Awards | Following the nomination of two graphic novels for the Costa Prize, the new chairman of the Man Booker Prize said he would welcome submissions of graphic novels as well. [The Telegraph]
Passings | Former Wizard staff member Marc Wilkofsky, whose efforts on behalf of Friends of Lulu earned him their Volunteer of the Year award in 2005, has died at the age of 42. He was also an enthusiastic member of the NYC Comic Jams. [Andrew Kardon, The Beat]
Conventions | Richard Bruton files a comprehensive con report on the recent Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, England. [Forbidden Planet]
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics — now with 100 percent more JK Parkin! Michael May, Graeme McMillan, Chris Arrant and JK have each picked the five comics they’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 20 (or so; we overlap sometimes) of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99): Mike Richardson, Dark Horse’s head honcho, teams with Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai to retell the story of the 47 ronin who avenged their master after he was forced to commit ritual suicide for assaulting a court official. It will be both very cool and a little odd to see Sakai drawing samurai that aren’t anthropomorphic animals and aren’t in black and white (the book’s full color), but I’ve always admired his clean style. As an added bonus, Kazuo Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub fame consulted on the project, so this should be a treat.
Great Pacific #1 (Image Comics, $2.99): Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo have come up with a book that I just love the high concept behind: the heir to one of America’s most successful oil companies moves to the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch and declares it a sovereign country. He then fights giant sea monsters, based on the preview art that’s been released, which is an added bonus.
Marvel NOW!: This might be cheating, but Marvel has 10 new comics debuting in November under the Marvel NOW! banner. Mark Waid on Hulk? John Romita on Captain America? Matt Fraction writing Fantastic Four and FF? Jonathan Hickman on Avengers? Yeah, I’ll just lump all these together and hope no one notices I’m gaming the system here …
Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown: Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking.
Retrovirus (Image Comics, $16.99): Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s latest graphic novel, drawn by Norberto Fernandez, is about a research scientist who specializes in viruses heading to Antarctica to examine a perfectly preserved caveman. I’m a fan of Palmiotti and Gray’s work together, from Jonah Hex to The Monolith (which gets the collection treatment in November), and this one sounds like it could be a lot of fun.
The fundraising website Kickstarter is fast becoming a vital conduit for creators (and some publishers) to secure funding to publish comics. And comics vet Jimmy Palmiotti has taken to this new paradigm with aplomb, using it last year to fund his Image graphic novel Queen Crab with artist Artiz Eiguren. And now the Marvel Knights co-founder is returning with an even more ambitious project: a graphic novel titled Retrovirus with longtime co-writer Justin Gray and artist Norberto Fernandez.
In my mind, Retrovirus is Encino Man meets Jurassic Park – dredge out the humor and fill it in with drama, intrigue and horror. The book follows a young viralogist named Zoe who takes a job at a research facility in Antarctica. Her new employers have found a neanderthal, perfectly frozen in ice and waiting for research to begin. Zoe’s brought in for her specialty in extinct virus, and her subject turns out to be a treasure trove but also a trap door into a dangerous future where a long extinct virus breaks fee into an unsuspecting modern population.
The Retrovirus team set a goal of $11,600 to fund the production of 58-page graphic novella, and with 25 days to go they’ve already accumulated over 80 percent of that goal. The lowest donation earns you a PDF copy of the book, with the premium pledge, $400, earning a character named after you. Nearly 200 people have backed the project at this point, including a number of comic professionals like Andy Lanning, Paul Mounts, Andy Smith and Alex de Campi.