Writer Neil Gaiman and DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson may not have made the final cut, but Penny Arcade creators Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins earned a spot on “The 2010 Time 100,” the news magazine’s list of the world’s most influential people.
Just how influential is the duo? The 12-year-old webcomic draws some 3.5 million readers, and has led to the establishment of Child’s Play, a charity that provides video games to sick kids in hospitals, and the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), a gaming convention that last year drew 60,000 attendees to Seattle. An East Coast convention, PAX East, debuted last month in Boston.
“Krahulik and Holkins have become the tastemakers, and conscience, of an industry the size of Hollywood,” Lev Grossman writes in his brief profile. “But for all their success, they are almost compulsively self-deprecating, and they give all the credit to their fans. You can’t put a label on them. Labels smack of hype, and Penny Arcade doesn’t do hype.”
Whether or not Kick-Ass tops the weekend box office — it probably will — its marketing campaign has ensured the movie’s infiltration of popular culture. Nikki Finke points out that this morning’s Boston Herald features this political cartoon by Jerry Holbert.
Legal | In what some have already dubbed “the next Christopher Handley case,” Wikipedia co-founder Lawrence Sanger has reported Wikimedia Commons to the FBI for “knowingly distributing child pornography” in violation of Section 1466A of the U.S. PROTECT Act. Sanger, who left Wikipedia in 2002 and four years later launched the rival Citizendium, specifically points to entries on pedophilia and lolicon.
Manga collector Christopher Handley was sentenced in February under the same federal statute for possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material.” [The Register, Icarus Publishing, Geekosystem]
Business | This profile of Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger suggests there’s already friction between Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter and Disney’s consumer productions division: “Hollywood, familiar with Mr. Perlmutter’s penchant for ruling his roost, has started to whisper: Will he turn into Mr. Iger’s version of Harvey Weinstein, the hard-charging Miramax co-founder who caused Mr. Eisner so many headaches after Disney acquired the little studio?” [The New York Times]
Conventions | Although WonderCon organizers are still tabulating attendance from last weekend’s convention, they say that “by all accounts the numbers for 2010 met or exceeded those for 2009.” Last year’s event drew about 34,000, a significant increase from the 20,000 that attended in 2008. They also set the dates for the 2011 convention: April 1-3, which undoubtedly means we’ll have to endure numerous April Fool’s announcements of titles and creative teams. [press release]
Creators | In an oddly worded post, Clifford Meth reports that 83-year-old comic artist Gene Colan was injured last week, and his being cared for by his children: “In addition, it appears that some of Gene’s artwork has disappeared, including pages from Nathanial Dusk and a Star Wars-related piece. The police are involved in the matter.” [Clifford Meth]
As Brigid pointed out on Monday, Penny Arcade creators Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik are among the finalists on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world (they’ve slipped two spots to No. 11 since yesterday). However, they’re not the only comics-industry figures in the poll: Just six spots behind the duo is writer Neil Gaiman, followed way down the list is DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson (No. 156, as of this post).
It’s an online poll, so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that the creators of a popular webcomic and a comics writer-turned-bestselling author, both with a substantial web presence, rank high on the list, rubbing virtual elbows with the likes of actors Neil Patrick Harris and Robert Pattinson, and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul. They all have dedicated, and plugged-in, fan bases, after all (though none can touch Lady Gaga, who sits comfortably at No. 1).
But the inclusion of Nelson, who now hovers toward the bottom of the list just behind legendary singer-songwriter Patti Smith, is (pleasantly) unexpected.
“As comic books have rapidly emerged as the most bankable mainstream movie properties,” Time‘s description for Nelson reads, “a vast gulf has grown between the big-screen Marvel universe (Iron Man, Hulk) and that of DC Comics. Besides Christopher Nolan’s Batman chapters, DC has faced a drought at the multiplex. Nelson is charged with altering that course. As the head of the newly-created DC Entertainment, she’s been handed a sprawling comic book universe and tasked with adapting it for the mainstream. Millions of fans — and plenty of movie studio execs — are hoping she’s up to the task.”
To the best of my knowledge, there’s no Diane Nelson Fan Site, so it’s unlikely she’ll rocket into the upper echelons currently inhabited by Beyonce, Apolo Ohno, Stephen Colbert and President Obama. We’ll know for sure on April 29. Until then, the voting is open.
Hey You Guys! is a charity movie screening and silent art auction benefiting DonorsChoose.org, a website that allows teachers to post donation requests for school projects. They’ve posted several pieces of art that they plan to start auctioning off online on Monday; go check them out and see if there’s something you like.
Posterchild at Blade Diary has photos of a conveniently labeled superhero changing station in New York … (Thanks David!)
While The L.A. Times’ Mel Melcon snaps some shots of Spider-Man’s big arrest in Hollywood … J. Jonah must be really proud right now.
Google today celebrates the 50th anniversary of Asterix with a nice spotlight — otherwise known as a Google Doodle, I guess — on its homepage in a reported 40 countries.
René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo’s diminutive warrior, who debuted in the French magazine Pilote on this day in 1959, has appeared in 34 volumes that have sold more than 352 million copies worldwide.
