The Walking Dead
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]
To help promote the fourth season of The Walking Dead, Fox Germany opted for an approach that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek — or, rather, finger in cheek.
Electronic billboards in select Berlin subway stations advertise what appears to be a makeup remover called “Good Night Cleansing Program,” and show a model demonstrating the product. But as pedestrians walk by, the image changes to reveal a zombie (below), accompanied by information about when and where to watch the hit comic-book adaptation.
The ad was created by German agency Saint Elmo’s, which was inspired by the realization that horror genre is as popular with women as it is with men.
As Creative Managing Director Dennis Pfisterer explained in a statement published by The Hollywood Reporter, “We drastically countered the outdated cliche that all horror fans are male by using a cliched image in the style of a beauty product ad, so that we could appeal above all to female horror fans, alongside male fans, with this concept of a ‘makeup removal program for good TV nights.’”
The campaign, which debuted earlier this month, ends Monday, but Fox Germany indicates it could expand beyond Berlin to other major cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Conventions | WonderCon organizers have announced that next year’s show, set for April 18-20, will again be held in Anaheim, California. This will be the third year for the event at that location, after having been uprooted from its longtime home at San Francisco’s Moscone Center first because of remodeling and now because of scheduling conflicts. [Los Angeles Times]
Publishing | Nick Barrucci, CEO and publisher of Dynamite Entertainment, looks back on 10 years in the business, and discusses some upcoming comics, including J. Michael Straczynski’s Twilight Zone and the new kids’ line Li’l Dynamites. [Previews World]
Graphic novels | Between them, Attack on Titan and The Walking Dead claimed nine of the 20 spots on BookScan’s October rundown of the top-selling graphic novels in bookstores. The first volume of Attack on Titan led another strong month for manga, which placed nine titles in the Top 20. New DC Comics books, rather than simply evergreen sellers, made an appearance, too, with the Batman: The Court of Owls mask and book set, the Joker: Death of the Family hardcover and the third Justice League hardcover landing in the Top 10. [ICv2]
Creators | Joe Sacco talks about his work, his collaboration with journalist Chris Hedges, and why he doesn’t portray himself with eyeballs. [Straight.com]
Despite what you may have heard, the real threat to America may not be illegal immigration, same-sex marriage or even Obamacare. No, it turns out that it’s Robert Kirkman & Co.
In an editorial on FoxNews.com, Dr. Manny Alvarez asks, “Is watching The Walking Dead seriously hurting American society?” Before anyone has a chance to consider the question, Fox News Channel’s senior medical contributor answers with a confident “Yes.” And with that solved, Alvarez is free to focus on other pressing concerns, like the nature of Batman and Robin’s relationship, or, y’know, the dangers of socialized medicine or something. Then again, maybe not.
After teasing the number last week in USA Today, Image Comics officially announced The Walking Dead #115 — the 10th-anniversary issue that kicks off the storyline “All Out War” — immediately sold out on the distributor level its day of release, shipping more than 352,000 copies to the direct market. That makes the issue the top comic of the year to date in specialty shops, beating the estimated 308,000 copies sold in February by Justice League of America #1.
The landmark 100th issue of the series, by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, was the top-selling comic in the direct market in 2012, setting set a new record for highest orders for a comic in a single month with an estimated 366,000 copies.
The official announcement on Tuesday of a new horror series by Robert Kirkman looks promising, but can it repeat the success of The Walking Dead? The co-creator of one of most successful comic books of the past decade has become one of the high-profile figures in the industry, so the new project (with artist Paul Azaceta) calls out for a closer look.
When his zombie comic debuted in 2003, Kirkman was primarily known for superhero comics, like the more traditional Invincible, which had launched only months earlier, or the parody Battle Pope. A black-and-white horror comic that had none of the Spider-Man-style lightheartedness of those early Invincible issues or the dark humor of Battle Pope was unexpected from the writer. Even his lesser-known work, like Tech Jacket, Brit, Superpatriot or (how’s this for obscure?) the Masters of the Universe: Icons of Evil one-shots and Space Ace, all typically fell somewhere within that spectrum, never getting too dark and sometimes heading into outright comedies. Of course, any writer worth his salt can do more than one genre or tone. The Walking Dead definitively stepped out of his known territory, immediately proving itself to be startlingly tense, dark and dead serious. And like 30 Days of Night the year before, it demonstrated once again that comics could do horror.
Word of mouth about the series soon spread, with sales of each issue improving during an industry-wide slump. It became a cult hit, and by the time the first collected edition was released, back issues were beginning to spike on the resale market. Each subsequent year, sales seemed to grow exponentially, until it became the perennial hit that it is today. Needless to say, this led to a television deal with AMC and the pop culture phenomenon that it’s become, which has helped accelerate a zombie craze.
