Broadway | Michael Cohl and Jeremiah Harris, producers of the troubled Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, talk candidly about the $70-million musical — or “$65 plus plus,” as Cohl says — as it shuts down for more than three weeks for a sweeping overhaul. Will the production, plagued by delays, technical mishaps, injuries and negative reviews, hurt their reputation? “It might,” Cohl concedes. “It’s a matter of the respect of those whose opinions I care about. Most will recognize that Jere and I stepped in dog poo and are trying to clean it up and pull off a miracle. We might not.”
In related news, Christopher Tierney, the actor who was seriously injured on Dec. 20 after plummeting 30 feet during a performance, will rejoin rehearsals on Monday. [Bloomberg, The Hollywood Reporter]
Digital publishing | As expected, Barnes & Noble on Tuesday unveiled its Nook Color e-book reader, priced at $249. The 7-inch LCD touch tablet runs on the Android 2.1 operating system, and offers web browsing, audio and video playback, and basic games (CNET notes that Barnes & Noble is pushing the device as a “reader’s tablet”). The device ships on Nov. 19. [CNET, Salon, paidContent]
Internet | PayPal has announced its much-anticipated micropayments system, with Facebook and a number of other websites lining up behind it. PayPal describes the new product, available later this year, as an “in-context, frictionless payment solution that lets consumers pay for digital goods and content in as little as two clicks, without ever having to leave a publisher’s game, news, music, video or media site.” Scott McCloud is quick out of the gate with reaction: “This is so close, in almost every respect, to what we were asking for over a decade ago, it’s almost eerie. They’re even using the same language to describe it.” [TechCrunch]
Someone on 4chan scanned in all of Steve Lieber and Jeff Parker’s Underground and posted it for all to read. Rather than pitching a fit (which would have been perfectly justified under the circumstances), Lieber joined the discussion and cheerfully suggested folks kick in a few bucks if they like the book or maybe even, you know, buy it. Then he posted it on his own site for free. The picture above, taken from this post on his blog, concisely summarizes what happened next.
Why did it work out this way? Perhaps the comic is that good (I haven’t read it), perhaps because 4chan helped it find its audience, and perhaps because Lieber took some time to engage the readers and establish himself as a real person—it’s a lot harder to steal from someone you know.
And remember, kids: Only Stephenie Meyer can defeat 4chan.
Getting to talk to Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber about their upcoming Underground project, I discovered one shocking revelation: Lieber is immensely funnier than Parker. I learned a great deal more than that in our email interview. Before starting the interview, here are the book’s vitals: “UNDERGROUND is a five-issue color series beginning in September from IMAGE COMICS. Written by Jeff Parker, drawn by Steve Lieber, and colored by Ron Chan, the story follows Park Ranger Wesley Fischer as she tries to save Stillwater Cave– and then has to save herself.” My thanks to Parker and Lieber for the interview.
Tim O’Shea: At what point did you pitch this to Image, had an issue already been drawn or was it still in proposal mode?
Jeff Parker: We showed the complete black and white art for the first issue to Eric Stephenson this year at Emerald City Comicon.
Steve Lieber: They said yes and we were off and running.
O’Shea: How much did the two of you enjoy the flexibility of revision, given that you work in the same studio?
Lieber: It’s a very natural collaboration. Everything’s done in the same room — script, line art, letters, and color. I love the sense of freedom that comes from being able to tweak things at any step.
Parker: And I love changing what Steve thought was right. On a whim!
This week in Strangeways: The Thirsty – Standoff in Cedar Creek! The vampires and Cedar Creek are stalemated, but that doesn’t stop the Sheriff from taking his revenge. Looks like blood spills one way or another!
Comics after the jump!
Now that Chapter 3 of THE THIRSTY has wrapped up (and what a finish, huh?) we’ll be taking a look back at MURDER MOON. Starting next week, chapter one will run in place of THE THIRSTY, giving the artists involved a chance to catch up and myself an opportunity to get some other things done while the artists work ahead. It ain’t all peaches and cream, y’see. Lots of irons in the fire, and sometimes they get hotter than I’d like ‘em to.
Our revisting of MURDER MOON starts here, with the original pencils to the cover of what was going to be issue #1, back when STRANGEWAYS was planned to be a continuing series of minis. The art for these was done by my friend Steve Lieber, who I think had just finished working up a run of SUPERMAN and perhaps WHITEOUT 2 when I got in touch with him about it. He went on to a little book called CIVIL WAR. He’s also one of the more underrated storytellers in comics today. He’s also all-too modest, and is one of the nicest guys I know in comics. I sure hope he doesn’t mind me doing this.
‘Cause he’s a big guy. I mean he could break me in half.
That said, I truly lucked out to get him on covers, and always felt he got kinda shortchanged since STRANGEWAYS never went out as singles. Though the cover art for #4 is what made the cover for the OGN, so I guess that makes up for it.
Here’s the original pencils.
More after the jump.