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Comics A.M. | Dark Horse CEO on state of industry; BOOM! changes

Mike Richardson

Publishing | In a wide-ranging interview with retail news and analysis site ICv2, Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson discusses the state of the market, the potential impact of Borders’ bankruptcy, digital comics, the decline in manga sales, the success of Troublemaker and more. Of particular note is Richardson’s confirmation that Apple’s stricter enforcement of a prohibition on in-app purchases outside the iTunes store was behind the delay of the planned January launch of Dark Horse’s digital comics program. He also says that Frank Miller is working on the third issue of his 300 prequel Xerxes, which is expected to be “roughly six issues, but he hasn’t exactly decided yet.” [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson provides an overview of recent changes to BOOM! Studios’ kids’ line, from the loss of the Pixar licenses to a new imprint name — changed from BOOM! Kids to kaboom! — to the announcement this week of a Peanuts original graphic novel. “BOOM Kids! was designed to publish children’s comics — kaboom! is designed to be a true all-ages imprint, and for that reason Peanuts is the perfect launch title, the sort of material that adults and kids read alike,” CEO Ross Ritchie said. “Roger Langridge’s Snarked! is along these lines, as is Space Warped and Word Girl.  I put the Word Girl announcement on my wall on Facebook and immediately there were a zillion adults commenting, ‘My child loves this show but I’m buying this comic book for myself!’  The title mix will be broader for kaboom! than it was for BOOM Kids!” [Publishers Weekly]

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The Middle Ground #43: When Bad Things Happen…

The more I think about the news that BOOM! Studios has lost the Pixar license, the more it depresses me. It’s not that I don’t think that Marvel is capable of producing good Pixar comics – they’ve done some great all-ages work recently, with Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Paul Tobin’s Spider-Man and Super-Heroes titles and the Oz books – but more that… it seems unfair that BOOM! lost the license, if that makes sense. Continue Reading »

Comics A.M. | Borders to close Tenn. center, Muppets/Pixar titles canceled

Borders Group headquarters

Retailing | The picture keeps looking worse for Borders Group: Even as news surfaced Wednesday that Diamond Book Distributors has stopped shipping to the troubled retail chain a report circulated that Borders will close its LaVergne, Tenn., distribution center in mid-July, resulting in the elimination of 310 jobs. That follows more than 200 layoffs made at the center since 2009. [WKRN.com, via GalleyCat]

Publishing | The remaining licensed Muppets and Pixar titles from BOOM! Studios have been listed as “canceled by Previews.” In response to inquiries, the publisher pointed to the teaser for “BOOM! Kids 2.0,” the relaunch of its kids imprint announced in September. Rumors that BOOM! had lost the Muppets/Pixar licenses began swirling in late November, following Roger Langridge’s announcement that he would no longer be drawing The Muppet Show. The publisher’s relaunched kids line will include such Disney licenses as Darkwing Duck, and reprints of Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. [Comics Worth Reading]

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What Are You Reading?

Changing Ways

Welcome to this week’s edition of What Are You Reading?, and a big thanks to Chris Mautner for helping out last week.

Our special guest this week is Larry Young, AiT/Planet Lar publisher and one of the editors behind the Kickstart Comics. To see what Larry and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, make with the click below …

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BOOM! relaunches kids imprint in 2011

BOOM! Studios has sent out a straight-to-the-point graphic exclaiming a new day for the California-based comic publisher’s kids imprint. It looks like the publisher’s BOOM Kids! imprint will be turning over a new leaf in 2011.

Originally announced in 2007 at Comic-Con International, BOOM Kids! didn’t hit shelves until 2009 but did so with a bang with a stellar line-up of comics based on various Disney/Pixar properties including The Incredibles, The Muppet Show, Darkwing Duck and Mickey Mouse & Friends. Combining reprintings of foreign-produced comics and out-of-print classics with new works, BOOM Kids! made a real mark.

There’s no word on the exact shape of BOOM Kids! 2011 plans are, but one could easily picture an expansion of its Disney/Pixar line-up and perhaps some new original projects.

Straight for the art | Josh Cooley’s Inappropriate Golden Books

Golden Book GoodFellas by Josh Cooley

Golden Book GoodFellas by Josh Cooley

Pixar story artist Josh Cooley likely has his hands plenty full at his day job, but fortunately for us he’s paying tribute to the non-animated, R-rated movies he loves by making Golden Book-style children’s picturebook-style images out of them. He’ll be collecting them in a Golden Book of his own in time for the San Diego Comic-Con. Until then, you can check out his inappropriately adorable take on The Godfather, Leon, The Graduate, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs and more in this Kotaku gallery — but I’d also recommend simply scrolling through Cooley’s blog, where you’ll also find sexy pin-ups, inappropriate antics involving He-Man and Falcor from The Neverending Story, and lots more.

