"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
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]
Publishing | DC Comics joins the Kia Soul, Goldfish, My Little Pony and several others on Advertising Age’s annual list of America’s Hottest Brands: “With decades of stories under their capes and utility belts, Superman — and other DC characters, including Aquaman and the Flash — had ossified. Though relaunching its entire cast and making their adventures available to print and electronic audiences might alienate some hard-core DC fans, it might also gain plenty of new ones. Making DC characters more popular is crucial for its parent company. While the comic-book business is way down from its heyday, its characters fuel big-ticket Hollywood movies that can generate millions of dollars in revenue and licensing. The pressure may be on DC because rival Marvel, now owned by Disney, has churned out superhero film properties on a regular basis for years.” [Advertising Age]
Broadway | Producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark have changed their tune on the $75 million musical; previously they predicted they wouldn’t make back the money invested in the show without franchising it in other cities and countries, but now they predict they’ll make it back entirely from the Broadway run. They also are considering adding in new scenes and a new musical number to the production every year, “making it akin to a new comic book edition, and then urging the show’s fans to buy tickets again.” [The New York Times]
Viz Media will release Art for Hope, a digital art book anthology that benefits Architecture for Humanity’s ongoing disaster reconstruction efforts in Japan, on Dec. 1 through VIZManga.com and the Viz Manga app for the various Apple devices. The art book, which will be available until May 31, contains contributions from 40 artists from around the world, including Chew co-creator Rob Guillory, Long Tail Kitty and Mr. Elephanter creator Lark Pien, muralist Sirron Norris and Skullkickers co-creator Jim Zubkavich.
According to the press release, each of the 40 artists participating in the anthology used Autodesk SketchBook digital paint and drawing software applications in some way to create original pieces for the anthology. Selections from it will also be exhibited at the Autodesk annual user conference, Autodesk University, taking place at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. Access to the exhibit is free to the public.
You can find a list of all the contributors after the jump.
Retailing | The Borders death watch continues, with the struggling bookstore chain giving publishers until Feb. 1 to accept or reject a proposal to convert delayed payments into loans. Publishers reportedly are skeptical of the plan, which would see them take up one-third to one-quarter of the bookseller’s reorganized debt. The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based retailer also has hired bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers to advise in its restructuring efforts, which center on negotiations to secure a $500 million credit line from GE Capital.
Borders, the second-largest book chain in the United States, announced in late December that it would delay payments to key publishers and distributors, leading some — such as Diamond Book Distributors — to stop shipping books. Jacket Copy reminds us that Borders Group is closing nearly 200 Waldebooks and Borders Express outlets before the end of the month. Additionally, it’s shuttering 17 Borders superstore locations nationwide. [The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal]
Broadway | A fourth actor was injured Monday night during a performance of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, the $65-million musical that’s been plagued by delays and technical mishaps. Aerialist Christopher Tierney, who serves as a stunt double for Spider-Man and the villains Meeks and Kraven, fell about 30 feet when the cable to his harness snapped during the closing minutes of the show. Some equipment reportedly dropped into the audience as well. The performance was put on hold and then canceled as an ambulance arrived at the Foxwoods Theatre to take Tierney to Bellevue Hospital. Tierney is in stable condition, but no further information has been released. [BroadwayWorld, The Associated Press, CNN]
Publishing | Fantagraphics has laid off Dirk Deppey,The Comics Journal‘s online editor, former managing editor, and longtime writer of the Journalista! blog. His final day is Wednesday: “No regrets: The last ten years have kicked ass. I’ve done great things and meet interesting people, and was paid it. How great is that?” [Twitter]
Legal | The general affairs committee of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly has approved the government’s revised amendment to the Youth Healthy Development Ordinance, clearing the way for a vote by the full assembly on Wednesday. The controversial bill would further restrict sexual content in manga, anime and video games. A breakdown of the legislation can be found here. The Mainichi Daily News provides commentary. [Anime News Network]
Legal | In a surprise move, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has decided that the DC superhero- and Wizard of Oz-themed drinking glasses recalled last month because of high lead content aren’t children’s products and, therefore, not subject to recall. [The Associated Press]
Passings | Bluegrass musician and comic-art collector Don Lineberger, 71, died Dec. 5 after being pulled from a house fire in Valdosta, Georgia. Smoke inhalation is believed to be the cause of death. A banjo player who performed with the likes of Bill Monroe, Glen Campbell and Steve Martin, Lineberger was also known for his extensive collection of EC Comics memorabilia. Posters in this thread at the Collectors Society message board are attempting to compile a list of original EC work likely lost in the fire. [The Valdosta Daily Times]
Chew, the action-comedy series by John Layman and Rob Guillory, has been one of the surprise hits of the past year, earning critical acclaim, Eisner and Harvey awards, spots on The New York Times bestseller list, and the attention of Hollywood.
So you might expect the speculator market to take interest in the quirky comic, which centers on police detective turned FDA agent Tony Chu, a cibopath who receives psychic impressions from whatever he eats. But does that interest amount to, say, $13,000? For one issue?
Guillory points this morning to an eBay auction for a Certified Guaranty Company-graded 10.0 copy of Chew #1 — it’s billed as “the ONLY one” — for a starting bid of $3,500. Or you could buy it now for a mere $12,999.
“Will this sell?” Guillory asked. “WILL IT?” He goes on to call the “Buy It Now” price “a steal.”
When asked on Twitter whether the issue is worth that much, Guillory responded, “As co-creator and artist of the book, I can (without bias) say YES. YES, IT IS.”
If you have an extra $13,000 burning a hole in your pocket, take note: The auction ends on Saturday. Chew #15, priced at just $2.99, is set for release on Nov. 10.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what’s on the night stands of the Robot 6 crew. This week our special guest is Kody Chamberlain, who you might know from such comics as Punks, newuniversal: 1959, The Foundation and his latest, Sweets, from Image Comics.
To see what Kody and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …