Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Crime | Wichita, Kansas’ KWCH TV is showcasing the Nov. 19 burglary of comics and collectibles store Riverhouse Traders as its Crime Stoppers crime of the week. The thieves apparently knew what they were looking for, and stole a reported $300,000 worth of rare comic books and memorabilia, leaving owner Mark Rowland with an unwanted shift in priorities: He has always given free comics to local children who get As on their report cards, and he provides gifts to local families at Christmas, but this year he has to cut back to pay for a security system. [KWCH]
Creators | Writer Jeff Lemire and artist Terry Dodson discuss their new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One. George Perez and Marv Wolfman’s Teen Titans were Lemire’s gateway to comics, so he was particularly enthusiastic about this project, and, he that affected his choice of a cast: “My decision early on was just to use the unique characters that Marv and George created that weren’t sidekicks, and that freed me from having to establish the adult superheroes in this world.” [Comic Riffs]
Retailing | The Books-A-Million retail chain reported significant growth in the last quarter, due in part to strong sales of manga and strategy games. “Sales in the graphic novel category … grew nicely on the strength of a significant resurgence in the interest in several manga series, particularly Attack on Titan,” CEO Terry Finley said in an earnings call. The chain’s sales increased 1.2 percent, and same-store sales were up 1.8 percent last quarter compared to the same quarter last year; by contrast, fiscal year 2013 sales were down by 9.4 percent from the previous year. [ICv2]
Creators | Jeff Lemire talks about his new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One, which reflects his love of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s The New Teen Titans: “I wanted a fresh and clean take on a teen super-team without having to rely on other heroes or continuity. So I gravitated to these unique teen characters Marv and George had created, and re-envisioned them through my own sensibilities along with artist Terry Dodson, who really helped them come to life.” [The Kindle Post]
What exactly is “the Earth One series”? I’m a little confused. So too is its publisher.
The line of original graphic novels launched in 2010 with J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis’ Superman: Earth One. The premise seemed to be the reintroduction of the character in a modern setting for a new audience. (Not unlike Marvel’s millennial Ultimate imprint then, but in a more bookstore/library-friendly format.)
That was followed with a sequel and Batman: Earth One, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Now the Teen Titans get a turn with this book by Jeff Lemire, Terry and Rachel Dodson and Cam Smith. Despite the blurb, the graphic novels aren’t connected in any way other than design, format and, perhaps, intended audience.
The “Earth One” designation remains particularly perplexing, given the baggage the phrase is freighted with, its ever-changing meaning and the fact that these books are presumably targeted at readers who don’t know or care about the oft-rebooted DC Multiverse’s various parallel-Earth settings.
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Emerald City Comicon may not come with the metric ton of announcements that Comic-Con International does, but in a way it’s all the better for it. Comics still feel as if they’re front and center just where I like them, and the announcements have more charm because they aren’t screaming to be heard over the din of film and television rollouts.
One year, I’ll get up to Seattle to experience the event firsthand, but in the meantime, I get to absorb all the news and photos like everyone else, as they’re posted online. ECCC even streamed all of its panels on flipon.tv. Anything that happened in Room 301 is free for anyone to watch. Everything else can be purchased with a full archive pass for $14.95. Or if, you don’t want to sit through hours of panel footage, there’s CBR’s coverage or, heck, try Google or something.
A number of announcements jumped out as particularly noteworthy, so let’s run through The 6 Best Things from ECCC. And from my count, Dark Horse won Emerald City. Your miles may vary though, so post your favorites in the comments.
Australian fashion company Black Milk Clothing has debuted a Batman collection, featuring comics-inspired apparel ranging from dresses to leggings to swimsuits. While the flashiest piece may be the Batman Cape Suit, with detachable cape, the standout items are probably those that incorporate actual comic-book art by the likes of Neal Adams, Brian Bolland, Terry Dodson and Jock.
You can check out some of the pieces below, along with a video, which gets annoying fairly quickly.
Terry Dodson has made a name for himself as one of comics’ most impeccable artists, recently coming off a two-year run on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and doing a number of high-profile shorter assignments on Avengers, Avenging Spider-Man and Defenders. Unbeknown to most, however, is that Dodson has been producing creator-owned projects on the side, such as Songes (titled Muse in the United States). But in 2013 he’s moving this creator-owned focus front and center.
