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Comics A.M. | May sales shatter records; Spiegelman joins Occupy Comics

Avengers vs. X-Men #4

Publishing | May was a huge month for comics sales in the direct market, and John Jackson Miller quantifies just how huge: It was the biggest month for dollar sales in the “Diamond Exclusive Era” (i.e. since 2003): “Diamond’s Top 300 comics had orders totaling $25.72 million, an increase of 44% over last May and the highest total since Diamond became the sole distributor in 1997. It beats the total of $25.37 million set in December 2008.” [The Comics Chronicles]

Comics | Art Spiegelman is contributing a prescient New Yorker cover from 2001 to the Occupy Comics anthology; other creators who are contributing work include Alan Moore, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dean Haspiel. [Underwire]

History | Joe Sergi takes a look at the comics burnings of 1948, a series of disturbing events in which children, no doubt goaded on by well-meaning adults, collected comics door to door and then burned them in a public bonfire. [CBLDF]

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Rafael Grampá’s Massive variant covers are simply … colossal

Warren Ellis spotlights the gorgeous autumnal cover by Rafael Grampá and Dave Stewart for the third issue of The Massive, the upcoming environmental thriller from Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson, reminding me that I’ve meant to point out just how fantastic their variants for the series are. Seriously even if I weren’t a fan of Wood and Donaldson’s work on Supermarket or intrigued by the concept of The Massive, I’d still pick up the new series just for these covers. (Dark Horse, can we get some posters?)

Grampá, who made a splash in 2008 with Mesmo Delivery, is also working on his own post-apocalyptic saga called Furry Water and the Sons of the Insurrection.

The Massive debuts June 13. In the meantime, check out Grampá and Stewart’s variant covers for the first three issues below.

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Comics A.M. | The state of the French comics tradition, post-Moebius

Froom "The Celestial Bibendum," by Nicolas de Crecy

Creators | Daniel Kalder looks at the state of French comics tradition following the death last month of Jean Giraud, the influential artist widely known as Moebius, and finds it’s in the capable hands of David B (“one of the most sophisticated cartoonists in the world”) and Nicolas de Crecy (“the ‘mad genius’ of French comics”). [The Guardian]

Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks to Michael Cho about what sounds like a really interesting project, his book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes: “Because I don’t have an affinity for drawing a pastoral landscape. [laughs] You know what I mean? I’ve never lived in that environment, so I can’t draw that thing with confidence. When I close my eyes I don’t visualize that with any confidence. But a city is something I’m surrounded with constantly. With alleyways and lane ways and how light poles connect up to transformer towers which have extra leads leading down to the basement apartment. I can see that when I close my eyes, you know?” [The Comics Reporter]

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Celebrate Earth Day with a free The Massive download

If you’ve been curious about Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson’s The Massive, today’s a good day to try it out–in celebration of Earth Day, Dark Horse Comics has packaged up the three eight-page Dark Horse Presents stories that act as an introduction to the characters prior to the events of the series. You can download it for free from Dark Horse Digital, but only until 11:59 p.m. today

“As the series is about how the main characters, who are environmentalists, proceed after the world has crashed on a social, economic, and environmental level, doing a paperless free issue to introduce the series seemed like a fun and engaging way to give people a free taste of this new comic that will deal with, story-wise, a lot of topical environmental issues,” said editor Jim Gibbons.

You can find more details here, and a preview of the book over on CBR.


ECCC | A round-up of announcements from the convention

Revival

The Emerald City Comicon wrapped up yesterday in Seattle, with plenty of announcements from attending publishers. Here’s a round-up of news from the show:

• Image Comics officially announced Revival by Tim Seeley ad Mike Norton, the title we teased all last week. Seeley described the book as “rural noir,” and it is set in his home state of Wisconsin: “Both Mike and I grew up in small towns, he in Tennessee, me in Wisconsin. We both hated the towns we were from as teenagers and young adults and got the hell out,” Seeley told CBR. “But, now that we’re both older, we can look on those towns with more understanding and affection. Central Wisconsin is a really interesting place. It’s like concentrated America. It has all of the strengths and all of the weaknesses. All of the good stuff, and all of the conflicts on a more intimate scale. We thought it’d be the perfect setting for our story of a cop charged with policing the dead.”

