DC Comics' July Highlights: "Batgirl," "Nightwing" and a "New Super-Man"
Passings | Inker Rick Ketcham has passed away. Details are sparse, but Ketcham’s Facebook quickly filled with tributes from friends and colleagues who hailed his kindness, his professionalism, and his willingness to mentor others. Ketcham worked on a number of titles for DC Comics, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image Comics and other publishers, including The Amazing Spider-Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, G.I. Joe, New X-Men, Runaways and Venom. [Tsunami Studios Facebook]
Cartoon Books has released a 10-page color preview of the hardcover collection of RASL, Jeff Smith’s sci-fi noir series about a dimension-hopping art thief. The comic, his first major work following Bone, was originally serialized in black and white over 15 issues from 2008 to 2012.
“[Doing the Bone books in color] did give me more confidence,” Smith told CBR TV in April at WonderCon. “It also made me think color sells a lot. There’s a lot of people really attracted to the color. So, I kept Bone in black and white because that’s what I really like, and Scholastic does the color versions. Now, I’m self-publishing RASL again, but I wanted to explore color with it on my own. I got Steve [Hamaker, Bone colorist] back and we discussed — it’s got a noir-ish, hard-boiled feel to it, so it can’t be the same thing as Bone. It’s not a fantasy, it’s not a comedy and we worked really hard. We struggled for months until we came up with a palette that was very rich and very smoky and very different from Bone, and yet it is actually better than the black and white. I’ve very happy with it.”
The 472-page RASL hardcover can be pre-ordered now for release in September.
Publishing | Comics sales were up 22 percent in the direct market over January 2012, and graphic novels increased by nearly 38 percent. This good news is tempered a bit by the fact there were five Wednesdays in this January (or 25 percent more Wednesdays, if you want to look at it that way), but that fifth week is usually a quiet one for new releases, so I think we can call this a win. The retail news and analysis site ICv2 credits Marvel NOW! and a strong backlist for the boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | Dark Horse’s video-game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia last week was the No. 1 book in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan — not merely in the graphic novel category, but in any category. The initial print run was 400,000 copies. (Comic Book Resources interviewed the book’s editor Patrick Thorpe last month.) [ICv2]