Marguerite Bennett Discusses WWII Female Heroes in "DC Comics Bombshells"
Comic Books, Digital Comics
As they teased back in September, Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology) and her husband Ray Dillon (Servant of the Bones, The Last Unicorn) have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a graphic-novel adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.
“The original story is one of the most beautiful, inspired things I have ever read, and I hope to convey that beauty to the best of my abilities into this graphic novel,” De Liz writes on the project’s Kickstarter page. “I also intend to further explore Peter Pan and Captain Hook’s backstory by adapting parts from J.M Barrie’s The Little White Bird ( prequel to Peter and Wendy) and a little known informations given by Barrie about Jas. Hook into the story.”
They’re seeking a rather sizable amount — $48,000 — to fund production of the first of three planned volumes, which will be released by IDW Publishing. Pledge incentives range from a copy of the 90-page Peter Pan: The Companion Guide to signed editions to an appearance as a background character in one or more panels. Just a day into the campaign, they’ve already raised $6,424.
I debated waiting until the Kickstarter launch to post about this, but it’s never too early to start getting excited about something this cool. Renae De Liz (The Last Unicorn, Womanthology) and her husband Ray Dillon (Servant of the Bones, The Last Unicorn) are adapting J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan for comics. Judging from the teases on the project’s blog (and previous experience with De Liz’s work), it’s going to be amazing.
You can follow their progress either on the project’s blog or on Twitter, but De Liz also gives some additional details on her own blog where she talks about her inspiration for the book, publishing plans, and the possibility of donating some proceeds to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, the spiritual copyright holder of Peter Pan. It’s still early in the creation process, but thanks to cool art like the animated cover below, this will be fun to watch as it develops. From Womanthology, De Liz has some experience using Kickstarter in a successful way, so once that campaign launches in about a month, expect to hear a lot more about this.
Renae De Liz, the artist who spearheaded the Womanthology project and drew IDW’s recent The Last Unicorn comic, is recovering in a critical care unit due to an infection in her blood and kidneys, as well as other health issues.
“She has an infection that has spread into her blood and kidneys, as well as pneumonia and some other things we’re worried about, but I don’t want to say anything there until test results are back,” her husband Ray Dillon posted on his blog today. “As of today she’s doing a bit better and we’re told after perhaps a week in the Critical Care Unit she should be mostly recovered. It got really bad and we almost lost her. Been a very rough couple of weeks. We’re behind in work, income, communication, and our nerves are just shot from all this.”
Dillon notes De Liz does not have health insurance, and he has been asked by friends and fans if they can donate money to assist with the “likely $30k or more in medical bills we’re racking up here.” He adds that “right now we don’t have any dire need and there are a lot of people out there who probably do,” comparing their current situation to one where they lost their house a couple of years ago. “We might be paying these medical bills forever, but it’s not the same as needing to raise a certain amount by a certain time to save a house or to have a major operation to save a life or anything like that,” he said.
If you’re inclined to help, he has a donate button set up on his site where you can do so through PayPal. It would also likely help if you bought something from his Amazon store, where you can find several of the projects he (and De Liz) worked on.
With Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld apparently making her way to the television screen via Cartoon Network’s upcoming DC Nation cartoon block, it seems like the perfect time for a revival of the comic book. And if DC Comics needs a creator for it, they need look no further than Renae De Liz.
De Liz, artist of IDW’s Servants of the Bones and one of the folks behind the Womanthology project, has been sharing Amethyst artwork for awhile now on her blog. Robot 6 contributor Chris Arrant posted some of it on Project: Rooftop, which led to a discussion in CBR’s forums about it.
And it sounds like De Liz not only has the artistic talents to bring everyone’s favorite Gem-themed princess back to comics, but she also has a story. “Yes! PLEASE let me revamp Amethyst! I have a great story in mind!” she tweeted earlier today. You can see some of her sequential pages over on her blog.
Creators | The Hero Initiative offers an update from colorist Tom Ziuko, who was hospitalized earlier this year for acute kidney failure and other health conditions, and then returned to the hospital for emergency surgery about a month ago. “I can’t impress upon you enough how frightening it is to actually come up against a life-threatening medical situation (not to mention two times in less than a year), and not have the financial means to survive if you’re suddenly not able to earn a living. Like so many other freelancers out there, I live paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford health insurance. Without an organization like the Hero Initiative to lend me support in this time of dire need, I truly don’t know where I would be today,” Ziuko said. [The Hero Initiative]
Publishing | CNN asks the question “Are women and comics risky business?” as Christian Sager talks to former DC editor Janelle Asselin, blogger Jill Pantozzi, Womanthology organizer Renae De Liz and others about the number of women who work in comics, the portrayal of female characters and why comic companies don’t actively market books to women. “Think about it from the publisher’s point of view,” Asselin said. “Say you sell 90 percent of your comics to men between 18 and 35, and 10 percent of your comics to women in the same age group. Are you going to a) try to grow that 90 percent of your audience because you feel you already have the hook they want and you just need to get word out about it, or b) are you going to try to figure out what women want in their comics and do that to grow your line?” [CNN]
Pretty much since the Womanthology initiative began, Robot 6 has done its best to cover it. A few weeks back, some questions came about how the money raised for the Womanthology project was to be spent and further questions resulted based on the response to the concerns. Rather than stand on the sidelines as the discussion played out, I contacted Womanthology organizers to see if an email interview was possible. Laura Morley, Womanthology’s project administrator, was willing to take my questions. Thanks to Morley for her time, as well as to Michael May, Sean T. Collins and Graeme McMillan for interview prep support.