• James Stokoe will write and draw Godzilla: Half Century War, which arrives from IDW in August. The miniseries is set in a different continuity than the Godzilla ongoing series by Duane Swierczyski and Simon Gane.

• Writer Christos Gage will team with artist Jorge Lucas for Sunset, an original graphic novel from Top Cow’s Minotaur Press. The story revolves around a retired Vegas mob enforcer.

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Comics A.M. | Viz names new CEO; what happened to comic ads?

Ken Sasaki

Publishing | Viz Media announced that Ken Sasaki, formerly the senior vice president and general manager of the manga and anime publisher, will take over from Hidemi Fukuhara as president and CEO. Fukuhara is being promoted to vice chairman, which apparently involves little of the day-to-day management of the company. [Crunchyroll]

Publishing | Johanna Draper Carlson counts the pages in some recent DC and Marvel comics and finds lots of house ads — and very few paying ones. This raises the chicken-and-egg question of whether the comics publishers are losing interest in selling ads or the advertisers are losing interest in buying them. [Comics Worth Reading]

Digital | Nerdist Industries’ CEO Peter Levin has joined comiXology’s advisory board. [comiXology]

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Comics A.M. | San Diego Convention Center plan advances

San Diego Convention Center

Conventions | San Diego City Council on Tuesday approved the basic funding plan for the proposed $500 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, home to Comic-Con International. At the center of the financing scheme is an assessment district that adds between between 1 cents and 3 cents per dollar to room taxes of 224 hotels with more than 30 rooms. Those hotels closest to the convention center would be assessed an extra 3 cents per dollar, and those farthest away could be charged an extra penny per dollar.

The expansion plan has a ticking clock, as Comic-Con has signed a deal to remain in San Diego through 2015, but larger venues in Las Vegas and Anaheim have been lobbying organizers to look elsewhere. [NBC San Diego]

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Comics A.M. | Persepolis trial resumes amid uproar in Tunisia

Persepolis

Legal | The trial resumed today, if only briefly, in Tunis for the president of a Tunisian television network accused of “insulting sacred values” when he aired the adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Tensions were so high in the courtroom that proceedings were postponed until April. The Oct. 7 broadcast resulted in an attempted arson attack on the network’s offices and the arrest of some 50 protesters. Nessma TV President Nebil Karoui, who apologized in October, is charged with “insulting sacred values, offending decent morals and causing public unrest” because of the outrage triggered by a scene in Persepolis showing God, which is prohibited by Islam. [AFP]

Organizations | Stumptown Comics, the organization that puts on the Stumptown Comics Fest every year in Portland, Oregon, has added three new members to its board: Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein, Boilerplate co-author Anina Bennett and editor Shawna Gore. [Stumptown Comics]

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Comics A.M. | De Guzman leaves SLG, Powell joins Diamond

Jennifer de Guzman

Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]

Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Wizard tries to ‘reach out’; Image Expo adds creators

Wizard

Conventions | Wizard’s executive chairman Mike Mathews tells Heidi MacDonald that after the resignation of former CEO Gareb Shamus, the company wants to be “a Switzerland of entertainment” and mend fences with members of the industry: “Gareb is one of these types of personalities who has taken strong positions over the years with various people in the industry and brands. And that kind of hurt us because of where we are trying to go — we’re trying to be a Switzerland of entertainment and we want to try to try to reach out to brands.” MacDonald notes the company is offering a $100 credit toward Wizard conventions to former Wizard subscribers whose subscriptions abruptly ended when the magazine was shut down. A new CEO is expected to be named early next month. [The Beat]

