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Comics A.M. | Persepolis airing sparks protests in Tunisia

Persepolis

Crime | About 50 protestors were arrested in Tunisia for an attempted arson attack on the offices of Nessma TV after it screened Persepolis, the animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s celebrated autobiographical graphic novel. The protesters claimed the animated movie offends Islam. All political parties in Tunisia, including the country’s main Islamic party Al-Nahada, have condemned the attack and expressed their solidarity for freedom of the press. [Variety]

Digital comics | Warren Ellis looks at the current options and sees webcomics as a broadcast, out there for free and bringing in new readers through notifications, links and solidarity, whereas digital comics services like comiXology (or even Marvel’s subscription) service are closed systems, more like a shop with comics on the shelves. That makes a difference in building an audience and also in the pacing of the comics, because webcomics can better accommodate the more decompressed storytelling that Ellis prefers. Lots of interesting nuggets among the ramblings. [Warren Ellis]

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Steampunk meets manga in Westerfeld’s Uglies

Del Rey, once the otaku favorite, no longer publishes manga, but they still have a line of global manga, and the newest announcement is causing a bit of a stir.

Leviathan author Scott Westerfeld is the latest prose writer to make the leap over to graphic novels. Sci-fi site io9 has the scoop on Westerfeld’s SDCC announcement: Del Rey will produce four manga-style graphic novels based on his Uglies novels, which are set in a future where all teenagers have plastic surgery to make them beautiful when they are 16. Westerfeld will come up with the storylines, which will change the point of view of the story from the character Tally Youngblood to Shay. Devin Grayson (USER, Nightwing) will script the graphic novels, and Steven Cumming will handle the art. Watch for the first volume in May 2012. Oh, and there’s a movie in the works as well.

SDCC ’11 | A round-up of Wednesday’s news

Orchid

Comic-Con International in San Diego hasn’t officially started yet—tonight was Preview Night—but the news has been rolling in. So let’s take a look at today’s announcements

• Dark Horse announced three new projects earlier this evening. They will publish a comics adaptation of The Strain, the sci-fi/vampire trilogy by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. The comic will be written by David Lapham with art by Mike Huddleston.

• They also announced a series written by Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with art by Scott Hepburn. Orchid is about a 16-year-old prostitute in a dystopian future “becoming the Spartacus of whores.” Each issue will come with a music track by Morello.

• And finally on the Dark Horse front, they will publish comics set in the young vampire world of P.C. Cast’s House of Night novel series. It will be co-written by Kent Dallan with art by Joëlle Jones. You can see a trailer promoting all three new books on YouTube.

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Start reading now: Quantum Vibe

Quantum Vibe's future vision: Bubble cars, invisible phones, nagging moms

Scott Bieser was an early adopter of the webcomics-to-print model, and he has been putting a variety of entertaining sci-fi comics up on his Big Head Press site since 2005. His newest strip, Quantum Vibe, launched yesterday and will update daily. It looks like an interesting hybrid of soap opera and science fiction, with a harried heroine who manages to lose both her boyfriend and her job in the first few pages. The writing is solid (aside from the really weird swears) and Bieser’s vision of the future is fun if a bit pat (nothing has a visible power source).

The other comics on the Big Head Press site include the alt-history Roswell, Texas and the action-packed La Muse. I noticed in their blog that they are putting their comics on Longbox and hinting that they might not be free online forever, so this seems like a good time to go check them out.

(Via Comics Worth Reading.)

Ragtag group of webcomickers pwns Glenn Beck

Machine of Death is an anthology of speculative short stories about people who know how (but not when) they are going to die. The book is edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo and David Malki, and somehow the three of them came up with a clever idea: They asked everyone who was planning to buy the book to do so on the day it was released, Oct. 26, so they could place high on the Amazon sales charts.

“When we picked a release date, we tried to aim for a day far from other major book releases,” the authors explain on their blog. In that, they failed spectacularly: A number of potential best-sellers came out that day, including Keith Richards’s autobiography, a new Barefoot Contessa cookbook, and Glenn Beck’s latest book, Broke.

Nonetheless, the power of the internet is such that Machine of Death took the No. 1 spot on Amazon for that day.

While Keith Richards and the Barefoot Contessa seem to have taken this news with equanimity, it sent Beck into a spluttering, incoherent rage, and he went into a long rant on the air about the culture of death and Bill Ayers envying Keith Richards for snorting his father’s ashes, and not knowing what Brown Sugar refers to, and the general disrespect of “the left” for daring to buy other books on the day his book came out. (There’s a transcript and a link to the audio here.)

And as any public figure with half a brain can tell you, the effect has been exactly the opposite of what Beck intended. Rather than apologizing and buying two copies of his book, people have been laughing and pointing and, in some cases, buying extra copies of Machine of Death just to spite Glenn Beck. (Hey, it’s only ten bucks on Amazon.)

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Girl Genius continues march to world domination

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Girl Genius, Vol. 9

Phil and Kaja Foglio are best known among fans as the creators of the long-running (and award-winning) webcomic Girl Genius, and among comics insiders for being among the first to make the web-to-print thing work. They started out with a periodical comic, then moved it to the web, and eventually gave up on floppies and went straight to trades, boosting their sales by giving away the comic for free. (You can read all about it here.)

But apparently, that was just the beginning. Today the Foglios announced a series of deals that will bring Girl Genius into a variety of new formats:

  • Night Shade Books will publish a series of Girl Genius prose novels;
  • Brilliance Audio will adapt these novels into audiobooks;
  • Tor will launch their graphic novel line with a color omnibus edition of the first three Girl Genius graphic novels; and
  • Girl Genius will be serialized in the Danish magazine Comic Party.

As if that weren’t enough, the Foglios are busy working on their next two self-published volumes and negotiating other Girl Genius licenses. iPad and Facebook games, as well as a re-issue of the card game, are in the works.

Full details after the cut.

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Fact-checking LeVar Burton’s ConCERNed

Simon Barstow shuts down the LHC with his mind

Simon Barstow shuts down the LHC with his mind

When I saw LeVar Burton’s new comic ConCERNed, I knew immediately what I had to do.

I looked across the breakfast table and said, “Honey, could you please read this?”

Because yes, I am married to a physicist who works on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and I couldn’t resist hearing what he had to say about it.

Fortunately my husband has read a fair number of comics, and he was willing to suspend disbelief. He saw right away that it was a classic origin story, and the fact that the main character can generate material objects with his mind bothered me more than him. (OK, I can see a chunk of metal, maybe. But a set of golf clubs?)

But what about the physics?

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