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Awards | A committee chaired by writer and historian Mark Evanier has chosen Elliot S! Maggin and Richard E. Hughes as the recipients of this year’s Bill Finger Awards, which honor writers whose work has not gotten the recognition it deserves. Maggin is a longtime comics writer whose credits include Green Arrow, Batman, Justice League, Peter Parker, Strange Sports Stories, and the Marvel Classics version of The Iliad. Hughes, who died in 1974, was a prolific writer who worked under a number of pen names. He created The Black Terror for Standard Comics in the 1940s and later became editor at American Comics Group, where he scripted many comics. He is the co-creator of Herbie Popnecker, the Fat Fury, who later got his own comic. The awards will be presented at the Eisner Awards ceremony at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]
Creators | Ahead of the premiere of Kick-Ass 2, Abraham Reisman profiles Mark Millar, with an emphasis on his subversion of the genre — and the new prominence he’s about to achieve with the films based on his comics: “By decade’s end, he’ll have had more of his creations translated into movie form than any comics writer other than Stan Lee.” The piece also includes criticism of his work, with Colin Smith observing, ““Millar does indeed have a history of producing work which represents less powerful groups in an insensitive, and often deeply insensitive, manner. There are massive contradictions between his words and actions as a private citizen and the apparent politics of some of his books.”[The New Republic]
Conventions | Matt Arado looks forward to this coming weekend’s Wizard World Chicago Comic Con (it’s actually in Rosemont) with some creator interviews and a look at the way the con has evolved over the years. [Daily Herald]
To help mark the 20th anniversary of Strangers in Paradise, Terry Moore is at last releasing a softcover version of the mammoth omnibus collection, featuring two books (2,128 total pages) in a boxed slipcase. A hardcover edition was published five years ago, but burned through its 1,250 copies immediately.
“To make that edition, I carefully went over every page and corrected art, spelling, errors, removed all censorship (words and images) and I rearranged some scenes to put them in perfect chronological order,” Moore writes on his blog. “No other tpb or pocket edition got this final edit. The story reads perfectly. The Omnibus is my final version.”
Priced at $100 — “That’s 4 cents a page for a labor of love I spent 14 years making,” he explains — the Strangers in Paradise Omnibus also will have a limited run: Moore and his wife, and Abstract Studio publisher, Robyn have committed to printing 5,000 copies — and it’s being solicited in April for a June release. All pre-orders receive an exclusive print.
“I really need fan support on this!” Moore writes. “Please, pre-order from us or put serious, persistent pressure on your comic shop—they have so many other books to think about. You have to DEMAND this book from your retailers in advance or you’re going to be left empty-handed. If they won’t order it, don’t argue—many shops only order from the Top 100 list — just order direct from us or a SiP friendly retailer on-line. There are many to choose from! It’s VERY important we sell this book. We’re financially committed and can’t back out. Even if retailers/Diamond order only 10 copies, Robyn and I will still print this book, because we believe in our fans. But if orders and sales are low, this will be our Hindenberg.”
Between Warner Bros.’ screening of the tear-inducing first footage from Man of Steel and Marvel Studios’ confirmation of Guardians of the Galaxy, the third day of Comic-Con International clearly belonged to movies. However, that doesn’t mean there were no comic-book announcements to emerge Saturday from San Diego. Here are some of the highlights:
• Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino crashed DC Comics’ Before Watchmen panel to reveal the publisher will release a five-issue miniseries based on the screenplay of his upcoming Western Django Unchained. The comic will debut in November, ahead of the film’s Dec. 25 opening.
• Image Comics unveiled a slate of new projects, including: The Bounce, by Joe Casey and David Messina; Satellite Sam, by Matt Fraction and Howard Chaykin; Lazarus, by Greg Rucka and Michael Lark; The Saviors, James Robinson and J. Bone; Oliver, by Gary Whitta and Darick Robertson; Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Emma Rios; Sex, by Casey and Piotr Kowalski; Non-Humans, by Glen Brunswick and Whilce Portacio; Reign, by Chris Roberson and artist Paul Mayberry; Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire; Multiple Warheads, by Brandon Graham; Point of Impact, by Jay Faerber; and Great Pacific, by Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo.
Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:
• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.
• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.
• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.
Terry Moore fans have recently been greeted with a variety of opportunities to support his work recently–given that on March 28, comiXology released the first half of Moore’s Harvey award-winning, adventure series Echo (which ran from 2008—2011) for all of the company’s digital platforms (iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire and the Web). As noted by Moore in anticipation of the release: “comiXology is releasing issues 1-15, plus the first three TPB collections. Issue one is just .99 cents. The remaining issues are $1.99 each. The first TPB, Moon Lake is just $6.99 and also comes with bonus material: aka sketches and designs”). Also on March 28, Robert Kirkman offered readers a five-page preview of Moore’s current creator-owned horror ongoing, Rachel Rising, in The Walking Dead 95. Later this month, folks will be able to buy the first Rachel Rising TPB, The Shadow of Death. This Wednesday, comiXology will release the remainder of the Echo series (issues 16-30, and the final three TPBs). I respect the fact that Moore is making sure to maintain a strong relationship with the brick-and-mortor retailers that have supported his work throughout his career, while not turning a blind eye to the potential gains of digital distribution. We talk about that, as well as Rachel Rising in general–as well as his How to Draw projects. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Moore someday hopes to see his work released in full color–and that he approaches his black and white current projects with that hopeful inevitability in mind.