Conventions | Image Comics announced several more guests for the Image Expo, scheduled for Feb. 24-26 in Oakland, California. The lineup now includes Blair Butler, John Layman, Rob Guillory, Nick Spencer, Joshua Fialkov, Joe Keatinge, Jim McCann and Jim Zubkavich, among many others. [press release]

Organizations | The Associação da Luta Contra o Cancer is running an awareness campaign in Mozambique featuring images drawn by artist Maisa Chaves of Wonder Woman, Catwoman, She-Hulk and Storm checking their breasts for lumps. [Daily Mail]

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Robot 6 Q&A | Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons on moving from marketing to making comics

Jim Gibbons and Hellboy, as drawn by Dan Hipp

Earlier this year Jim Gibbons, publicity coordinator for Dark Horse Comics, made the jump from the publicity side of the business to the creative, as he became an assistant editor for the publisher. Old habits are hard to break, though, so when he emailed me recently to suggest a few possible interview subjects he’s been working with in his new role, I thought I’d see if he’d be interested in answering a few questions about his new job.

We spoke with Gibbons, who is also a Wizard Magazine alum, about his move to Dark Horse back in 2009, so catching up with him again about his new role seems to bring everything full circle. My thanks to Jim for agreeing to answer my questions.

JK: When did you start working for Dark Horse, and what were you hired to do?

Jim: I was hired on as a publicity coordinator in 2009. In fact, Sean T. Collins interviewed me about being hired by Dark Horse for Robot 6 way back when! As a publicity coordinator, I was responsible for arranging stories (interviews, previews, artists process pieces, etc) with a number of different online outlets and just generally doing everything in my power to get coverage for Dark Horse projects both big and small. I was (Still am!) a massive comics fan, so making it my business to learn the ins and outs of numerous different comics and graphic novels in order to promote them properly was a pretty fun way to make a living. At a certain point, putting in a lot of effort to increase the amounts of online publicity Dark Horse was getting on top of my passion for these projects and comics in general gained me some recognition by folks like Dark Horse president/publisher/head honcho Mike Richardson, VP of marketing Micha Herschman, senior managing editor Scott Allie, editor Sierra Hahn and my old boss, the director of publicity, Jeremy Atkins and the prospect of moving over to editorial was put on the table. (A big, big thank you to those fine folks, by the way! Especially Scott Allie and Sierra Hahn—many, many thanks!) I excitedly confirmed I’d love to move to the editorial department and when the stars aligned, I was transitioned from one dream job to the next!

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SDCC ’11 | A roundup of Friday’s announcements

The Massive

Friday was a busy day in San Diego, with a full slate of announcements capped by the Eisner Awards in the evening.

• Image Comics will resurrect the classic television show MacGyver as a five-issue miniseries written by MacGyver creator Lee David Zlotoff and Doctor Who writer Tony Lee, and illustrated by Becky Cloonan.

Brian Wood’s newest project was announced — The Massive, about environmentalists who survive the last environmental collapse. The comic will start its run in Dark Horse Presents #8 in January.

• Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger confirmed that Scalped will end with issue #60.

• Marvel teased the return of the Scarlet Spider.

• DC Comics released more interior art for several of their “New 52″ titles, including Aquaman, Mister Terrific and more.

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Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson to reteam for The Massive

The Massive

DMZ and Northlanders writer Brian Wood has confirmed he’ll reunite with Supermarket collaborator Kristian Donaldson for his next project The Massive.

Following up on an item that appeared Sunday on Bleeding Cool, Wood posted the above image with a quote from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: “The globe began with sea … who knows if it will not end with it?”

“Consider this a proof-of-concept type thing and NOT AN ANNOUNCEMENT,” he wrote this morning on his blog. “It’s just: here’s the title, here’s the artist, here’s an image.  The real news will come in the next few months.” Although Wood didn’t say what publisher will release The Massive, his not-an-announcement comes only days after he revealed his exclusive agreement has lapsed with DC Comics.


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