How Lee & Kirby's "Fantastic Four" Birthed the Marvel Universe, Part 1
Conventions | The San Diego Chargers are opposing the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center — viewed as crucial to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015 — saying it will interfere with plans for a new football stadium. Instead, the NFL franchise proposes building a second venue a few blocks away, which would be part of a complex that included the stadium but would not be contiguous with the existing convention center. [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York Comic Con is about to begin, and Luke Villapaz has seven tips for surviving the con. One additional point, though: While it’s nice that NYCC has its own mobile app, chances of its actually working inside the Javits Center, which is notorious for its many cell phone dead zones, are slim. [International Business Times]
As a contributor to the site, as well as a reader (I frequently linked them in Comics A.M.), I’m not at all impartial about this: I’m sorry to see it go.
MTV Geek debuted nearly three years ago at New York Comic Con with a launch party that served as a benefit for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The original editor was Valerie Gallaher, who left about five months ago.
The site covered a lot of topics: comics, yes, but also movies, television, games, toys, cosplay, pretty much everything in the larger world of geeky interests. It ran a mix of news, interviews and fannish content like Twitter roundups and five-best posts. In the beginning there were also original comics, although those seem to have fallen by the wayside.
The demise of the site, which arrives less than a month after iFanboy ceased its”normal day-to-day operations,” doesn’t leave MTV without comics coverage: The final post indicates that MTV News will be reporting on NYCC next month.
Publishing | Marvel and DC Comics are among the first companies to join Google+ as a part of the Google + Pages initiative, along with other early adopters like the WWE, Angry Birds, The Muppets and Pepsi. Companies that initially joined Google+ back when it first launched had their accounts shut down as Google worked on “building a similarly optimized business experience for Google+” like they had for individuals. Google+ Pages launched yesterday. [The Source, Marvel.com]
Digital | Digital comics distributor iVerse Media has received a $4 million private-equity investment for the expansion of marketing and product development for its Comics+ app. [TechCrunch]
It looks as if Sesame Street, the television series that’s educated and entertained children since 1969, could be making the move to comics.
It all seems very tentative, but Ape Entertainment has announced it’s in talks with Sesame Workshop to produce a series of a series of comic books featuring such beloved characters as Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and Elmo. If the deal pans out, the comics would debut next year in print and digital editions.
When the first volume of Astronaut Dad came out in 2008, the Robot 6 crew was still blogging at Newsarama. I reviewed it at the time and noted that the story by writer David Hopkins and artist Brent Schoonover owed “a lot more to The Wonder Years than Buck Rogers.” The book is about a team of apparently second- or third-string astronauts during the ’60s, and their relationships with their families, especially their kids. One of the main characters is the son of an astronaut and resents his father always being gone for work without receiving the compensating glory that comes from actually going into orbit. However, as the first volume ends, there are hints that just maybe the dads have been involved in some sort of top secret space mission. I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the follow-up.
Kudos to our eagle-eyed Robot 6 and Spinoff compadre Graeme McMillan for spotting something interesting, and perhaps a bit frustrating, in Marvel’s January solicitations. On his Twitter, Graeme noted (edited slightly for clarity): “Number of new 32-page Marvel books @ $2.99 in new solicits: three. Number of new 32-page Marvel books @ $3.99 in new solicits: seven. What happened to price cuts?”
You no doubt recall that less than an hour after DC announced price cuts for its ongoing series during New York Comic Con — with a detailed list of the titles involved, along with page-count decreases and the cessation of back-up features — Marvel Senior Vice President-Sales & Circulation David Gabriel announced price cuts for Marvel, too, stating that new books launching in January 2011 will not debut at $3.99. Though details about the plan were scarce, here at Robot 6 we rounded up Marvel’s reaction to the price cuts at both publishers, from Senior Vice President C.B. Cebulski’s mild busting of DC’s chops for dropping page counts along with prices and, thus, reducing creator income, to sales communications manager Arune Singh’s statement that many titles debuting from Marvel in 2011 will ship at $2.99.
I have been back from New York Comic Con for a week now, but I still feel like the boa constrictor digesting the elephant—there was so much to think about. Here’s a brief sample of my thoughts about this year’s experience.
1. Thanks to the ICv2 conference before the con, everyone was talking about digital comics. This was in stark contrast to the dealers who were selling boxes and boxes of back issues on one corner of the floor. It always strikes me as odd that the rest of the show is so slick, and then there’s this one area that looks like a giant garage sale. Digital comics would seem to be the logical solution to missing issues in a complicated continuity, but that would require the publishers to play along—and of course, there will always be people who want to collect the physical issues.
2. Despite the gloomy news at the ICv2 conference that graphic novel sales are down, two different editors asked me to suggest creators for upcoming projects, which suggests that publishers (both were from traditional book publishers) see room for growth.
Okay, not quite, but who am I to pass up the opportunity to quote My Fair Lady? At any rate, check out this video of a fan popping the question to his fair lady at the Marvel booth at the New York Comic Con this past weekend. Here’s hoping things go better for them than for Peter and Mary Jane!
(via Agent M)
For all intents and purposes, NYCC is now my big hometown show. I still didn’t go, despite the fact that between getting a press pass and having a monthly Long Island Rail Road ticket, it would have cost me basically nothing to do so, and despite the fact that nearly all of my friends were there. There are a few reasons for this, including a major one involving the health of a family member (the good health, fortunately) that has nothing to do with the show itself. But it’s also for the reason I talk about in this comment thread discussion with The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald: There wasn’t a thriving alternative/art/literary/underground comics presence.
Heidi points out that Pantheon and First Second and Top Shelf all had booths at the show, which is true, and which is good. I like tons of Pantheon and Top Shelf books and usually one book per First Second slate. But when I say “thriving presence” I don’t mean “are the individual altcomix-y publishers that are there awesome or not,” I mean “Does the altcomix-y section of the show do well, attract attention, get press, draw attendees and creators, put up a formidable programming slate.” In that light, I don’t think that segment of this show is thriving vs. the rest of the show, no. For example, did Pantheon have X’ed Out, its eagerly anticipated, apparently awesome new book from titanic talent Charles Burns, available at the show? If so, awesome, but did you read word one about it in any show coverage? I sure didn’t. That little group of publishers Heidi speaks of–which by the way is mostly the alt-ish wings of gigantic NY publishing houses, not the alternative comics press per se–doesn’t reach the critical mass that it does at San Diego, even San Diego circa 2010, let alone TCAF/MoCCA/SPX/APE/BCGF/etc. I know there are any number of reasons why NYCC lacks the altcomix component that even San Diego has been able to preserve. I know that not all of it rests at the feet of NYCC’s organizers at Reed. I still think it’s a dealbreaker.
Lego fans and comics fans seem to overlap quite a bit in the Venn diagram of life, so it’s not too surprising that Lego artist Nathan Sawaya has chosen to bring his Lego stylings to New York Comic-Con next weekend. From the press release:
Spanning the floor of the Javits Center, Nathan’s life-size LEGO people tell stories, bring emotion and make people smile.
His most iconic sculpture – Yellow – depicts a man with LEGO cascading out of his open chest cavity and will be on public display for the very first time other than in fine art museums.
Other sculptures will be created live for Comicon attendees.
Sawaya will be at booth 401 if you want to see the magic up close—and it sounds like his sculptures will be hard to avoid. I just hope he has secured them somehow, so con-goers don’t succumb to the temptation to rearrange things a bit.