The Fifth Beatle
Graphic novels | Five volumes of The Walking Dead made the November BookScan list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores. As ICv2 points out, the fact that the first volume is still charting (at No. 13) bodes well for the series, as it means new readers are continuing to come in. The latest volume of Naruto took the No. 2 slot, and there were nine volumes of manga overall, including three volumes of Attack on Titan and the newest volume of Yotsuba&! There were five DC Comic titles on the list, as well as the latest volume of Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Completely missing from the Top 20? Anything from Marvel. [ICv2]
Publishing | After three years at DC Entertainment, John Rood will step down on Jan. 1 as executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. The position is being eliminated, with marketing and publicity to fall under the auspices of Amit Desai, senior vice president of franchise management. Sales, custom publishing and business development will again be overseen by Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. [The Beat]
Gift Guides | Here’s a spin on the traditional gift guide: Ten things not to buy a comics fan. [Crave Online]
Manga | Hayao Miyazaki’s samurai manga will be serialized in the Japanese magazine Model Graphix, but progress is reportedly slow: Miyazaki, the director of classic animated films including My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, has completed just three pages. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Veteran Archie artist Stan Goldberg, who most recently has been drawing Nancy Drew graphic novels for Papercutz, was in a serious car accident recently, along with his wife Pauline. Tom Spurgeon suggests you send them a car. [The Comics Reporter]
Conventions | Cleveland’s small-press comics convention Genghis Con is this weekend, with a guest list that includes Derf Backderf (My Friend Dahmer) and Mike Sangiacomo (Tales of the Starlight Drive-In). [The Plain Dealer]
Creators | Anime legend Hayao Miyazaki, who announced his retirement just two months ago, is reportedly drawing a samurai manga set during the Warring States Period. Asked on the Japanese television show Sekai-ichi Uketai Jugyō over the weekend how the 72-year-old filmmaker will spend his retirement, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki replied, “I think he will serialize a manga. From the beginning, he likes drawing about his favorite things. That’s his stress relief.” He also confirmed the manga’s setting before cutting off the line of questioning with, “He’ll get angry if I talk too much. Let’s stop talking about this.” Miyazaki has illustrated several manga over the past four decades, most notably the seven-volume Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. [Anime News Network]
Libraries | Mitch Stacy takes a look at the new Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University, which is scheduled to open this weekend with a gala celebration. [ABC News]
Awards | Sean Phillips was named as best artist and Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, as best comic/graphic novel at the 2013 British Fantasy Awards, presented Sunday at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, alongside the World Fantasy Awards. [British Fantasy Society]
Publishing | Tim Pilcher of Humanoids talks about his company’s new plans to distribute its graphic novels in the United Kingdom through Turnaround Publisher Services. [ICv2]
Conventions | Italy’s Lucca Fest had a record-breaking show, with 200,000 tickets sold and 300,000 attendees in all. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Retailing | Following a price war during which it lost $11,000 a day, Overstock.com has vowed to match Amazon’s price on books, including graphic novels, going forward. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne thinks he can get better prices from publishers who want to boost competition for Amazon. However, as ICv2 points out, Overstock’s graphic novel selection is smaller than Amazon’s, and prices overall have risen since their recent price war. [ICv2]
Creators | Todd McFarlane recently claimed no work that was “trying to get across a message” has succeeded as a comic, but Laura Sneddon finds proof to the contrary at the Stripped festival in Edinburgh, where she talked to Joe Sacco, Paul Cornell, Stephen Collins and Grant Morrison about the ideas that drive their comics. [New Statesman]
I’m a massive Beatles nerd. I can still remember the funny looks on the faces of the locals, some amazed, some horrified, as I gave a breathless real-time breakdown of all the references and visual puns in the “Free As A Bird” video as it played on the TV in the corner of a bar back in 1995. I’ve read countless books on the band over the years, good and bad, and have been looking forward to The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew Robinson and Kyle Baker with a certain relish.
It’s hard to get any freshness into such a well-worn tale, but that seems to be Robinson’s job in the creative team: Every page previewed so far shows him marrying a caricaturist’s knack for capturing likenesses to Sienkiewicz-like expressionism and multimedia experimentation for this project.
Now Dark Horse has debuted the trailer for The Fifth Beatle (below) that will be playing at the publisher’s booth throughout Comic-Con International in San Diego (Tiwary and Robinson will be signing there Friday at 3 p.m.). The video features plenty of tantalizing fleeting glimpses of Robinson’s art, but there’s no sign of any of Kyle Baker’s section though. He’s provided the art for a sequence based on the style of the old King Features Syndicate cartoons, but a thorough shakedown of my usual sources has failed to produce any examples yet. I’m sure time will tell soon enough on that score.
The graphic novel will be released Nov. 19.
Retailing | Naruto topped the May BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores, followed by two volumes of The Walking Dead, the latest volume of Sailor Moon, and Yen Press’ latest Twilight adaptation New Moon. Just three volumes total of The Walking Dead made the Top 20 (down from eight last month), and as usual, DC and Marvel got clobbered: DC had three titles on the list (two volumes of Court of Owls and Watchmen) while Marvel had one (Hawkeye), and none was above No. 15. Or to put it another way: Vol. 14 of Dance in the Vampire Bund, a high-numbered volume in a fairly niche manga series, placed higher than every Big Two book on BookScan last month. [ICv2]
Creators | With the second issue of their digital-only comic The Private Eye recently released, writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin talk about their story, why they decided to do it digitally, and what the response has been so far. [The Verge]
A famous British band once sang about how it “Just Can’t Get Enough,” which is how I feel about the work of Andrew Robinson. But luckily for me, there’s about to be a whole lot more of him this year.
Robinson has been releasing pages on his DeviantArt page from his long-awaited graphic novel The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story. Announced in October by Dark Horse, it’s a biography of the famed manager who acted as shepherd/friend/taskmaster for the revelatory music group the Beatles. The graphic novel is written by comics newcomer Vivek J. Tiwary, a Broadway veteran with 25 Tony Awards for his work on The Addams Family, Green Day’s American Idiot and The Producers.
The Fifth Beatle has been a three-year labor of love for Robinson, creating the 120-plus pages entirely by hand using pencils, pens, markers, acrylics, watercolors, gouache and more. The project has drawn him away from the public eye save for some cover work, but that time away looks to be paying off.