Publishing | Radical Studios has secured $3 million in its first round of fundraising to further develop its catalog, expanding its digital publishing efforts and licensing capabilities. The publisher, which ultimately hopes to raise $9.5 million, has two comic-book adaptations in development at major studios: Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, at Universal Pictures, and Hercules: The Thracian Wars, starring Dwayne Johnson, at Universal Pictures. [Variety]
Retailing | Dave and Adam’s Card World, billed as the largest online seller of baseball cards, has branched out, with an eye toward becoming the largest online seller of vintage comic books by 2014. “We were somewhat shocked and surprised that vintage comic books are more popular than vintage baseball cards. As a card collector, that just hurts,” c0-founder and CEO Adam Martin joked. [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal]
Creators | Michael Cavna talks with cartoonist Art Spiegelman about being only the third American to receive the Grand Prix from the Angoulême International Comics Festival. As recipient of the honor, the 62-year-old artist will help plan next year’s festival. “I don’t know whether you should say ‘congratulations’ or ‘condolences,’ ” he says. [The Washington Post]
Legal | A Michigan judge on Monday ordered the DNA of former retailer Michael George to be compared with a hair found on the body of his wife when she was shot to death in 1990 in their comic book store. George, 50, was found guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder, but that conviction was set aside because of prosecutorial misconduct and the possibility of new evidence. [The Detroit News]
Creators | Artist Alan Kupperberg shares word that colorist Tom Ziuko has been hospitalized as he fights acute kidney failure and other health conditions. “The good news is that the doctors seem to have finally stumbled on a series of treatments and therapies that have Tom seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” Kupperberg said in a message to Daniel Best. “The bad news is that Tom, uninsured and unable to work since the beginning of December, is in a tough financial bind.” Kupperberg is accepting donations via his PayPal account — firstname.lastname@example.org — and adds, “I will pass 100% (plus) along to Tom.”
Ziuko worked in DC Comics’ production department before going freelance, and colored comics like Crisis on Infinite Earths, Batman, Action Comics and History of the DC Universe, to name a few. Todd Klein remembers their time together at DC. [20th Century Danny Boy]
Creators | Artist Paolo Rivera suffered a broken cheekbone after intervening in a domestic dispute. “The good news is I’m all right and—most importantly—my vision is intact,” he wrote on his blog. “… I had surgery on Monday and have been taking it very, very easy since. All things considered, I was very lucky. My eye looks horrendous—the white of the eye is blood red—but I can still see (thank goodness) and should make a full recovery. I also have a pretty rad haircut right now due to surgery… it kinda looks like the one I had circa 1995.” [The Self-Absorbing Man]
Passings | Prolific colorist Adrienne Roy, who was a fixture of DC Comics for more than two decades, passed away on Dec. 14 following a year-long battle with cancer. She was 57. Although Roy’s work appeared in countless DC titles, from Green Lantern and Superman to Warlord and Wonder Woman, she’s best known for her extensive runs on Batman, Detective Comics and The New Teen Titans. Mark Evanier notes that “Her long tenure on Batman (more than 600 issues of various comics featuring the character) meant that her credit appeared on more tales of the Caped Crusader than anyone else except for Bob Kane.” CBGExtra posts an obituary written by her husband Anthony Tollin. [News from ME]
Publishing | Rich Johnston reports on rumored contract changes at DC Comics that would affect all new creator-owned titles in the DC Universe and Vertigo imprints. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Storm Lion, the Singapore-based multimedia studio behind the 2008 Radical Publishing miniseries Freedom Formula, has closed on the heels the summer layoff of 30 employees in Singapore and Los Angeles. The closing leaves a planned movie adaptation, to be produced by Bryan Singer, “in limbo.” [The Straits Times]
Welcome to another round of What are you reading. JK is off enjoying the Labor Day weekend somewhere far away from any Internet connection, so I’m filling in for him this week.
