Disney Publishing Worldwide has acquired Zodiac, an illustrated novel by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore and Andie Tong.
Based on the Chinese zodiac, the book follows a Chinese-American teenager who’s drawn into a global conspiracy after he and other youth around the world are suddenly bestowed with magical powers.
Lee already has a relationship with Disney, dating back at least to a 2007 first-look deal with the legendary creator’s POW! Entertainment. In 2009, just as Disney completed its purchased of Marvel, the entertainment giant expanded that agreement and acquired a 10 percent equity stake in POW.
Just ahead of New York Comic Con, Dark Horse has announced Mandala, an upcoming sci-fi graphic novel by Stuart Moore and Bruce Zick. The first chapter is available beginning today on Dark Horse Digital for $2.99.
In Mandala, humanity is secretly enslaved by a mind-control cage galled the GRID, and it’s up to Mike Morningstar and his spiritual special-ops unit The Thirteen to alter time and take down the GRID before it’s too late.
“Mandala is probably the biggest-scale epic I’ve ever worked on: a saga of original sin and possible redemption that spans millennia and crosses the timelines” Moore said in a statement. “At its core, it’s the story of Michael Morningstar, a guy who — like many of us — has to find his way in a world he doesn’t quite understand. The characters’ alliances shift constantly, along with the timelines.”
The creators will be signing throughout New York Comic Con at the Dark Horse booth (#1175).
In 1987, writer Christopher Hinz released Liege-Killer, the first novel in his “Paratwa Trilogy,” although longtime comics readers may remember him for his work on the mid-’90s DC Comics/Helix series Gemini Blood. Now, more than 25 years later, Hinz has adapted Liege-Killer for comics, collaborating with artist Jon Proctor on the new graphic novel Binary, published by Ilfeld Comics.
To learn more about the project, I asked Proctor a handful of questions about Binary and working with Hinz.
Tim O’Shea: What was it about Christopher Hinz’s script that attracted you to Binary?
Jon Proctor: Binary is a graphic novel adaptation of Christopher’s novel Liege-Killer, which was first published in 1987. It went on to win the Compton Crook Award for Best First Novel and earned a nomination for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It had a cult following for years, and even though I was unaware of the original novel I was familiar with a nine-issue miniseries Christopher did for DC comics short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint called Helix. The comic, titled Gemini Blood, had similar themes to the Binary/Liege-Killer universe. Incidentally, it was also drawn by Tommy Lee Edwards, and I’ve always been a huge fan of his artwork. Stuart Moore edited the Helix mini, and he and I have been partners in crime for years. He thought I might be a good fit so he approached me with the idea for Binary. Committing to a 125-page full-color book where the entire production sits squarely on my shoulders was a little nerve-wracking, but the script hooked me on the first page. In other words, Christopher is a really talented writer! The science fiction aspect was one thing that attracted me to it but within the layering of the characters was something different and fascinating. For one thing, the idea that the main villain in the book consists of two assassins that share a soul was really something I thought would be great fun as well as a visual challenge to pull off, and it was! The script was just really fresh and the world it portrayed was enormous. I did a few pages as a try out for Christopher and our producer Etan Ilfeld, and thankfully they chose me to do the book.
Amazon Publishing launched its Kindle Worlds store this morning with more than 50 works, including Shadowman: Salvation Sally by Tom King, X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses by Stuart Moore, and Harbinger: Slow Burn by Jason Star, all inspired by the Valiant Entertainment properties. In addition, the Self-Service Submission Platform is now open, allowing writers to publish stories based on certain licensed properties and earn royalties in the process.
Billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction, Kindle Worlds was announced last month as “a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.”
When Amazon Publishing unveiled Kindle Worlds last month, one of the first questions in comics circles was which publisher would be the first to sign on to the program, which allows fan-fic writers to earn royalties for certain corporate-approved stories. Now we know the answer: Valiant Entertainment.
The recently revived publisher was announced this morning as part of the second wave of licensors, alongside bestselling authors Hugh Howey (Silo Saga), Barry Eisler (John Rain novels), Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines) and Neal Stephenson (Foreworld Saga). Under the agreement, writers will be able to create and sell stories inspired by Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger and Shadowman, with more properties expected to be added later.
In addition, the Kindle Worlds Store will launch later this month with more than 50 commissioned works, including “Valiant-branded” short stories by Jason Starr, Robert Rodi, Stuart Moore and others. The Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform will open at the same time.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
[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!
