Following up on Kevin’s post from last week on holiday-related sales, here area few more comic-related deals for Cyber Monday — plus a few that extend into the month of December:
• Fantagraphics will hold a 30 percent off sale on almost 100 items on their site Monday, where you can also get their exclusive minicomics.
• Dark Horse Digital is offering comics fans 50 percent off their entire order ($15 minimum) for 24 hours on Monday, if you use the code “dhdcyber” when you check out.
• The Devastator kicks off a round of holiday deals tomorrow on their site. “Subscriptions, single issues, art prints and other goodies will be bundled up for Christmastime Consumerism.” They’ll have deals tomorrow through Dec. 15.
• Writer Ron Marz once again has kicked off his annual “Comics for Tots” drive, where you can buy comics autographed by Ron and others, and he’ll use the money to buy toys for Toys for Tots.
• Any books purchased from the Cartoon Books store through Dec. 19 will be autographed by Jeff Smith. If you haven’t read RASL, you can pick up all four volumes of it for $50, plus they’ve got some cool Bone hoodies available.
Amazon made a splash last month with the publication of Blackburn Burrow, a digital comic that it’s distributing for free via its Amazon Studios, a crowdsourcing project for movie scripts. Written by Ron Marz and illustrated by Matthew Dow Smith, the comic originated as an Amazon Studios screenplay and was produced by 12 Gauge Comics. Not only was the first issue free, but Amazon actually paid people to read it: Anyone who read the first issue and filled out a short survey got a $5 Amazon gift card.
Well, Issue 2 is now out, and while Amazon may not pay you to read it, it’s still free on Graphicly or via the Kindle store, and you’re still welcome to share your thoughts via a survey. You may not get five bucks, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing you have made the eventual movie that will be produced from this marginally better.
Issue 3 will be out in November.
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, where today we welcome special guest Ron Marz. Marz has written everything from Green Lantern to Witchblade, and you can currently find him working on comics like Artifacts, Prophecy, Blackburn Burrow and The Ride: Southern Gothic. He also writes the column Shelf Life for Comic Book Resources and can be found on Twitter.
To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Less than two weeks after IDW Publishing revealed plans for a new series called The Historians, writer Ron Marz and Jamal Igle have announced they’ve left the project.
Based on an idea by Eric Sellers, a master sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserves whom Marz first met several years ago, The Historians follows a special Air Force squadron who must pursue a rogue member through time. It’s planned for March 2013 release. In a blog post, Marz implied “creative differences” with Sellers led to the abrupt departure.
“This was not my choice, nor the choice of artist Jamal Igle, or publisher IDW,” he wrote. “I’m disappointed the project did not work out as planned. To my knowledge, Jamal has left the project as well. It’s best to describe the situation as one of creative differences, and leave it at that. I hope to work with both Jamal and IDW at some point in the future. I wish the best of luck to The Historians moving forward.”
In a statement to Comic Book Resources, Marz added, “Sometimes projects don’t work out as expected. That’s the case with The Historians, unfortunately. I’m not one to tell stories out of school, but ultimately the team of me and Jamal Igle weren’t the right fit for the project. I do want everyone to know that there are no problems between me, Jamal Igle and IDW. I’m looking forward to working with both Jamal and IDW in the future, hopefully the near future.”
Igle similarly wrote, “I still have a great relationship with Ron and the staff at IDW, and look forward to a healthy future with all parties involved.” On a happier note for the artist’s fans, Igle said the opening in his schedule means he can begin working on the first Molly Danger book next month rather than waiting until spring, shifting release from October 2013 to July 2013.
Conventions | Coming up this weekend: Stan Lee’s Comikaze in Los Angeles, featuring special guests Todd McFarlane, Neal Adams and Marv Wolfman. Attendance is expected to reach 60,000, which is a pretty big number for such a convention that’s only in its second year. [Hero Complex]
Conventions | James Sime, owner of Isotope Comics and one of the organizers of MorrisonCon, talks about, well, Isotope Comics and MorrisonCon, and what it was like translating the world of writer Grant Morrison into a comics event: “The *promise* of MorrisonCon is this crazy, life-altering weekend where you’re plugged directly into this swirling world of brilliant ideas, offbeat interests, mad obsessions, and personalities who fire Grant’s creativity. We had to make that promise real, to translate as many improbable concepts and even random off the cuff Morrison riffs as possible into the tangible world. To render all that into nightclubs and hotel rooms and meeting space chairs and places for awesome humans to meet and mingle. We all agreed, it just wasn’t worth doing unless we could live up to that promise, to truly make something worthy of the name MorrisonCon… and go far beyond it.” [Three If By Space]
The online retail giant Amazon, which already has a publishing arm of its own, has added digital comics to its portfolio with the release of Blackburn Burrow, a comic that is — they make no bones about it — a movie pitch. In fact, the comic originated as a screenplay in Amazon Studios, which is a sort of crowdsourcing commons where people can upload scripts, videos and other projects, and those with the best feedback rise to the top of the heap, apparently. Amazon has a number of projects from Amazon Studios in development, although none are in actual production yet, but it’s early days for them.