And what a perfect week it is for me to fill in as we’ve got not one but two special guests this week! First up is Kristy Valenti, associate editor of The Comics Journal and Comixology columnist. If that weren’t enough we’ve also got Chris Arrant, who has been kind enough to guest-blog with us all this week.
Click on the link to see what they and everyone else has been perusing lately. And be sure to tell us in the comments what comics you’ve been reading as well.
Publishing | The release of a statement Monday by Nick Simmons has done little to fend off widespread accusations that he plagiarized Bleach and other manga, as well as DeviantArt members, in his Radical Publishing miniseries Incarnate. If anything, the statement — characterized as a “non-apology apology” and “oil on a grease fire” — refocuses attention, and blame, on Simmons after much of the online discussion had branched off into debates about scanlations and fan works. (It also was noticed by The New York Times.) Tom Spurgeon’s humorous headline pretty much sums up the tone of Simmons’ two-paragraph remarks: “Plagiarist Apologizes For Being Awesome.”
Simon Jones, who writes a good post title, tackles some falsehoods that keep getting repeated in the debate. Gottsu-Iiyan, meanwhile, points to near-identical panels in Frank Miller’s Elektra Lives Again and Yukito Kishiro’s Battle Angel Alita, and wonders whether there are double standards at play (last link via Brigid Alverson).
• IDW has announced the street dates for a couple of publishing ventures recently, including the their two Archie collections. The Best of Dan DeCarlo Vol. 1 will hit stores in May, while The Classic Newspaper Comics Vol. 1 will arrive in June.
More notably, the company also announced they would be collecting and releasing Trevor Von Eeden’s The Original Johnson, about the life of boxer Jack Johnson, in December. In his recent interview with The Comics Journal, Von Eeden had discussed contract disputes he had been having with co-publisher ComicMix about the work so it’s nice to book being completed and in print form.
• According to a press release that seems to be going around town, Fantagraphics and Supermen! editor (and former Fanta employee) Greg Sadowski will be working together on a series of seven collections of Golden Age comics. They are: Setting The Standard: Alex Toth at Standard Comics 1952-54, The Road To Plastic Man: The Golden Age Comics of Jack Cole 1937-41, Away From Home: EC Artists at Other Companies, Creeping Death From Neptune: Basil Wolverton’s Sci-Fi and Horror Comics 1938-55 and The Comic Book Frankenstein: The Monster According to Dick Briefer. That’s a pretty amazing line-up. I’m especially excited for that Briefer book.
Just days before Comic-Con, Radical Comics owner Blatant Entertainment was dealt a bit of a blow: a lawsuit from one of its co-founders.
THR, Esq. reports that David Elliott, who was editor-in-chief of Radical until his termination in April, claims the parent company hasn’t given him his full salary, failed to properly credit him on several titles (including Hercules), and is exploiting other properties in which he has a copyright stake without receiving his permission. Those, Elliott asserts, include Aladdin, Caliber, Hercules, City of Dust and Freedom Formula.
He also claims that he wasn’t compensated for acquiring three properties for Blatant: Hotwire, Cholly & Flytrap and Lords of Misrule.
The lawsuit, filed July 16 in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeks compensatory damages, general damages and “harm to reputation and emotional distress damages” of no less than $1 million. In addition, Elliott asks for, among other things, a reversion of rights to Aladdin and an injunction barring Blatant from using and exploiting Caliber, Hercules, City of Dust, Freedom Formula and other projects “in any and all media and markets.”
Blatant’s Radical Pictures division already has most of those properties set up for film adaptations.
But, as THR’s Eriq Gardner points out, the most interesting and — if it’s true — potentially damaging aspect of the lawsuit may be this allegation: “Blatant’s management failed to have any of its employees sign work-for-hire agreements and/or assignments of copyrights, thereby clouding title to all of Blatant’s projects, and making it impossible for Blatant to provide proper chain of title documents and guarantees to investors, production companies, studios, and insurers, to the detriment of its shareholders.”
Elliott’s departure became public in mid-May when it was announced former Top Cow president David Wohl had replaced him as editor-in-chief. Radical characterized the move as a decision “mutually made” because Elliott was unwilling to move from New York to the company’s offices in Los Angeles.