(via Rob Humanick)

BOOM! solicits new Cars, Wall-E and Toy Story ongoings

Wall-E #0

Wall-E #0

BOOM! Studios’ November solicitations came out today and feature the launch of several new ongoing series in their BOOM! Kids line.

In addition to the previously reported The Muppet Show ongoing launching, BOOM! will also publish ongoing series for Cars, Wall-E and Toy Story, all of which start with a “zero” issue in November.

Alan J. Porter will continue to work on the Cars property, and he’ll also write Toy Story. They’ll feature art by Albert Carreres and Brett Schoonover, respectively. Wall-E, meanwhile, will be written by J. Torres with art by Morgan Luthi.

Check out some unfinal covers after the jump …

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SDCC ’09 | BOOM! Studios exclusives, plus signing and panel schedule

incredibles1BOOM! Studios has several SDCC exclusives this year, including hardcover collections of their recent Incredibles, Muppet Show, Cars and Farscape limited series. They’ll also have a preview book of their upcoming Kill Audio comic by Claudio Sanchez. And signing at their booth during the con will be Sanchez, Mark Waid, Muppet Show writer/artist Roger Langridge, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, Eureka’s Andrew Cosby and Ed Quinn and many more.

Check out their full schedule after the jump.

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BOOM! Studios to exhibit at Disney’s D23 Expo

D23 Expo

D23 Expo

Disney will host a convention of sorts in Anaheim this September called the D23 Expo– a “four-day event that brings the entire world of Disney under one roof,” according to a press release. That “entire world” will include BOOM! Studios, publishers of The Incredibles, The Muppet Show and several other licensed Disney/Pixar titles.

Per BOOM!’s Chip Mosher, the comics publisher will be on hand with “a line of show exclusives” they’ll be revealing in the near future.

D23 is the name of Disney’s fan community, which gives Disney fans access to the company through a website, a quarterly magazine and the D23 Expo. The event will also include previews of several upcoming Disney films, such as The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, TRON, Toy Story 3, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. They also promise previews of ABC’s fall season, an exhibition of props from past Disney movies and the chance to meet stars from the Disney Channel.

So maybe you’ll have the chance to meet Mark Waid and Hannah Montana all in the same weekend. Stranger things have happened.

Incredibles #1, Muppet Show #1 sell out, second printings planned

The Muppet Show

The Muppet Show

BOOM! Studios sent out a press release tonight saying both The Incredibles: Family Matters #1 and The Muppet Show Comic Book #1 have sold out from Diamond Comics. According to the release, “tremendous re-order activity just prior to both comics release ensured a sell out before either comic hit stands this Wednesday.”

Second printings of both books should be available by the end of April.

“I’ve never seen anything like this. Sure, with the current economic climate, we are definitely printing more conservatively than years before, but even so, the velocity of late in the game re-order activity for these books have been totally out of this world,” said Chip Mosher, BOOM!’s marketing and sales director, in the release. “Those re-orders ate up all the leftover stock at Diamond and then some. Not in our wildest dreams could we predict that we would effectively be sold out the day before these books hit the stands. Once we saw what was happening, we went into overdrive to get second prints of both books rolling into Diamond.”

Earlier today BOOM! announced a newsstand distribution deal with Kable Distribution Services, while yesterday they launched a new website to promote their Disney/Pixar titles under the BOOM! Kids imprint.

BOOM! launches kid-friendly website to market Disney books

The Muppet Show

The Muppet Show

Today sees the release of two of BOOM’s kid-friendly titles coming out of their deal with Disney/Pixar — The Incredibles: Family Matters #1 and The Muppet Show Comic Book #1. To help market the books to kids — and to help save the children from their more adult-oriented titles — BOOM! has launched a new website geared specifically to the younger set and their parents. Boom-kids.com features info on both titles, as well as their upcoming Cars comic. They’re also offering subscriptions to all of these titles on the site.

“We love the sophisticated stories of the core BOOM! comics; it’s what we built the company on,” said BOOM! CEO Ross Richie in a press release. “But in the mass market and the direct market, where these books will be seen by children, the branding needs to align with other kids’ content that we publish, from CARS to TOY STORY to MUPPETS to other BOOM! original works that we plan to release. The BOOM! Kids imprint allows us to help parents, keeping our message straightforward and branding the kids’ stuff clearly, and signaling the older-skewing material as appropriate for those audiences.”