Blackburn Burrow was produced by 12 Gauge Comics, an actual comics publisher, and the creative team of writer Ron Marz and artist Matthew Dow Smith has some serious comics cred. I actually read the comic: It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really rise above its genre. It’s a horror comic set during the Civil War, featuring a blind ex-soldier who starts off killing some kind of a witch and then gets sent by the War Department to investigate mysterious doings in a small Georgia town. The art is serviceable — honestly, it looks like it was done in a hurry, but Smith has a deft style and it’s very readable. A lot of horror comics load up the panels with details and gore, but his restrained hand suggests he is going for story over effects. So far, the comic hasn’t broken any new ground, but it’s entertaining enough.
At the end of the comic (which is hosted on Graphicly and can also be read on the Kindle) there’s a link to an online survey, and if you complete the survey, Amazon will send you a $5 gift card. The survey is pretty painless, but there are a lot of questions about the comic so don’t try to cheat and skip the required reading.
For quite some time, a jerk on Twitter has been harassing females int he comics community, from Kelly Sue DeConnick to Jill Pantozzi. He uses various Twitter handles like @MisterE2009 and @JonVeee to post some very vulgar, nasty, threatening, over-the-top stuff.
I should warn you that his Twitter pages are not safe for work (NSFW), both in terms of what he’s posted and the images he has displayed; if you’re curious to see some of his tweets, Bleeding Cool has rounded up a bunch of them. Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass has said she’s been harassed by this guy for a couple of years now. “He’s been harassing women for two years using male and female names. I have them all and if anyone wants the list I have it.”
So I’m asking you guys a favour. I’ve managed to secure this guy’s name and address, but he’s stateside and I’m unsure what the next step should be. In the UK, he would be charged by the police under the Malicious Communications act, but we have a lot of smart cookies on here and I know there’s several US attorneys who post here regularly. If we have his details and copies of his communication, how can he be prosecuted? If any of the pros who have been attacked here would like to make a case against him I’ll personally cover the legal costs. Twitter, I would imagine, can confirm his IP address if the artists make a formal complaint to the police.
Publishing | ICv2 sits down for a three-part interview with DC Comics Co-Publishers Jim Lee and Dan DiDio that takes the long view of the past year, covering the launch of the New 52, the effect of digital and the loss of Borders, and the recent discussions around creators’ rights. “It’s a cyclical thing. It’s an issue that constantly comes back,” DiDio said. “We hear about the great jobs and the great books that creators might participate in, but what we don’t hear about are all the books we’ve invested in over the years that never delivered, where we’ve invested in the talent and the time to make sure they had the opportunity to tell the stories they tell. It’s a very big picture, and it’s a very complex issue that can’t be boiled down. One thing I feel the most strongly is that I feel extraordinarily confident that we do everything we can to make this a very creator friendly company, to make sure they have an opportunity to tell the stories they want to tell with our characters and also in their creator owned stories too.” [ICv2]
Creators | How did Darwyn Cooke get involved with the Before Watchmen comics? “I was kind of dragged into it kicking and screaming by [DC Comics Co-Publisher] Dan DiDio. He had been discussing this for what does amount to several years now, and the first time he had approached me about it, I had actually turned it down simply because I couldn’t see doing anything that would live up to the original. And, it was about a year later, the story idea that I’m working on now sort of came to me and I realized that there was a way to do the project, and I had a story that I thought was exciting enough to tell. So I phoned Dan up and said, ‘Hey, if you still got room, I’m in.’” [Rolling Stone]
Creators | Ron Marz discusses Prophecy, his upcoming comic that turns the whole Mayan calendar thing into a crossover event that will bring together an eclectic group of characters, and defends the idea of crossovers in general: “If your objection is “they’re not in the same universe,” or a crossover somehow offends your sense of continuity, I’d suggest you’re missing the point. More than any other medium, comics are about unfettered imagination, about making the impossible possible. If you’re going to let some perceived “rules” prevent you from telling an exciting story, you’re just not trying very hard. Having a sense of wonder, of discovery, is much more important than following some set of perceived rules and regulations.” [MTV Geek]
The Eisner nominations are taking some criticism for leaving out the Best New Series category this year. The rationale for the decision is that the judges “didn’t find enough contenders that reached the level of quality they were looking for,” but folks like Ron Marz and Phil Hester think they weren’t looking very hard. On Twitter, Marz said, “We are comics; we do NEW better than anyone.” And as Kevin noted earlier today, Hester observed that “you could throw a rock through artists’ alley at SDCC and hit a full slate of worthy Best New Series nominees.”
Even as I’m agreeing with both of those statements, I also love Marz’ suggestion of something positive that we can do. “Nothing stopping the rest of us from recognizing New Series. If you like something, tell everybody about it!”