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.
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.
Today marks the release of the second installment of the three-part digital-only comic Wolverine & Deadpool: The Decoy written by Stuart Moore and drawn by the focus of this email interview, Shawn Crystal. As noted by Crystal, when teasing the Marvel Digital Comics project last week at his blog: “The story is 22 pages in length, each chapter being around 7 or 8 pages.” Once you’ve finished the interview and are looking for more info about Crystal, you can visit him at Deviant Art, Facebook, Twitter or a site where you can buy his original art.
Tim O’Shea: What can you tell us about your new Deadpool/Wolverine project which started last Wednesday?
Shawn Crystal: Well, it’s got Wolverine being a bad a$, Deadpool being a dumb a$, and a giant Robot. What more do you need?
I would like to say that getting to draw Wolverine was AMAZING. He’s a childhood favorite of mine, and I had so much fun drawing him. He’s such an icon. I had the classic Art Adams Wolverine poster on my wall, all through college. I felt like the kid in me was standing next to my art table watching me saying “DUDE! You’re drawing WOLVERINE!!!!!” I had a lot of smiles working on this book. I really hope to get another chance to play with him.
The webcomics collective Act-i-vate has kicked off a new ongoing anthology called Panels for Primates, where various comic creators will create comic strips featuring monkeys, apes and other primates to help raise awareness and, hopefully, money for the Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Ky.
While the stories can be viewed for free, they include a promo at the end encouraging readers to donate money. Per a press release, upcoming stories will “offer an eclectic mix of creators and content, with the only common denominators being high quality and primates.” The first story, “Ilya’s Back Pages” by Stuart Moore and Rick Geary, is up now. The cover, above, is by Robert Wilson IV.
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.
Today’s special guest is Ryan K Lindsay, a staff writer for comic news and reviews site The Weekly Crisis. He also runs a comic scripting challenge site called thoughtballoons where each week a character is picked, and every member of the site must write a one-page script about that character. He’s also been known to throw a think piece up at Gestalt Mash and is hoping one day to have his many comic pitches drawn by people with pencils.
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click the link below …
In the first part of my interview with Stuart Moore we covered the editorial phase of his career. In this second part, Moore and I discuss the freelance writing phase, which began in 2002. As part of this discussion, we discuss his plans for the new Namor: The First Mutant (previewed here by CBR and launching this Wednesday, August 25); Spider-Man: Back in Quack (A Howard the Duck-connected one-shot coming out September 15); his creator-owned collaboration with artist Jon Proctor, Shadrach Stone (also coming out on September 15 [Penny Farthing Press]); and his role as co-writer of the six-part JLA/The 99 miniseries (which launches on October 27) .
Tim O’Shea: Was there any one catalyst (or a number of factors) that prompted you to step fully into the freelance world and focus on your own writing in 2002?
Stuart Moore: It just seemed like the right time. I’d worked on a lot of really interesting projects, very fast, at Marvel, and the deal for PARA (at Penny-Farthing Press) came together. I decided if I was ever going to make a go of it as a writer, it should be now.
O’Shea: How did your projects at Penny-Farthing Press (including Para and Zendra) come to pass?
Moore: I first made contact with Penny-Farthing, a long time ago, when I was involved in the startup of a dot-com-style comics company that never fully came together. I really like the people who run Penny-Farthing; they’re very straightforward and honest, and they do beautiful production work. ZENDRA was a project created by two artists, and they needed someone to come in, flesh out the basic story, and write the scripts. A couple of years later I pitched PARA to them and they liked it, and that led, more recently, to SHADRACH STONE.
Stuart Moore is a writer I’ve known and interviewed for a number of years. In the past, we’ve typically focused on near-term/upcoming project discussions in our interviews. But more recently, for nearly a year, he and I have been working on a series of email interviews trying to cover the scope of his career to date. This process started in mid-2009. Moore and I realized earlier this summer it would be best to get this interview finalized on the eve of Namor: The First Mutant 1′s release (which comes out from Marvel this Wednesday, August 25) . My thanks to Stuart for his time and patience on this fun and hopefully thorough examination of his work. The first installment of this two-part interview will focus upon his work as an editor. Tomorrow, in our second part, we will focus on his freelance writing. (My thanks also to fellow Robot 6er Tom Bondurant for giving me some feedback on the early stages of this interview and suggesting a question of his own.)
Tim O’Shea: You got your start at St. Martin’s Press, back in the mid-1980s, how did you get that job?