So if you’re looking for something to buy your kids, check out the new site, but if you’re looking for less wholesome titles about zombies, shadowy government thinktanks and irredeemable villains, the regular old BOOM! site can help you out.

Talking Comics with Tim: Andrew Farago

Cartoon Art Museum

Cartoon Art Museum

Back in late January, I completed this email interview with Andrew Farago, curator of San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum. Events on my end delayed it being run until this week. As detailed at the museum’s site: “The Cartoon Art Museum is committed to fostering and promoting a greater appreciation of cartoon art.  This it achieves through collecting, cataloging, preserving and displaying the finest representations of original cartoon art as well as providing innovative educational programs designed to enrich the cultural life of our community.” While I am pleased to run this interview, before launching into it, I want to offer my condolences to Farago and the museum staff on the February 26 death of Rod Gilchrist, the museum’s executive director for the past 11 years. My thanks to Farago for his time.

Tim O’Shea: How long has the Museum had a Cartoonist-in-Residence program–and how did you land the latest person in residence, Mike Gray?

Andrew Farago: The Cartoonist-in-Residence program was started several years back as a joint effort between the Cartoon Art Museum, The Charles M. Schulz Museum and the Northern California chapter of the National Cartoonists Society. We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we’ve got such a wealth of cartoonists in our area and give the public a regular opportunity to interact with them (and vice versa).

The artists come to us in a variety of ways. Often, someone will contact me, or another staff or board member, about his upcoming book, or a new strip launching in a local publication, or a new piece of animation that they’ve created, and that person wants to work with us to promote it.

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WonderCon | Hero Initiative, Up and a Strange(ways) offer

WonderCon kicks off this Friday at the Moscone Center South in San Francisco. The show welcomes special guests Jim Lee, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Brian Azzarello, Jill Thompson, Alex Robinson and many more Feb. 27-March 1.

From now until the show kicks off, I’ll be posting round-ups of what various publishers, creators, retailers, etc. have planned for the show. If you’d like your booth schedule, special event or other information included, drop me an email.

General information: Programming | Registration | Special guests | Autographs

• WonderCon’s posted some additional autograph opportunities on their site related to the Wonder Woman DVD and a new FOX show called Sit Down, Shut Up. Henry Winkler, Will Arnett and Virginia Madsen, among others, will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs.

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NYCC | UP, creator schedules and more

With the New York Comic Con coming up this weekend, we’re posting information on the various things fans can do and see at the show. If you’re a publisher, creator, retailer or otherwise exhibiting at the show, feel free to drop me an email with your plans for the show before Friday.

General information: Ticket info | Panels | Autographs | 2009 ICv2 Graphic Novel Conference | Blog | Guide

• Unfortunately, Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison has had to pull out of the con. In a statement, Morrison said, “As a result of family issues, I won’t be able to make it to the New York Comic Con this week. My apologies to everyone, and particularly to the readers I won’t get a chance to meet this time around due to circumstances beyond my control. See you next time.”

NYCC’s Lance Fensterman provides a little more detail at his blog, saying that “this is a really unfortunate situation with his mother that is far more important that NYCC.”

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BOOM! Studios’ Chip Mosher on Hexed, Farscape and more

Chip Mosher at Disneyland

Chip Mosher at Disneyland

Yesterday Mark Waid, editor-in-chief of BOOM! Studios, announced via a YouTube video that BOOM! would post full issues of their Hexed mini-series on MySpace the same day the book was released in stores, just like they did with the North Wind mini-series a year ago. As I was already talking to Chip Mosher, their sales and marketing guy, about several other things going on with BOOM! when the video was released, I was able to sneak in a few questions about the promotion as well.

My thanks to Chip for his time.

JK: Last year BOOM! put the complete North Wind mini-series up on MySpace Comic Books, with each issue going up on the day it hit retailers’ shelves. And now you’re doing it again with HEXED. Why did you choose HEXED, versus any of your other titles?

Chip: Right time. Right place. Right book.

Personally, I see Hexed as one of the books that is kicking off BOOM! 3.0. I consider Mark coming on board as E-i-C as BOOM! 2.0 — where he spearheaded the stabilizing of the line-up and built up editorial. I look at this next year as BOOM! 3.0 — where the promise of Mark Waid as E-i-C is realized in full. The team here at BOOM! is running on all cylinders. You’ll see a whole host of books coming out of BOOM! in the next year, shepherded by Mark and the editorial team, that will just rock your socks off.

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