That’s a great idea and I’ll start by mentioning Daryl Gregory and Carlos Magno’s Planet of the Apes as my own nomination. But please oh please fill up the comments section with your own. What’s the Best New Series you read in 2011?
Publishing | Four months in, the DC Comics relaunch seems to be a success. The most recent sales figures show Justice League #1 selling more than 360,000 copies since August, and Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 selling more than 250,000. By contrast, Marvel’s strongest seller was Ultimate Spider-Man #160, which was in the 160,000-copy neighborhood. These figures seem to reflect sales in the direct market only; it would be interesting to see how many digital copies have been sold. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Awards | Nominations are open for this year’s Eagle Awards. [Eagle Awards]
Retailing | San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs shares the top-selling graphic novels in his store for 2011, by units and by dollars. [Savage Critics]
Retailing | Christopher Butcher looks back on the events of the past year in the comics store he manages, Toronto’s The Beguiling. [The Beguiling blog]
Sales | The comic book market was up more than 19 percent in November when compared with the same period last year, with comics up 23 percent and graphic novels up 12 percent. So far this year the comics and graphics novel market is up 1.87 percent versus the first 11 months of 2010. If December cooperates, this could be the first up year for the market since 2008.
DC Comics was once again the top company in terms of market share. The company took six of the top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 100 Comics list, with Justice League #3, Batman #3, Action Comics #3, Green Lantern #3 and Marvel’s Point One #1 making up the top five comics of the month. Batman: Noel took the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novels list. [The Comichron]
Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein to president, with a focus on new markets and acquisitions. He joined the company in 2008 from Upper Deck. [ICv2.com]
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.
As we’re heading towards the middle of August, it’s no surprise that curiosity is getting me to pick up more than a few DC books just see how particular series “end;” I’d be getting Justice League of America #60 and Legion of Super-Heroes #16 (both DC, $2.99) anyway, because I’ve been following those series for awhile, but I’m likely to add Batman #713 (DC, $2.99) to the pile as well, if only to see the explanation as to why Dick quits being Batman before the big relaunch. But it’s not all endings for me with my $15 this week; I’d also make a point of grabbing Daredevil #2 (Marvel, $2.99), because the first issue was just breathtakingly good, and the series became a must-read before I’d even reached the last page.
If I had $30 this week, I’d add to my list of DC final issues with Supergirl #67 (DC, $2.99), which Kelly Sue DeConnick has talked up in interviews as being the highpoint of her short run to date and a great capper to the series as a whole. I’d also check in with the third issue of David Hahn’s All Nighter (Image, $2.99), as well as see if Nick Spencer’s Iron Man 2.0 is worth a look with the mini-collection of the first three issues, Iron Man 2.0: Modern Warfare (Marvel, $4.99).
Movies | National Public Radio commentator John Ridley critiques Hollywood for being even less diverse than the Big Two when it comes to diversity in lead characters, and demolishes their blame-the-audience theory that white people won’t go to see a movie with a black lead by pointing to a study by Indiana University professor Andrew Weaver: “Weaver found that white audiences tended to be racially selective with regard to romantic movies, but not necessarily when it came to other genres. So, sorry, Hollywood. You can’t blame it on the ticket buyers.” [NPR]
Creators | Becky Cloonan talks about the joys and the hardships of being a full-time comics creator: “Comics are hard work. Comics are relentless. Comics will break your heart. Comics are monetarily unsatisfying. Comics don’t offer much in terms of fortune and glory, but comics will give you complete freedom to tell the stories you want to tell, in ways unlike any other medium. Comics will pick you up after it knocks you down. Comics will dust you off and tell you it loves you. And you will look into its eyes and know it’s true, that you love comics back.” [Becky Cloonan: Comics or STFU]
We’ve known for a few weeks now that some writers were attached to titles in DC Comics’ upcoming relaunch, only to find themselves shuffled off even as the official announcement was made. While some creators have spoken openly about the hurried, and somewhat-confused, pitch and rejection process, the names of other writers, and the corresponding titles, have been a mystery.
But with the launch last night of the publisher’s new landing page for “DC Comics: The New 52,” ComicsAlliance discovered that some of the original creators were, at least briefly, listed among the issue descriptions, providing evidence of the original plans. There’s confirmation of Brian Wood, instead of Michael Green and Mike Johnson, on Supergirl, Michael Alan Nelson, rather than Ron Marz, on Voodoo, and Simon Spurrier and an undetermined artist, rather than Paul Jenkins and Bernard Chang, on DC Universe Presents.
C.O. Austen, whom ComicsAlliance theorizes might be much-criticized Uncanny X-Men writer Chuck Austen, was also listed on Blackhawks, in place of Mike Costa, who actually ended up with the gig.
DC has made the corrections this morning, but ComicsAlliance has the screencaps from last night.