Conventions | A even bigger obstacle than the San Diego Chargers to the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center could be the California Coastal Commission, which must approve the project before it can proceed (the stage agency has regulatory oversight of land use and public access to the California coastal zone). The commission’s 11 members are meeting today through Friday in Mission Valley, where they’re expected to consider staff objections about reduced access to the bay; a bridge, estimated to cost about $42 million, from the foot of Fourth Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter has been floated as a solution. A public hearing is being held Thursday. The expansion of the convention center is viewed as critical to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. [U-T San Diego]
In celebration of the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, Hyundai will present special events next week during New York Comic Con dedicated to the long-running comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn.
Held at Pillars37 in Midtown Manhattan, “The Walking Dead: A Decade of Dead” begins at 11 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 with the opening an art showcase curated by Skybound Editorial Director Sina Grace featuring rare artwork, well-known illustrations and a signing by Adlard. Exclusive limited-edition prints will be given daily to gallery guests during the showcase, which continues through Oct. 12.
The 20-minute documentary The Walking Dead: A Decade of Dead, which chronicles the evolution of the property from comic book to hit television series, will have its world-premiere screening Friday, Oct. 11. Doors open at 7:30 p.m; a 15-minute Q&A will follow. Afterward, there’s an invitation-only party.
With New York Comic Con fast approaching, Image Comics has announced convention-exclusive merchandise and debuts for The Walking Dead and other titles, including Chew, East of West, Lazarus and Three. All items will be available at the Image Comics and Walking Dead booth (#1444).
New York Comic Con will be held Oct. 10-13 at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan.
There’s a long and embarrassing history of “sexy” Halloween costumes for women — y’know, a sexy pirate instead of simply a pirate, a sexy devil instead of simply a devil, and so on. But with a new licensed costume for The Walking Dead, that tradition has either been propelled to a new level of absurdity or turned on its head. I haven’t figured it out yet.
SpiritHalloween.com is selling … wait for it … an official “Walking Dead Sassy Rick Grimes Women’s Costume.” Yes, sassy Rick Grimes. Because if any word can capture the spirit of The Walking Dead‘s protagonist, it’s sassy. The outfit consists of a fitted shirt, skirt, hat with badge, badge pin and belt, which, for all I know, may actually make an appearance in the fourth season of the hit AMC drama. It undoubtedly will be the sassiest of all the seasons.
I’m hoping somewhere there are male fans of The Walking Dead who are feeling sassy enough to go out dressed as Sassy Rick Grimes. Granted, they’ll probably be mistaken for a machete-wielding Lt. Jim Dangle, but still … sassy!
And if you’re looking for a Rick Grimes costume for a child, oh, say age 5 to 7, don’t worry: Toys “R” Us has you covered (see the package below).
Image Comics has unveiled the 10th and final connecting cover for The Walking Dead #115, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the hit series. Illustrated by series artist Charlie Adlard and colored by Dave Stewart, the covers depict the most significant, and the most special, moments of the past decade.
The Walking Dead #115, by Robert Kirkman, Adlard and Cliff Rathburn, arrives Oct. 9. Check out the solicitation text below.
Publishing | ICv2 notes the near absence of DC Comics and Marvel on the August BookScan chart, which tracks sales in bookstores. There were no Marvel titles in the Top 20, and the four DC titles — Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke and V for Vendetta — were all evergreens, not new releases. Particularly noticeable by their absence were any volumes of Wolverine or Kick-Ass, properties with movies released in July and August, respectively. What’s hot? Attack on Titan, apparently, with two volumes charting and Volume 1, which was released more than a year ago, getting stronger every month — which means new readers are finding the series now. Curiously, the series is not selling well in comics shops, perhaps because retailers simply aren’t ordering it. Eight of the top 20 volumes were manga, including the top seller, the 62nd volume of Naruto. Chart mainstay The Walking Dead placed four books, including the nine-year-old first volume. [ICv2]
The zombie hordes won’t be stopped by the gates of academia.
AMC, Instructure and the University of California, Irvine have teamed up for a massive open online course (MOOC) “exploring a broad range of scholarly topics through the lens of a hypothetical zombie apocalypse.” Or should that be “hypothetical” zombie apocalypse?
Announced this morning, “Society, Science, Survival: Lessons from AMC’s The Walking Dead“ is a free, eight-week course taught by UC Irvine faculty in the fields of social sciences, public health, physics and astronomy, and mathematics. According to the course description, the online class will tackle such topics as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, social orders and structures, the spread of infectious diseases, and nutrition in a post-apocalyptic world (particularly relevant to Daryl Dixon, the latter asks, “Are squirrels really good for you?”).
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead in October — hey, that’s when the four season of the AMC TV show premieres! — the 115th issue will be released with 1o connecting covers, with each depicting a significant moment and a special moment from the past decade. All of them will be illustrated by Charlie Adlard and colored by Dave Stewart.
Each weekday for the next two weeks, Image Comics will reveal part of the connecting covers for Issue 115. Today’s peek resurrects a particularly painfully memory from the series’ third year. Check it out below. The Walking Dead #115 arrives Oct. 9.