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Steve Niles starts donation campaign for Gary Friedrich

The internet has been abuzz ever since the news broke that Marvel is demanding $17,000 from Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich in return for not countersuing him, after he lost his suit against them. And now someone is doing something about it: Comics writer Steve Niles has set up a donation fund to help Gary, and donations are pouring in. Niles told CBR that most were in the $20 range, so it will take a lot to make a difference, but Marvel’s action seems to have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Jamie Gambell has pledged the proceeds from his February book sales to the fund, and other donors include Steve Lieber, David Gallaher, and Neil Gaiman, who gave the fund drive a huge boost by retweeting it to his large following.

The whole thing came together quickly over Twitter; after getting an e-mail from Friedrich, Niles appealed to friends to help him set up a PayPal page, then reached out to a number of prominent creators (not all of whom have answered the call). The goal is rather modest: “Looks like 6k will keep a roof over his head, so let’s shoot for 7,” Niles tweeted about an hour ago. The donations have been pouring in, but he will need a lot more to reach that goal, he told CBR.

Meanwhile, it’s a bit like the last scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” with creators hollering good wishes as they toss money into the till. “I just helped Gary. We might all need help some time. Good Karma, people!” tweeted Jill Thompson. “I am totally in,” said Gail Simone.

What are you excited about for 2012?

[Note: this post was assembled by both Tim O’Shea and JK Parkin]

This is our final post for our big birthday bash, and what a post it is. No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they are excited about for 2012 in comics–something they aren’t working on and something they are.

There’s a lot of great stuff here–hints at new projects and even some downright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded!

Jason Latour

Loose Ends 4

I’m most anticipating the 30th Anniversary of HEROES CON (June 22-24, Charlotte, NC) . For any convention 30 years is an amazing run, but the fact that Shelton Drum and his extended family have put this show together every year with nothing but blood, sweat and tears is flat out super heroic.

On the personal front, the challenging and exhilarating ride that’s been Loose Ends will come to a close with issue 4. It’ll be bittersweet to send our child off to into the real world but I can’t wait for you guys to see the work Brunner & Renzi are doing.

I’m also super excited to dip my own toes into the Mignola-verse with the BPRD: The Pickens County Horror [March 28, 2012] and to read the end of Jason Aaron & RM Guera’s Scalped, which is my favorite series in years.

Jason Latour is a writer/artist, most recently the writer of Loose Ends. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in July.

Patrick Zircher

This sounds politic, but it’s genuine: what excites me about comics in 2012 is what’s exciting every year, the work of the talent.  Seeing what the best are up to and how the up-n-comers have grown as artists and writers.  In the new year, I’m also excited about illustrating several books and covers that feature my favorite Avengers.

Patrick Zircher is an artist, who explored the 1920s/1930s era of the Marvel universe in 2011 with the five-issue miniseries, Mystery Men. He spoke with Tim O’Shea about the miniseries in May.

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Periscope Studios helps raise funds for Dylan Williams


The good folks at Portland’s Periscope Studios are holding a fundraiser for Sparkplug publisher Dylan Williams, who is dealing with a serious illness. Several of the artists who work out of Periscope, including Jonathan Case (who painted the showdown between Thor and Galactus you see above), Steve Lieber and Colleen Coover, have contributed artwork to an auction to benefit Williams.

You can find all the available pieces on Periscope’s eBay page.

What Are You Reading?

Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.

To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | Spider-Man musical producers ‘stepped in dog poo’

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

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]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Nook Color

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]

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4chan piracy causes spike in sales for Lieber and Parker’s Underground

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.

He talks a bit more about it at Warren Ellis’s forum. (Found via Teleread.)

And remember, kids: Only Stephenie Meyer can defeat 4chan.

Talking Comics with Tim: Jeff Parker & Steve Lieber

Underground #1

Underground #1

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!

Lieber: Obviously.

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Strangeways: The Thirsty – Week of 6/15

6_15_buttonThis 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!

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Strangeways: The Thirsty – Friday feature

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.

Pencils by Steve Lieber.

Pencils by Steve Lieber.

More after the jump.

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