Tim O’Shea: Laura, how did you come to be involved with Womanthology?
Laura Morley: I’m an aspiring comics writer, and saw the original tweet Renae De Liz sent out in May, seeking women to contribute comics to an anthology for charity. I hadn’t actually crossed paths with Renae back then, and saw the message via someone else’s retweet – I wish I could remember whose, so I could thank them! It’s been an amazing experience for me. Then, since I’m one of those perverse people who gets a kick out of wrangling spreadsheets, I sent an email offering to help out with admin for the project – from that I wound up coordinating the admin effort, which has meant acting as a first point of contact for our contributors and our Kickstarter backers. You can also hear me sounding British on the Womanthology Kickstarter video.
O’Shea: Can you explain how it came to be that there is a hardback anthology and a sketchbook associated with Womanthology?
Morley: Publishing a hardcover volume was the plan from the beginning. The book is going to be pretty hefty – it’s over 300 pages long, on a 9×12 inch format, and we wanted to make something truly elegant that would serve as a good vehicle for the beautiful work inside. The sketchbook came about, I believe, as an opportunity to showcase some more of the work by our creators. Some contributors preferred to draw pinups than full stories, and some wanted to do both; some writers wanted to share samples from their scripts – we thought this would be a good way to get more of it out to the audience it deserves.
Rachel Pandich is an ambitious writer. I first became of her eight-issue miniseries, Aspire (Movement Comics), when I ran across it at this year’s HeroesCon (Pandich and series artist Ashley Lanni were invited to peddle the series at Teenage Satan‘s booth by Marsha Cooke). The miniseries aims to tell the tale of Destiny, a 12-year old girl who wants to fight crime. In addition to discussing this miniseries, Pandich discusses her upcoming involvement in Womanthology.
Tim O’Shea: Is Movement Comics your own publishing entity established to publish Aspire?
Rachel Pandich: No. I’ve had the script for the first issue of Aspire since late 2006 early 2007. It took a lot of shopping around for both a publisher and an artist. Finally a friend sent me an email directing me to Movement Magazine. Movement is an indie music zine that had dabbled in the local comic book scene before so I figured “Why not?”
O’Shea: How did you and artist Ashley Lanni first decide to start collaborating?
Pandich: Like I said, I’ve had the script for the first issue for a while. I was on my fourth artist, who was very quickly giving me every excuse in the book as to why he could not finish the first page, when I met Ashley. It was at Jacksonville’s monthly artwalk. Another artist that was next to her was handing out fliers for a pop-culture art show the next week. I went and Ashley was there too. I liked what I saw and a few months later we had agreed to work together.
There’s anthologies. Then there’s Womanthology.
Designed to showcase the works of female comic creators “of every age and experience level,” the short stories in Womanthology center around the theme “Heroic.” In addition to comics, the book will also have interviews and “how-to” tutorials by female creators to encourage the next generation of talent. All proceeds from the book will be donated to the charity Global Giving Foundation.
To bring this all together, the women behind Womanthology are turning to Kickstarter.com to raise money to print the book. With a release date tentatively set for December 2011, the Kickstarter campaign has already generated $18,000 of its $25,000 goal with just under a month to go.
The list of contributors reads like a who’s who of comic creators, including the likes of Ann Nocenti, Camille d’Errico, Ming Doyle, Colleen Doran, June Brigman, Fiona Staples, Barbara Kesel, Gail Simone, Trina Robbins and more.
Stumptown is over, and now it is time for the other Portland—Portland, Maine—to host its comics festival. Unlike its West Coast namesake, Portland, Maine, is not well known as a teeming hive of comics activity, but there are some homegrown cartoonists, and this festival has attracted quite a few Boston and New York creators as well.
While it doesn’t advertise itself as a kids’ comic con, the lineup is heavy on all-ages creators: Andy Runton (Owly), Lincoln Peirce (Big Nate), Renae De Liz and Ray Dillon (The Last Unicorn), Rick Parker (Diary of a Stinky Dead Kid, Harry Potty and the Deathly Boring), and Colleen AF Venable (Pet Shop Private Eye) leading the pack. Maine’s own Jay Piscopo, whose Capt’n Eli books are inspired by a Down East root-beer mascot, will be there as well. The one headliner who is not best known for his children’s work is superhero artist Joe Quinones.
The full guest list reveals a wider range of creators, including Carol Burrell, Cathy Leamy, and Mike Lynch. MECAF promises the pleasures of a small con; it is creator-focused (no card tables full of longboxes), affordable ($5 admission for adults, kids are free), and likely to be blissfully free of large crowds, which makes for a more relaxed atmosphere for creators and visitors alike. If I were in Maine, I’d make a day of it.