When we spoke earlier this month, Dodson addressed his decision not to renew his exclusive agreement with Marvel so he could devote more time to his own work, and opened up about Vouve Rouge (“Red Widow”), a rollicking espionage/celebrity story he’s creating with French writer Xavier Dorison, as well as other potential projects down the road.
This year’s CBLDF Liberty Annual from Image (#5) has this lovely cover from Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson. I’m always a sucker for an image of a girl on a scooter (see also: Adi Granov’s redonkulously-proportioned effort from 2009). Or on a cafe racer. As Ringo once put it, “I’m not a mod or a rocker, I’m a mocker.” Lots more below, from Simon Gane, Becky Cloonan, Chris Weston, Ron Wimberly and others.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d start things off with Hawkeye #1 (Marvel, $2.99). David Aja’s built up a great track record from his run on Iron Fist to his various one-off issues in and around the Marvel Universe, so seeing him re-team withIron Fist co-writer Matt Fraction is something special. Without creators like these I’d probably balk at a Hawkeye series, but they make this a must-buy. After that I’d get another first issue, Image’s Harvest #1 (Image, $3.50). AJ Lieberman’s quietly written a number of great stories, and this one seems pretty inventive. I might’ve waited for the trade on this, but newcomer Colin Lorimer’s art on it makes me think he’s going to be a big deal and I need to know about it. For the bronze in my $15 pile, it’s Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 (Marvel, $3.99). This week, Jason Aaron and Andy Kubert take point, re-teaming from their great but under-appreciated Astonishing Wolverine and Spider-Man series from a while back. Lastly, I’d get Daredevil #16 (Marvel, $2.99) because Waid is bringing his A-game, and the recent addition of Chris Samnee only makes it even more impressive. The previews for this issue shows guest appearances by Ant-Man, Doctor Strange and Iron Man, so it’ll be interesting to see how Waid factors them into Matt’s world.
If I had $30, I’d get Thief of Thieves #7 (Image, $2.99), which is becoming one of my favorite Image books and Nick Spencer’s finest at the moment. Having Shawn Martinbrough draw it only helps. After that, I’d get Earth 2 #4 (DC, $2.99). James Robinson is really living up to the “New 52” moniker by giving us one of the most imaginative and different takes on the DCU, and Nicola Scott is drawing up a storm here. After that, I’d tie things up with RASL #15 ($4.99). Jeff, you get my money sight unseen.
If I could splurge, I’d take a chance and order Absalom: Ghosts of London (2000 AD, $17.99) because it looks pretty great. British cops governing over an ages-old pact between the English government and hell? Hell yeah.
Another day, another guest artist on Scotch Corner:Today it’s a massive gallery of work by the underrated Top Cow regular Matt Timson. My favorite is his take on Rom, Space Knight for a Bill Mantlo fund-raiser. As Matt points out, “in the comics, Rom was forever banging on about having given up his humanity to become a Spaceknight, but this was the first time I’d ever thought about what that actually meant – and the horror involved.”
(Plenty more art and links below, not all of which is safe for work.)
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is artist Ivan Anaya, one of the winners of the winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’ll join the other winner, writer Aubrey Sitterson, on a story for Skullkickers #18.
To see what Ivan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve read this week. Today our special guest is Jason Green.
Jason Green is the editor of comics coverage for the St. Louis-based pop culture website PLAYBACK:stl, and a writer and editor for the comics collective Ink and Drink Comics, whose fourth release (a Western anthology titled Off the Wagon) will debut at this year’s C2E2.
To see what Jason and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
This week Marvel’s “non-team” returned to the comic book page, as Matt Fraction, Terry and Rachel Dodson, and Sonia Oback brought the Defenders back with a mix of new and old members. Joining mainstays Dr. Strange, Namor and Silver Surfer are the Red She-Hulk, a.k.a. Betty Banner, who was once married to a Defender, and a character Fraction helped revitalize not that long ago in the pages of his own book, Iron Fist. The team is brought together with the help of the Hulk to deal with a leftover plot element from Fear Itself.
