yet, but assure you that we will spend summer ’09 sweating it out over our keyboards. Anyhow, should any of you out there have rare Gross photos or ephemera, please contact me: dan (at) pictureboxinc (dot) com.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading, where we tell you … well, what we’re reading. Duh.
Our guest this week is Frank Santoro, the artist behind PictureBox’s Cold Heat series, and the creator of one of the best graphic novels of the past twenty years, Storyville. He’s a regular contributor to the Comics Comiclog and his latest work can be found in the pages of the behemoth known as Kramer’s Ergot 7.
To find out what Frank and the rest of the Robot 6 crew is reading, click on the link.