Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Crime | Artist and collector Jim Wheelock talks about the loss of his comics collection, which was stolen from a storage unit in Brattleboro, Vermont: “I remember where I was and what I was doing when I bought or read many of [the comic books]. Later, when I worked in the financially rickety world of a freelance artist, knowing the books were in Vermont gave me a sense of security, a retirement nest egg. This is what the culprit robbed me of.” Vermont-based cartoonists James Kochalka and Harry Bliss weigh in on what such a loss would mean. Wheelock’s thousands of comics included extensive runs of The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four, in some cases beginning from the first issues. [Seven Days]
Announced only in broad strokes last spring, the fast-paced card game is designed by Kevin Wilson (Descent, X-Files, Arkham Horror), with art by Guillory and text by Layman. Players compete to close cased taken from the page of the comic series, enlisting help from Chew characters like John Colby, Amelia Minz and Buttercup the lion while using villains to sabotage their rivals.
As added incentive, preordered copies of the game will include an exclusive variant edition of Chew #1, featuring Guillory’s homage to Dogs Playing Poker used for the packaging, as well as 20 pink CHOG plastic minis that will change color in future printings.
IDW Games was launched in October 2013 through a partnership between IDW Publishing and tabletop games publisher Pandasaurus Games, with 30 Days of Night and Kill Shakespeare announced as the first projects.
Analysis | Rob Salkowitz kicks off the new year with big-picture questions about “geek culture”: With the popularity of comics-based movies, will continuity and nostalgia become less important? And will comics themselves become less important? “Putting out comics is a relatively costly and troublesome process with limited revenue potential relative to other ways of exploiting the intellectual property. A fan base that buys licensed merchandise and watches entertainment programming without needing a monthly fix of new art and story is probably considered a feature of the new comics economy, not a bug.” [ICv2]
Creators | Chew artist Rob Guillory, who will appear this weekend at Wizard World New Orleans, talks about the strange comics that he read as a kid (The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man) and the unexpected success of Chew, which will end next year with its 60th issue: “In the beginning, John and I were kind of like, ‘Well, best-case scenario, we can go 60 issues. Worst-case scenario, we can do five and go our separate ways and never speak again.’ I don’t know if we’ve seen the peak of our reception. I don’t think we’ll see how popular we’ve been until it’s over. When it’s wrapped and it’s the complete thing, I think people will start missing us.” [Best of New Orleans]
It’s a wonderful thing when two things you love seem to love each other as well.
When I read that former wrestling superstar and current Walking Dead enthusiast CM Punk is contributing a story for February 2015’s Thor annual, I enjoyed a small moment of having my cake and eating it too. Forgive my indulgence, but trust me, comics and wrestling sort of sit together on the school bus of storytellling; although they’re different mediums entirely, they share some common traits and interests that let one sort of lean into the other from time to time.
If you think about it, pro wrestling (or sports entertainment if you want to be more direct ) and comic books share a style of visual storytelling that starts in very broad strokes and becomes a masterpiece through the details and context of their respective works. Both deal in good and “bad”; whereas comics has its heroes and villains, wrestling has its faces and heels. Both heels and villains tend to do a lot of the heavy lifting, story-wise, as it’s their antagonism that creates the context and drives the plot. It’s why when Captain America and Iron Man fight, they’re never doing it for the competition; one of them will be in the wrong, enabling the reader to root for or against someone. When the Undertaker fights Hulk Hogan, no matter how cool the Undertaker is (and he’s so cool), Hulk Hogan is our hero, often our champion, so we hope he defeats the “bad guy.”
Adding to a roster that already includes Kill Shakespeare, 30 Days of Night and The X-Files, IDW Games unveiled plans Sunday at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Las Vegas for a line of tabletop games based on Chew.
According to ICv2.com, creators John Layman and Rob Guillory will be involved in the development of board, dice and card games, set to debut in early 2015.
Published by Image Comics, Chew tells the story of special agent Tony Chu, a cibopath — he can see the life and eventual death of anything he eats — who lives in a world where poultry is outlawed in the wake of a sweeping bird flu pandemic. An animated adaptation, starring Steve Yeun and Felicia Day, was announced last month.
IDW Games was launched in October through a partnership between IDW Publishing and tabletop games publisher Pandasaurus Games, with 30 Days of Night and Kill Shakespeare announced as the first projects. The agreement was expanded in February to include the re-release of of Pandasaurus games like Tammany Hall, Rattus Cartus and Yedo.
Two years after the release of Secret Agent Poyo, a one-shot starring the cybernetic kung-fu rooster from Chew, Image Comics promises another spinoff that will put that one to shame: Warrior Chicken Poyo, again by the Chew team of John Layman and Rob Guillory.
“Secret Agent Poyo was the most important comic ever published by Image, in addition to being the best comic book ever published in the entire history of humanity,” Layman, never one for hyperbole, said in a statement. “And Warrior Chicken Poyo is SO good, it will make Secret Agent Poyo look like rancid, smelly garbage! THAT’S how good it’s going to be! Warrior Chicken Poyo will change comics forever, as well as the life of anybody who reads it.”
