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With Thief of Thieves #1, which hit stores this past Wednesday, Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) introduces the television “Writer’s Room” concept to his Skybound imprint, as he teams with Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Iron Man 2.0) for a story about a thief who wants to retire. The heist comic features the artistic talents of Shawn Martinbrough (Black Panther, Luke Cage Noir) with colors by Felix Serrano.
So did Thief of Thieves manage to steal the hearts of reviewers? Here’s a sampling of what some of them thought about the debut issue:
Iann Robinson, CraveOnline: “If the sometimes stale and repetitive superhero genre has you down, then Thief Of Thieves could be right up your alley. The story is a simple one. Take a master thief named Redmond, a charming loner who is the hero to so many in the underworld. Open the comic with him masterminding a brilliant heist. Add in a beautiful assistant who wants him and creates enough sexual tension to make our hero uncomfortable. Then sprinkle in an upcoming job being bankrolled by a criminal mob type. The whole thing is behind schedule, off budget and people are getting antsy. So what does Redmond do? On the very last page he announces he’s quitting forever.”
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 with Thief of Thieves #1 (Image/Skybound, $2.99). The gang at Skybound gave me an advance PDF of this issue, and I like it so much I want to hold the physical thing in my hands. Shawn Martinbrough really nails this first issue, and Nick Spencer really puts his Marvel work to shame with this story. Next up I’d get my favorite DC Book – Batwoman #6 (DC, $2.99) – and favorite Marvel book – Wolverine and The X-Men #5 ($3.99). I’d finish it all up with Northlanders #48 ($2.99). I’m not the biggest fan of Danijel Zezelj’s work, but I can’t let up now to see my long-running commitment to Northlanders falter at this point.
If I had $30, I’d dig into Richard Corben’s Murky World one-shot (Dark Horse, $3.50). Corben’s one of those “will-buy-no-matter-what” artists for me that Tom Spurgeon recently focused on, and this looks right up my alley. Next up I’d get Secret Avengers #22 (Marvel, $3.99) because Remender’s idea of robot descendents intrigues me, and then Wolverine and The X-Men: Alpha and Omega (Marvel, $3.99). I didn’t know what to expect from the first issue, and after reading it I still don’t know where this series is heading – but I like it so far. Finally, I’d get Haunt #21 (Image, $2.99). The combination of Joe Casey & Nathan Fox is like a secret code to open my wallet.
If I could splurge, I’d take the graphic novel Jinchalo (D+Q, $17.95) by Matthew Forsythe. I loved his previous book Ojingogo, and this looks to continue in that hit parade.
Legal | A teenager was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for his role in the July 2010 theft of a valuable comic collection from an elderly Medina, New York, man, who later died of a heart attack. Eighteen-year-old Juan C. Javier, who pleaded guilty last fall to attempted second-degree burglary, is one of seven people whom police say were hired by businessman Rico J. Vendetti to break into the home of Homer Marciniak to steal his comics. Marciniak, 77, awoke during the burglary and was beaten, suffering only cuts and bruises. However, he had a fatal heart attack later that day. Eight people, including Vendetti and Javier, were indicted in November 2010; the indictments were dismissed against four of the accused so the U.S. Attorney could charge them with murder under federal law. [The Daily News]
Retailing | Sacramento, Calif.-area retailers are relatively unconcerned about DC Comics’ newly launched digital initiative or an immediate threat to their bottom lines from digital comics. “I just see it as another way of kind of expanding the whole readership,” says Dave Downey, who runs World’s Best Comics. “If you missed an issue of Spider-Man, and you can’t find it anywhere, you can always go online and read it that way.” However, Kenny Russell of Big Brother Comics sees a time, “years off,” when that will all change: “It’s inevitable, and this is kind of the first step. In no time, iPads are going to be good enough, and it’s going to be easy enough, and it’s going to come out the same day where people are going to just read their comics on their iPads.” [Sacramento News & Review]
Comics | Gene Luen Yang explores the tangled history of comics and Christianity, both of which, he points out, were started by a bunch of Jewish guys who loved a good story. (Good-sized excerpt at the link; full article requires free registration.) [Sojourners]
Robert Kirkman’s fledgling Skybound comics line is expanding into Asia through a new distribution deal with the production company Moving Images.
Launched in July 2010, the Image Comics imprint is home to Kirkman’s books, most prominently The Walking Dead and Invincible, as well as hand-picked additions like Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner‘s Witch Doctor, and the recently confirmed Thief of Thieves, a collaboration between Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Shawn Martinbrough and a rotating roster of writers.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Skybound Asia will be based in Singapore, allowing the imprint to distribute directly to regional markets. The new venture will have a presence this weekend at the Singapore Toy, Game & Comic Convention.
“The next step for Skybound and The Walking Dead in particular is the evolution into a global brand,” Kirkman says. “Partnering with Moving Images to form Skybound Asia is the first logical step toward that goal. It will allow us to gain a foothold in emerging markets in order to bring Skybound comics and products to an entirely new fan base.”
Robert Kirkman has at last revealed details of Thief of Thieves, a collaboration with Morning Glories writer Nick Spencer first teased a year ago with the launch of the Skybound imprint.
The Walking Dead creator tells USA Today he’ll employ a writer’s room approach similar to what occurs with television series, with he and Spencer hammering out the overall plot, and a team of scribes trading off on story arcs. (It appears virtually identical to the model used by Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, on which Joss Whedon served as executive producer.)
Spencer will pen the first arc of Thief of Thieves, which follows an aging international art thief who decides to retire from the game and instead steal from other criminals. “He’s got this compulsion where he has to steal or he doesn’t feel like he’s living, but he doesn’t want to break the law anymore,” Kirkman tells the newspaper.
Shawn Martinbrough, known for his noirish approach on such titles as Luke Cage Noir, Angeltown and DMZ — he even wrote the book How to Drawn Noir Comics — will be the permanent artist. Kirkman will step in at some point to pen his own arc. However, he’s keeping the names of the other writers a secret; presumably at least some of them will be revealed this week at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Visit USA Today to see a preview of the first issue. Thief of Thieves debuts early next year from Kirkman’s new Image Comics imprint Skybound.