The first two projects in the agreement are based on comics set to be released later this year: Animax, about a boy who can who can absorb the abilities and characteristics of any animals he touches, will be developed as an animated series. The second, First Family, will be turned into a drama about the teen children of a newly elected president who have to grapple with high school.
• Len Wiseman (Underworld, Live Free or Die Hard) will develop and direct the big-screen adaptation of Shrapnel for Radical Pictures.
The comic, from Radical’s publishing division, is set in a future where humans have colonized the solar system, leaving Venus as the last rebellious holdout. A self-exiled former Marine teaches the colonists how to fight back against the Solar Alliance.
• Comic artist Kaare Andrews will direct the action film The Hunted, based on his own screenplay. The movie centers on assassin who’s hired to kill a young girl but refuses to fulfill the contract.
• The oft-discussed sequel to 300 appears to be slowly making progress. The Hollywood Reporter’s Risky Business Blog has word that Frank Miller recently finished a draft of the graphic novel on which the movie will be based.
• Black Beauty, the gadget-filled car from The Green Hornet movie, was revealed during Preview Night by Seth Rogan, writing partner Evan Goldberg and director Michel Gondry.
• ShockTillYouDrop.com has a photo of the Comic-Con banner for Warner Bros.’ Jonah Hex movie.
• /Film rolls out a gallery of images from Preview Night, with a focus on movie and TV booths and props.
• Nikki Finke claims Comic-Con opened with “a whimper,” at least from a Hollywood perspective. Her correspondent in San Diego is unimpressed with the studio presence at the event.
• Sam Raimi will direct a live-action movie based on the popular World of Warcraft online role-playing franchise.
Legendary Pictures and video-game publisher Blizzard Entertainment will produce the film, with Warner Bros. co-financing and distributing. Raimi will tackle the film once he completes Spider-Man 4.
• Darren Lynn Bousman (Repo! The Genetic Opera) has signed on to write and direct the bloody Abattoir for Barry Levine’s Radical Pictures.
The company’s comics division, Radical Publishing, is turning the property into a graphic novel, based on a concept by Bousman and partner Michael Peterson. Artwork from the comic will debut at Comic-Con.
Abattoir centers on a real-estate agent who must clean up the remnants of a massacre in a mansion he hopes to sell.
• Director Ryuhei Kitamura and writer Holly Brix are attached to Magdalena, the film based on the Top Cow Productions character.
Jenna Dewan (Step Up) and Luke Goss (Hellboy II: The Golden Army) already are signed to star in the feature about the descendant of Mary Magdalene who serves as the warrior and protector of the Catholic Church.
• Relative newcomer Zachary Gordon (National Treasure: Book of Secrets) will star in Fox 2000′s adaptation of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Jeff Kinney’s best-selling series about a smart-aleck middle-schooler.
Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) is in negotations to play the female lead.
The 2009 San Diego Comic-Con is getting really, really close, with preview night kicking things off on Wednesday, July 22. That’s two weeks! If you are a publisher, creator, retailer or any other kind of exhibitor who would like to let folks know about any special plans you have for the show (panels, signing schedules, exclusives, debuts, etc.) drop me an email and I’ll run it here.
Also, today’s the cut-off day for hotel deposits, so it might be a good time to check for a room at that closer hotel you were aiming for but couldn’t get.
Comics | Justin Aclin dropped us a note about two projects of his that will be available at the show. The first is the graphic novel Hero House from Arcana Comics. The book won’t be in shops until November, but attendees can get a copy early at the con. Justin and artist Mike Dimayuga will be at the Arcana booth to sign it as well.
Justin is also the head writer of Twisted ToyFare Theatre, and says the latest collection, Volume 10, hits comic shops on the first day of the show, with an introduction by Joe Quesada.
Comics | Scott Morse lists the books he’ll have at the show, including the fast-selling The Ancient Book of Sex and Science, and the two issues of Strange Science Fantasy he posted on his blog earlier this year.
