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NYCC ’13 | Oni Press unveils convention exclusives, premieres

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As we inch that much closer to New York Comic Con, which opens Thursday, Oni Press has revealed its full rundown of convention exclusives and premieres, ranging from color editions of the fourth volumes of Scott Pilgrim and Courtney Crumrin to the debut of Letter 44.

NYCC will be held through Sunday at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Oni Press can be found at Booth #1844.

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NYCC ’13 | Oni Press touts ‘Premature Release’ of ‘The Auteur’

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Oni Press is bringing the first issue of Rick Spears and James Callahan’s The Auteur to New York Comic Con next week, five months before the series officially debuts.

Announced in July at Comic-Con International, The Auteur centers on Nathan T. Rex, a big-time Hollywood producer whose first film in an already-completed tentpole trilogy has just flopped, dooming the rest of the franchise. With his future in Tinseltown looking bleak, he turns to a serial killer to consult on a horror film he’s working on. And that’s only the beginning. Or, in the words of publisher, “join disgraced Hollywood super producer Nathan T. Rex as he crashes through a world of glue-sniffing gurus, hard-nosed magnates, and prophetic exotic dancers on his quest for celluloid immortality in one of the most unique comedy series in years.”
The Auteur: Premature Release Edition #1 will be available at the Oni Press booth (#1844) for $5. The Auteur officially launches in March. Continue Reading »

SDCC ’13 | Oni to publish Spears and Callahan’s ‘The Auteur’

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Today at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Oni Press announced a new ongoing series, The Auteur by Rick Spears (Teenagers from Mars), James Callahan (Strange Detective Tales, Rotting In Dirtville) and Luigi Anderson. Spears said it’s his first ongoing series, and that he and Callahan have been friends for years.

The comic is about Nathan T. Rex, a big-time movie producer, and the first movie in his already-filmed mega tentpole trilogy has just flopped, dooming the rest of the films. With his career in Hollywood pretty much sunk, he decides to punch up the horror film he’s working on by bringing in a serial killer as the consultant. “Then it gets weird,” Spears said. “I’m very excited that Oni is letting me do this. I only hope they don’t regret it.”

The comic is due in spring 2014. ComicsAlliance has a preview of the first issue, and an interview with Spears.

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Vasilis Lolos reveals final covers for unfinished Pirates of Coney Island

I was a big fan of The Pirates of Coney Island, the riotous and (alas) never-finished 2006-2007 Image Comics miniseries by Rick Spears and Vasilis Lolos about young love, car-jacking and gang violence on the sun-drenched boardwalk. It was fun and frenetic, with a fascinating use of color by Lolos (I wrote about the latter in 2006; unfortunately the accompanying images evaporated into the ether).

But following the release of Issue 6, The Pirates of Coney Island disappeared because, as Lolos recently explained to Robot 6’s Chris Arrant, “I was literally not making any money off the issues and my obligations to support my mother were getting bigger and bigger.” As the artist indicated in the interview, he drew the covers for the final two issues in 2010 (or 2011, judging by the signature), and yesterday, he finally revealed them on his blog. It seems unlikely Spears and Lolos will ever reunite to complete the miniseries, but the covers are a bittersweet reminder of what could’ve been.

Now I just need to find what I did with those six issues and reacquaint myself with Patch & Co. …

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Food or Comics? | Batwoman, 20th Century Boys, Regenesis and more

Batwoman #2

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Chris Arrant

If I had $15, I’d first grab hold of my favorite of DC’s New 52, Batwoman #2 (DC, $2.99). J.H. Williams III has successfully kept up to the immense expectations he accumulated following his run with Greg Rucka, and the artwork seems to benefit even more by J.H.’s input into the story as co-writer. Next I’d dig down for two of my regular pulls, Northlanders #45 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99) and Uncanny X-Force #16 (Marvel, $3.99). For my final pick, I’d have to miss a bunch of other titles for the chance to get the CBLDF Liberty Annual 2011 #4 (Image, $4.99). I love the anthology format, and having that plus the good cause plus the a-list talent makes it a must get; seriously, can you imagine one comic book containing new work by Frank Quitely, Williams, Mark Waid, J. Michael Straczynski, Matt Wagner AND Craig Thompson? BELIEVE IT!

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Gorillas Riding Dinosaurs | Black Metal

Black Metal

Black Metal, Book 1
Written by Rick Spears; Illustrated by Chuck BB
Oni; $11.95

As someone who’s not a fan of Black Metal the Music Genre, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Black Metal the Graphic Novel. I hoped I’d like it. I love Chuck BB’s (Secret Skull) art for one thing. I’ve also heard great things about Rick Spears’ Teenagers from Mars. Mostly though, while I don’t dig a lot of the music, I’m very entertained by the trappings of Metal: the skulls, the demon lords…the Vikings. If Spears and BB were able to just tell an awesome story with all that stuff, Black Metal would succeed.

Undoubtedly, readers will find more enjoyment in it the closer they relate to the music and the culture that Black Metal celebrates. There’s no false advertising in that title. Shawn and Sam Stronghand are an orphaned pair of junior high twins who’ve been shuffled from school to school and foster home to foster home. They also – as the book says – have “a penchant for the darkest of metal.” When they play an album by a hardcore band called Frost Axe, they hear the legend of a war in Hell between two Barons: a huge, horned bruiser called the Roth and the sinister demon named Von Char who defeated the Roth through trickery. Playing the record backwards, the twins are pulled to Hell where they recover the Roth’s Sword of Atoll and return to Earth with it.

Von Char doesn’t like this of course and sends minions to kill the boys. As the Stronghands (and their gross little foster brother) try to survive, they encounter a band of ancient warriors (action!), Norse gods (adventure!), and cute girls (romance!) only one of whom is human.

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