Stuart Moore: I graduated from college, not sure of what I wanted to do. Spent the summer in California, then came back east and started looking for a job. Book publishing at that point was very partial to Ivy League graduates — probably still is — so I got the referral through Princeton’s career services center. I worked for about 2 ½ years as assistant to a brilliant woman who edited craft guides, child care titles, and etiquette books. It wasn’t exactly my field, but to this day I still know that you say “Congratulations” to a groom and “Best wishes” to the bride.
Considering their history, I guess — or hope, anyway — that someone at Disney has a sense of humor, as Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik’s most famous creation, Howard the Duck, returns to comics this fall in Spider-Man: Back in Quack #1. Written by Stuart Moore and drawn by Mark Brooks, the book popped up in the advanced solicitations for the Spider-Man titles for September. Sporting a cover (above) by Skottie Young and back-up Man-Thing story by Moore and Joe Suitor, the solicitation text reads:
When I first saw the solicitation for Marvel’s upcoming Captain America: Who Won’t Wield the Shield? one-shot, I thought it was just another Deadpool parody comic. But while Deadpool does make an appearance — or the Golden Age version, anyway — he’s not the only character making fun of Captain America. The book will feature a new Forbush Man story written by Jason Aaron, a Doctor Strange/Captain America mash-up by Matt Fraction and the previously mentioned Golden Age Deadpool tale by Stuart Moore. Marvel.com talked to all three writers about their stories.
“Dr. Stephen Rogers, transformed by the Super-Satan formula into the pentagram-bespangled sentinel of the arcane, Doctor America,” Fraction said. “On behalf of the Undergovernment he goes mano eeeee mano with Richard Milhous Manson, aka the sinister Red Dick, and his genocidal assistant Bebe Rebeyonder to save the soul of the swinging, sinister, ’60s.”
Fraction’s tale, appropriately, will be drawn by Brendan McCarthy, as you can see to the right. OK, now I wish I’d pre-ordered this …
Shawn Crystal is a SCAD Atlanta professor I met back in October (as documented in this story). In addition to his role educating storytellers, Crystal is a professional artist equally busy building a name for himself in the comics industry. Tomorrow (February 3) will feature the release of his latest effort, Deadpool Team-Up 896 (written by Stuart Moore). As previewed last week by CBR and detailed here: “Get ready to hit the road with U.S. ACE, Marvel’s truckin’ hero! He’s back behind the wheels of a big rig with an unlikely partner — DEADPOOL — and together they’re puttin’ the hammer down, ridin’ the open road, and decapitatin’ giant killer raccoons. Good times…if they don’t kill each other first! Featuring the working-class villainy of THE HIGHWAYMAN, and the world premiere of the chart-toppin’ “Ballad of U.S. Ace,” composed and performed by Wade Wilson. What part of ‘Collector’s Item’ don’t you understand?” I was pleased to get an opportunity to talk to Crystal about this issue and creators he respects (as well as find out his David Lapham news). After enjoying this email exchange, be sure to check out Crystal’s blog as well as his deviantART page.
Tim O’Shea: The first question I have to ask–what reference does an artist use when drawing giant killer raccoons?
Shawn Crystal: There is a very popular book many artists have in their studio, and cherish like the arc of the covenant. It’s called “Homicidal Animals: A reference manual for the aspiring cartoonist.” Unfortunately, I do not own this book, so I had to resort to some more traditional methods. I started with the obvious, books on raccoons that were peppered with glamour shots of these little buggers. I also spent some time seeing how other artists had handled raccoons, mainly animators. There was some decent stuff in “Disney’s: The art of Pocahontas.” I also talked to a buddy of mine, Brad Walker who draws Guardians of the Galaxy, which has Rocket Raccoon as a team member. Researching raccoons was fairly easy; creating the chopper gang was a ton of fun. I needed to design a gang of Uzi wielding raccoons on motorcycles. The first thing I needed to find was a thread, something to make this gang seem like a team. Working for Marvel affords me the luxury of using their library, so I chose the X-Men. Well, the kid in me did. I started designing raccoons based on the themes and shapes of some of the X-Men and their costumes. I also wanted to give this biker gang a Hells Angel’s feel, ol skool choppers and leather. I didn’t want to go with the more current crotch rocket trend. I have an affinity of the art of Von Dutch, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Robert Williams. I pulled out the books I have on these guys and started drawing. X Men + Hells Angels + Racoons = Crazy fun designing.