Retailing | The American Booksellers Association has asked the Department of Justice to investigate the online price war being waged by Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target. The trade group says that by selling advance-order hardcovers at deep discounts the three retail giants are engaging in “illegal predatory pricing” and making it impossible for smaller stores to compete.
Ron Catapano of Ron’s Comic World in Mount Holly, New Jersey, asserts that direct-market retailers face a similar scenario: “I hope the comic publishers are paying attention. When the Watchmen movie came out and Amazon was selling the Watchmen trade paperback for less than I could get the book from Diamond Comic Distributors (including shipping cost), I complained and nobody cared. For most discounters, these books are not a significant part of their business, they are just something to make a few extra dollars on.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Japanese publishing giant Shogakukan plans to close three of its magazines, including the shojo manga monthly ChuChu. The magazine debuted in December 2005 with a print run of 180,000, but more recently sales have hovered around 50,000 copies. [Anime News Network]
Libraries | The New Jersey State Library has awarded $3,000 grants to 14 libraries to help them establish and expand graphic-novel collections. The State Library also conducted workshops about developing collections, and furnished librarians with “a core graphic novel bibliography” to help them with their purchases. [NJ.com]
On last night’s episode of The Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert spied a spider crawling on the face of Pope Benedict XVI and posed a hypothetical scenario that would make Stan Lee proud: “… Given all the toxic waste and loose nuclear radiation all over Eastern Europe, if that spider bit the pope we might soon have … Spider-Pope!”
“He could shoot holy water from his wrists,” Colbert continued. “Trap atheists in his web, and every time someone used birth control his popey-sense would tingle!”
Legal | New York City-based law firm Levi & Korsinsky on Friday filed a class-action lawsuit challenging Disney’s $4-billion purchase of Marvel Entertainment. Like the earlier lawsuit filed by Marvel shareholder Christine Vlatos, this one claims the proposed transaction undervalues Marvel’s stock. [press release]
Business | DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson continues her interview tour, assuring retailer-oriented website ICv2.com “we’re going to be looking for a real publisher” to succeed Paul Levitz as head of DC Comics: “This is not about replacing someone with a cyborg unit that will answer to me. We want a publishing expert.”
At MTV’s movie-focused Splash Page, Nelson highlights DC’s Vertigo imprint as “an area of great interest” that “could potentially offer amazing stories for our future television video game, digital and consumer products businesses.” [ICV2.com, Splash Page]
Digital comics | By ICv2′s tally, the number of mobile comics has nearly doubled in the past 60 days, jumping from 105 to 207. [ICv2.com]
Digital comics | AdHouse Books and Dark Horse Comics have announced new mobile comics. Dark Horse’s first releases, available via iPhone, will be three Star Wars collections: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Vol. 1 – Shipyards of Doom, Star Wars: Empire, Vol. 1 – Betrayal, and Star Wars: Legacy, Vol. 1 – Broken. Meanwhile, beginning today AdHouse will offer a preview of Vito Delsante and Rachel Freire’s FCHS through the Comics by comiXology application. The print edition is set for release in November. [press release, press release]
Conventions | Vanessa McCray previews Cherry Capital Con, which will be held Saturday and Sunday in Traverse City, Michigan. Guests include Tommy Lee Edwards, Jason Howard and Daniel Way. [Traverse City Record-Eagle]
Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard may have gotten things right with The Walking Dead: When the zombie apocalypse comes, it will mean the end of civilization.
Hey, I’m just repeating what researchers in Canada have found. In short, unless the undead are dealt with “quickly and aggressively,” we’ll all be doomed — or else forced to rely on our own Rick Grimes to save our sorry butts.
BBC News reports that a study by researchers from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University posed a simple, and amusingly fanboy-ish, question: If there were to be a battle between zombies and the living, who would win?
For the answer, scientists used “biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies” — and the classic slow-moving zombie model. But even with the lumbering variety, the answer is pretty grim.
“It’s imperative that zombies are dealt with quickly or else … we are all in a great deal of trouble,” the scientists conclude.
Conventions | Think Comic-Con International is crowded? Comiket 76, last weekend’s installment of Tokyo’s twice-yearly comics fair, drew a reported 560,000 attendees — 10,000 more than last summer’s event. Comiket is held for three days in August and December at Tokyo’s Big Sight convention center. [Sankuka Complex, Anime News Network]
Publishing | Sales of comics in the direct market increased in July for the second month in a row — up 3 percent from July 2008 — while the Top 100 graphic novels dropped 11 percent for the same period.
Marvel and DC’s summer events led the comics chart, with Captain America: Reborn #1 selling an estimated 193,142 copies, followed by Blackest Night #1 with 177,105. The 13th, and final, volume of 100 Bullets topped the graphic novels list with 8,700 copies. [ICv2.com]
Ads of the World showcases an interesting print campaign for Woolite by Euro RSCG Puerto Rico. “For Everyday Colors” uses images of the somewhat iconic outfits of Smurfette, Popeye and Charlie Brown to sell three of the brand’s laundry products.
The use of black-and-white art in the Popeye ad clever, as it’s promoting a detergent designed for dark clothes. However, the Smurfette piece falls short because without the Smurf village in the background, we’d be hard-pressed to identify the owner of the items on the line.
(via Super Punch)