So what did folks think of this latest incarnation of the Defenders? Here’s a sampling of opinions on the first issue:
Jim Mroczkowski, iFanboy: “The Defenders #1 is a good read, make no mistake. It is a deceptively meaty tome; it doesn’t drag– or even pause, really– but readers may find themselves repeatedly checking the page count because it seems impossible that the book could be just a standard thirty-two pager. While DC’s new Justice League is three issues in and should just about manage to get everyone from the cover of #1 into the book by this time next year, The Defenders somehow manages to introduce every character, give the reader a vignette revealing something about each of them and where they are in their lives at the moment, introduce the threat in as straightforward a manner as you’ve seen since Marvel Two-in-One was cancelled, and get the entire band together with half a dozen pages to spare. Never mind reading it; I wanted to diagram it and teach it in a writing class.”
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes, and first issues so that I don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “ Life with Archie is still awesome!” every month. And I’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
Also, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell me what I missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Richie Rich Gems Winter Special - In addition to their modern-look Richie Rich, Ape has also re-introducied the classic version in both new and reprinted adventures. I missed the solicit for Richie Rich Gems #44 last month (which picked up where the Harvey series left off in 1982), but the series continues with not only the Winter Special, but #45 as well.
Dragons vs Dinosaurs - I haven’t had great luck with Arcana’s books in the past, but c’mon. The title alone…
Hero Happy Hour: On the Rocks - This, on the other hand, is no risk at all. I’m a big fan of Dan Taylor and Chris Fason’s superhero bar stories and this is an all-new, 80-page adventure. Not reprints; not even a printed version of the webcomic. It’s all-new and I need it.
The Dare Detectives: The Snow Pea Plot Collected Edition – Archaia prepares for their publishing Ben Caldwell’s Dare Detectives: The Kula Kola Caper by re-publishing the first story that was originally put out by Dark Horse.
As is typical, Sunday was a bit slower in terms of announcements at the San Diego Comic-Con, but there were some on the last day of the show:
• At the Fear Itself panel, Marvel made several announcements, including a new Defenders series by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson. The team includes Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Namor, Red She-Hulk and Silver Surfer.
• Jason Aaron and Marc Silvestri will chronicle the adventures of Bruce Banner and his alter ego starting in October, when Incredible Hulk #1 hits the stands.
• Much like Siege begot the Heroic Age, Fear Itself will bring Battle Scars, a post-event branding for the Marvel Universe titles. Several Shattered Heroes one-shots will be released, focusing on how Fear Itself impacts various Marvel heroes.
• Marvel confirmed the launch of The Fearless, a bi-weekly series by Matt Fraction, Chris Yost, Cullen Bunn, Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier.
• DC Comics released a gallery of character designs and sketches for the New 52 launch.
• Comic-Con International released the full list of Inkpot Awards recipients from this year’s show. The list includes Steven Spielberg, Alan Davis, Chester Brown and many more.
Here’s a great catch by blogger Corey Blake and a great “is this real life?” moment for the rest of us: An Amazon listing for a hardcover collection of the 2003 miniseries Trouble by Mark Millar and Terry Dodson, slated for release on June 8, 2011.
For those of you who don’t recall those heady days, Trouble was part of the short-lived, Bill Jemas-shepherded revival of Marvel’s Epic imprint and an attempt to create the first hit romance comic in god knows how long. (I know, nothing says “romance comic” like Wanted, Kick-Ass, Nemesis, and Superior writer Mark Millar, but this was the same Nu-Marvel era that gave us Bendis/Maleev Daredevil, Milligan/Allred X-Statix, Millar/Hitch Ultimates, Morrison/Quitely New X-Men and so on, so cut ‘em some slack.)
Quite aside from whether the book was or wasn’t a good read, Trouble caused trouble for two reasons. First, it was basically a mildly randy sex dramedy about the teen years of Aunt May, Uncle Ben, and Peter Parker’s parents Mary and Richard…and it revealed that Peter was secretly May’s son through a hushed-up teen pregnancy. (I think — I’ve never been able to figure out how the very elderly May Parker made sense as the aunt for teenage Peter Parker, and having her be a teen herself at the time of his conception only confused me further.) At the time, Millar stated that this would be Spider-Man’s new origin if the book went over well. It didn’t, so the book never made it into official continuity.