Tim O’Shea: How did Robert Kirkman broach the possibility of previewing Rachel Rising in Walking Dead? What was your initial reaction to his proposal?
Terry Moore: It actually started with Eric Stephenson. We were both at Comics PRO in Dallas recently and Eric told me he liked Rachel Rising. That’s great, I said. Back home, I got an email from him telling me Robert liked it too, and they offered me the preview in an upcoming issue of The Walking Dead. I was thrilled, because it’s a great opportunity to reach new readers, especially with an endorsement. Such a great break for Rachel.
Terry Moore announced on his blog last week that he will release his comics digitally via comiXology, beginning with Strangers in Paradise and hopefully going on to Rachel Rising, his current series. Actually, he lets one of his would-be readers, Aaron, do most of the talking:
I went to Bedrock Comics today, asked about Rachel Rising #5, and was told that they only ordered two copies, and both were pre-orders. The shopkeeper said when the book first came out, he ordered more, based on track record, but they didn’t sell. I simply don’t have the time to go searching around, and I don’t buy enough comics to warrant a pull list. I’m not sure what the problem is that there “isn’t a single penny” for you with digital, but I’d buy PDFs straight from this site if I could. Unfortunately, I can’t justify $6.99 plus shipping for a comic….
There is something profoundly wrong with the distribution system when a title from a leading creator can’t be found at a comic store in a major metropolitan area. I can’t see how digital would be any worse for you, and it would be a lot better for me (and I’m betting plenty of others). I want to support your work, but it shouldn’t be this difficult.
This is the problem, in a nutshell, for independent creators like Moore. I’m sure if Aaron were looking for the latest DC or Marvel title, there would be no problem, but it’s hard for retailers to take a risk on titles that may not sell — or that don’t sell well for the first couple of issues. You can’t blame them for that, but it presents an obstacle to new or alternative creators whose work may take a while to catch on. Moore isn’t abandoning print, or the direct market, but he’s a good example of a creator who will probably add readers with digital.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Ryan Cody, creator of Icarus and illustrator of Villains and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun. You’ll be seeing more of Icarus around these parts starting very soon …
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Graphic novels | Metro, the graphic novel by Egyptian cartoonist Magdy El Shafee that was banned in 2009 under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, will be published in English next year by Metropolitan, a division of Macmillan. El Shafee who, along with his publisher Mohammed al Sharqawi was convicted of disturbing public morals, has appealed to Egypt’s new Ministry of Culture to have the ban lifted. “I’m waiting to hear if the minister of culture will allow it to be published again,” El Shafee says. “They will have to consult with the courts. I’m hoping there may be some kind of apology.” [CNN.com]
Legal | In an article that’s heavy on background and light on new information, Matthew Beloni reports that the attorney representing the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine exactly what elements from the Man of Steel’s mythology his clients can reclaim as a result of the 2008 court ruling. [THR, Esq.]
Retailing | Barnes & Noble stock fell 16 cents following a report that bookstore chain, the largest in the United States, will likely end its months-long search for a buyer. Although the auction isn’t over, initial interest from at least seven potential buyers is said to have waned following the first round of bidding. [Bloomberg]
One of the things I love most about conventions is the artists who visit and show off their sketchbooks and draw sketches for people. Even if you don’t attend the convention, you can follow artists’ blogs and see work they did during the con begin to trickle in. With last week’s Baltimore Comic-Con in the rear-view, that’s beginning to happen. Take, for example, Terry Moore, who did a phenomenal drawing of the girls from his Strangers in Paradise series dressed up as Slave Leia from Return of the Jedi.
You can view several additional pieces on his blog, including a Red Sonja and a piece he did for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
Terry Moore has teamed up with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab on a limited edition “lettered” version of the Strangers in Paradise Omnibus. Now I know some smart ass out there (other than me) is thinking: “Aren’t all comic books lettered? How else would we read them?” In this case, lettered means it’s limited to 26 copies — A through Z — and it includes the following:
All sets can be available for pick up at Comic-Con in San Diego, or will be mailed in the first week of August … except for the “A” edition, which is up on eBay right now. The auction, which is currently over $1,000, ends tomorrow. The set costs $500 on the CBLDF site.
“See the girl on the horse? I’m writing a one-shot about her and her friends. Not yet sure when it will come out, but wanted to share the buzz around here. Some people just won’t stay quiet… know what I mean?” he writes.