As long as I have been covering the comics industry, it seems like I have always found reasons to support the work of Dean Haspiel and/or his many talented associates. So when Trip City, a Brooklyn-filtered literary arts salon, launched at the start of last month it struck me as a good time to reach out to the founders for an email chat. While Trip City has four key members (Haspiel, Seth Kushner, Chris Miskiewicz and Jeffrey Burandt) the bulk of the discussion involved Kushner and Miskiewicz, with a brief check-in by Haspiel (discussing the start of a new Billy Dogma story, The Last Romantic Antihero [TLRA]). Haspiel also gave me a head’s up on a December 8 TLRA live reading at BookCourt at 7 PM (163 Court St Brooklyn, New York 11201/718-875-3677).
Tim O’Shea: When did TRIP CITY first get conceived–and how did the two of you come to be involved? How early in the planning was it determined that a podcast would be important to the venture?
Chris Miskiewicz: Dean was leaving Deep6 and starting a new studio. Seth Kushner and I were the first people he asked along. Although my film schedule is always in flux and I wasn’t sure how often I’d actually be there, the idea of sitting around others and not being by myself writing appealed to me. So we formed HANG DAI Studios.
If you put three creative people in a room together stuff happens. What happened was TRIP CITY. We spoke about the concept for about five months. Who would be a part of it, what we’d do, how we’d do it. We didn’t want to revamp ACT-I-VATE but we did want comics, along with prose, fiction, a web-series, and a podcast. What we did was create a multimedia site that catered to our individual interests blending them together into a whole.
Last summer John Romita Jr. told CBR’s Jonah Weiland about a new creator-owned book he’s working on with Howard Chaykin called Shmuggy and Bimbo. iFanboy recently caught up with Romita on his press tour for the film Kick Ass, and Romita talked about the project as well as a reprint of his creator-owned series The Gray Area. He says that both projects will be published through Marvel’s Icon imprint.
“Grey Area is gonna be re-released by Marvel in a trade with new colors and new lettering, and a new scene added,” Romita said, noting that the series was getting some interest from Hollywood. “This is what Kick Ass is doing to me.” You can find the conversation about these books around the 21-minute mark.
He also talks about the Kick-Ass film (of course), his upcoming run on Avengers and the fact that he’d like to work on Doctor Strange at some point.
Per the press release, iFanboy’s founders will join Graphic.ly, as well as keep their responsibilities for the iFanboy site and community. Conor Kilpatrick and Josh Flanagan will lead content creation for iFanboy and overall publisher and creator relations, while Ron Richards will oversee product and business development for iFanboy. iFanboy’s content will be integrated into Graphic.ly’s website and digital comics software.
“As community and content become more and more entwined, Graphic.ly wants to be at the forefront of the new digital comic age. By acquiring iFanboy, we become part of one of the best communities in the industry,” said Micah Baldwin, CEO and co-founder of Graphic.ly. “Working with iFanboy, we are able to take our vision to the next level and fully integrate our product into the fandom community.”
“Graphic.ly has the future in mind, and that’s something iFanboy has always valued,” Flanagan wrote on iFanboy this morning. “Their first product is a digital comics reader and platform, a movement iFanboy have always supported. But in addition to that, Graphic.ly is very committed to being a part of the comics community at large, and to growing the comics audience. They expressed an interest in bringing some folks on who were respected in the comic book industry and had developed an awesome community of comic book lovers. Eventually when all those people turned them down, they were stuck with us.”
That post also includes a Q&A about the change, promising “more writing, more reviews, more features, more fun, more discussions, more creators, more anything we can think of to make iFanboy better for you. This development will finally give us the opportunity to improve iFanboy in all the ways we’ve wanted to, but haven’t been able to because we have lacked the time and the resources and the manpower that are needed to make our ideas a reality.”
The complete press release is available after the jump.
Last week iFanboy’s Talksplode podcast posted a lengthy interview with Brian Wood, who talked about all of his various “D” projects — Demo, DMZ, DV8 — as well as Northlanders. Close to the end of the conversation, he said that he plans to offer a money-back guarantee on the third Northlanders trade paperback, which is due in stores the first week of March.
“If someone hates it they can mail it back to me and I’ll pay them back,” Wood said, adding he’ll share formal details on the offer soon. This trade collects several shorter arcs and single-issue stories from Northlanders — specifically issues 9 and 10, as well as 17-20. Issue 17, “The Viking Art of Single Combat,” is probably the best issue of the series thus far, and the two-part “Shield Maidens” tale follows closely behind it.
In addition to giving fans a risk-free option for checking out Northlanders, today Wood also gave fans a good reason to check out DMZ #50 — he and Fabio Moon are doing a four-page story in it called “Little Plastic Toys” about cluster munitions, and he plans to donate his page rate for it to stopclustermunitions.org. The comic comes out this Wednesday.
iFanboy.com’s Ron Richards posted this morning a conversation he had with writer James Robinson about Starman #81, Justice League and Blackest Night, among other topics.
Some of the highlights include:
–Robinson revealed that the “blue Starman,” Mikaal, will officially take on the Starman name and mantle in Justice League. Robinson said he plans to “make him more of a hero.”
–Robinson said he’d like to do more with Opal City and its inhabitants, perhaps in the form of a Shade series or miniseries.
–If he did revisit Jack Knight from his Starman run, “it would have to be with Tony, and it would have to be something big.”
–He talks a little bit about his Justice League work so far, noting “I’m not sure that that was my best work,” and also spoke about the challenges of trying to put a fresh spin on all the Blackest Night tie-ins he’s been writing. “Ultimate it was worth doing, and I certainly had a lot of fun.”
–Ron brought up the recent Red Arrow developments in Cry for Justice, which led to Robinson saying he doesn’t like to kill off characters and won’t be doing so in the future. “It’s a much nicer James Robinson who will be writing comics in the future,” he said.
The social networking site Twitter recently added a new function called “Lists,” which allows users to create and share lists of Twitter accounts. The fine folks at iFanboy have done the world a solid and created several comic book oriented lists, so you can easily find Twitter feeds for creators, companies, podcasters, bloggers and media.
They’ve also set up a list for their staff, an idea I shamelessly stole as soon as Ron Richards emailed me about their lists. Now you too can find out what Brigid had for breakfast, what Kevin thinks of V and who Carla dressed as for Halloween, all from one handy feed.
Or rather, the comics podcast The Backroom talks to Peter Bagge in the first of this two-part interview. (found via Flog)
• Andrew Rilstone’s 60-page zine on Watchmen, Who Sent the Sentinels, has been garnering quite a bit of attention, mainly because of passages like this:
I’ve never stopped being surprised that something as geeky as Watchmen is so popular with people who are not geeks. How can a book which so full of superhero in-jokes be so much admired by people who have never read a superhero story — by people who purport to dislike superhero stories — by people who sometimes end up denying that Watchmen has got superheroes in it… Maybe Watchmen manages to generate its ironic double-vision internally: the text itself tells you both what superheroes are meant to be like, and what these superheroes are actually like, and it would do so even if there had never been another superhero comic in the world… Or maybe the people who were so enthusiastic about Watchmen were unaware of the idea of superheros, and read the story simply as a story – with an un-ironic single vision.
In which case they’d be reading a different comic to me and it wouldn’t be surprising if they assessed it differently.
I’ve barely had a chance to do more than scrape the surface of this thing but I like what I’ve perused so far.
Marjane Satrapi and Chris Ware recently gave a talk, moderated by Francoise Mouly, at the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts as part of the the three-day festival of New French Writing.WYNC has a podcast of the conversation up on their Web site. (via: Jeet Heer)