While Secret Agent Poyo put a James Bond slant on the world of Chew, Warrior Chicken Poyo is described as high fantasy — “The Lord of the Rings, Conan, and with a dash of The Wizard of Oz thrown in.”
Priced at $3.50, the 36-page comic includes a pinup gallery by a host of artists. Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 arrives July 9.
Welcome to Best of 7, where we talk about “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out.
I should add that this post contains SPOILERS for Batman #28 and All-New X-Men #23, so read at your own risk. Now let’s get to it …
Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Business | Marvel parent The Walt Disney Co., which just purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, reportedly has begun an internal cost-cutting review that could include layoffs in its studio and other divisions. The cutbacks are believed to focus on jobs that are no longer needed because of technological advancements and redundancies created by the acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. Disney has made a series of staff cutbacks over the past couple of years, beginning in January 2011 with 200 jobs in its interactive division; Marvel trimmed about a dozen positions in October 2011. [Yahoo! Finance]
Publishing | Robert Stanley Martin takes a new look at Jim Shooter’s tenure as editor-in-chief of Marvel. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Today’s lucky creator is Rob Guillory, artist and co-creator of Chew. Today sees the release of Chew #30, “the issue that is gonna take EVERYBODY by surprise.” It marks the halfway point of the the Eisner-award winning comic published by Image Comics, in addition to being a big wedding issue, so check it out.
My thanks to Rob for agreeing to answer our questions. Now let’s get to it …
Image Comics has announced a Chris Giarrusso variant cover for October’s Chew #29, by John Layman and Rob Guillory. For every 10 copies of the issue retailers order, one of those will feature a Giarrusso variant.
Best known for G-Man, Giarrusso previously created Image 20th-anniversary variants for Youngblood, Spawn, The Savage Dragon, The Walking Dead, ShadowHawk and Morning Glories.
Check out Giarrusso’s variant and Guillory’s regular cover below. Chew #29, which originally was scheduled for September release, goes on sale Oct. 17.
Comics | Last week a building fire destroyed the negatives for Dave Sim’s Cerebus: High Society, but George Peter Gatsis reports that more than half the 500 pages already had been scanned for the audio/visual digital edition (covering issues 26-50). For the other pages, Sim will be getting the best possible printed material and, hopefully, high-res scans. [Bleeding Cool]
Comics | Food writer Jon Watson addresses “the rise of foodie comics,” singling out Chew by John Layman and Rob Guillory: “It helps that the book is extremely well written, but I’m interested in a well-executed crossover of foodie culture into pop culture. It’s not often that happens when it doesn’t elicit a groan or feel forced. I think that, as food culture has grown of the last few decades, it is organically inspiring other art forms rather than feeling like an attempt at commercialization.” [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Chew #30 marks the halfway point of the series, according to writer John Layman. If you paid attention to the previous 29 issues, here’s a fun treat … a sneak preview of the tri-fold cover by Rob Guillory. The colors are unfinished, but the colorful cast is all there, along with a few Easter eggs.
Check out the cover in full below.
Princeless, the all-ages comic about a princess who’s tired of waiting to be rescued, led the 2012 Glyph Comics Awards, taking home honors for story of the year, best writer and best female character. The awards, which recognize “the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year,” were presented this weekend at the 11th annual East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia.
The winners are:
Story of the year: Princeless, by Jeremy Whitley and M. Goodwin (Action Lab Entertainment)
Best writer: Jeremy Whitley, Princeless (Action Lab Entertainment)
Best artist: Sara Pichelli, Ultimate Comics Spider-Man (Marvel)
Best cover: Chew #27, Rob Guillory (Image Comics)
Best male character: Miles Morales, Ultimate Spider-Man; Brian Michael Bendis, writer, Sara Pichelli, artist; inspired by the character created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (Marvel)
Best female character: Adrienne, Princeless; created by Jeremy Whitley, writer, and M. Goodwin, artist (Action Lab Entertianment)
Rising star award for best self-publisher: Whit Taylor, Watermelon
Best comic strip or webcomic: Fungus Grotto, by Ms. Shatia Hamilton
Conventions | Wizard’s executive chairman Mike Mathews tells Heidi MacDonald that after the resignation of former CEO Gareb Shamus, the company wants to be “a Switzerland of entertainment” and mend fences with members of the industry: “Gareb is one of these types of personalities who has taken strong positions over the years with various people in the industry and brands. And that kind of hurt us because of where we are trying to go — we’re trying to be a Switzerland of entertainment and we want to try to try to reach out to brands.” MacDonald notes the company is offering a $100 credit toward Wizard conventions to former Wizard subscribers whose subscriptions abruptly ended when the magazine was shut down. A new CEO is expected to be named early next month. [The Beat]
Conventions | Image Comics announced several more guests for the Image Expo, scheduled for Feb. 24-26 in Oakland, California. The lineup now includes Blair Butler, John Layman, Rob Guillory, Nick Spencer, Joshua Fialkov, Joe Keatinge, Jim McCann and Jim Zubkavich, among many others. [press release]
Organizations | The Associação da Luta Contra o Cancer is running an awareness campaign in Mozambique featuring images drawn by artist Maisa Chaves of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, She-Hulk and Storm checking their breasts for lumps. [Daily Mail]