Comics | SLG Publishing has posted a list of creators who will be signing at their booth during the show.
Comics | Artist Francis Manapul will have about 200 copies of his new art book at the show.
Free Comic Book Day is tomorrow, so here’s one last roundup of various events and signings you can attend. Today’s update includes events in Seattle, Texas, New Jersey, Michigan, Canada and all over California.
You can find an even more extensive list of creator signings on the Free Comic Book Day website.
SLG Publishing will celebrate Free Comic Book Day at their San Jose location, The SLG Art Boutiki, with live music:
The Boutiki will be open from 12-4 giving away (Yes, GIVING AWAY) comic books and all kinds of cool stuff. We will have a selection of the official Free Comic Book Day comics as well as a large selection of SLG comics from years past. Maybe a couple of toys, who knows. Live Music by Perpetual Infinity (come get your funk on).
The SLG Art Boutiki is located at 577 S. Market Street, San Jose, CA 95113. The night before they have a gallery opening featuring the work of Eric Jones, along with more live music. For information on all their May event, check out this blog post.
At the New York Comic Con earlier this month, Radical Publishing announced The Last Days of American Crime, a new book by writer Rick Remender and artist Greg Tocchini. I caught up with Remender for a brief Q&A on the book, working with Radical and the screenplay he’s already working on based on the property.
JK: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview, Rick. What can you tell me about your new book from Radical, The Last Days of American Crime? What’s the book about?
Rick: The skinny: The U.S. government has perfected a broadcast signal that will extinguish criminal thoughts. Enter fifty-four-year-old burnout, Graham Brick, a grifter who, with only 10 days before the signal goes live, discovers the crime of the century that he’d been planning suddenly transformed into the last crime in American history—if he can pull it off.
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.
There are only a couple of days left until the curtain lifts, but I’ll be posting info on what various publishers, creators, retailers, etc. have planned for the show up until the last moment possible. So if you haven’t yet shared your booth schedule, comic debut, special deal or any other information about what you have planned for the show, drop me an email.
• A limited number of lucky fans attending the show on Friday will have the chance to see a certain comic book movie well before the general public:
Three-day and Friday only members have an opportunity to receive a free pass to a special Friday, February 27, 11:55 PM IMAX screening of Watchmen courtesy of WonderCon & Warner Bros.!
Drawing will be held at WonderCon, Friday, February 27 only. Members (3-day and Friday only) will draw a ticket for the opportunity to receive a free pass, while supplies last.
Go to the WonderCon Boutique Booth (#242) for a chance to win from 5:00-7:00 PM.
More details here. The screening is at 11:55 p.m. Friday night at a secret location.
As is typical with most conventions, Sunday was a bit slower at the New York Comic Con in the news department. But a few items did manage to sneak out …
• At the Mondo Marvel panel today, Marvel announced that Saturday Night Live cast members Bill Hader and Seth Meyers are working on an Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween one-shot with art by Kevin Maguire.
• Editor Tom Brevoort announced “The Marvels Project” by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting, which explores the origins of the Marvel Universe. It kicks off in June and is part of Marvel’s 70th anniversary celebration.
• Chris Eliopoulos and Ed Guerra are working on a Lockjaw & the Pet Avengers one-shot, which will feature Lockjaw, frog Thor, Lockheed, Red Wing, Speedball’s cat, Zabu and Aunt May’s dog.
• Coming out of Saturday’s panels and continuing a theme that played out all weekend, Dynamite Comics announced they had another $1 comic in the works featuring a Project Superpowers character. They also announced Garth Ennis is working on a six-issue series called Herogasm, while Leah Moore and John Reppion are working on a new Sherlock Holmes book.
• Speaking of comic book pricing, Radical announced yesterday that their comics will now generally be 48 pages each at a price of $4.99, with stories coming in three-part arcs. They also announced a few upcoming series, like Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency and Aladdin: Legacy of the Lost.
No doubt more stories and panel coverage will spill into tomorrow.