Archaia has been doing a nice job of preserving Jim Henson’s legacy in comics form, with their well produced Fraggle Rock anthologies and the upcoming graphic novel A Tale of Sand, which is based on an unproduced screenplay by Henson and his co-writer Jerry Juhl. Now editor Tim Beedle has news of another Henson project that will hit the shelves in 2012: A new Labyrinth graphic novel, written by Ted Naifeh (of Courtney Crumrin fame) and Adrianne Ambrose (Fangs for Nothing, Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice) and illustrated by Cory Godbey (who has contributed to the Fraggle Rock comics). Beedle was the editor of the Return to Labyrinth graphic novels that Tokyopop published a few years ago, as well as Archaia’s Fraggle Rock comics, so he has plenty of hands-on experience with Henson’s work.
Archaia’s 2012 Free Comic Book Day giveaway is already getting the most buzz of any Gold Sponsor books, as it’s a 48-page hardcover filled with new comics, but this should seal the deal: The book will include a Labyrinth story by Naifeh and Godbey.
Creators | Sarah Glidden, creator of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, chronicles her time at Occupy Miami Nov. 15-21 in a sketchbook. [Cartoon Movement]
Creators | Corey Blake follows up on the Bill Mantlo story published by LIfeHealthPro, including some clarifications of issues raised in the story and additional details on various fundraisers over the years to help pay for Mantlo’s care. [Corey Blake]
Creators | Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society Podcast interviews Skullkickers writer Jim Zubkavich about piracy and the Stop Online Piracy Act. [Berkman Center for Internet & Society Podcast]
Tim Beedle, formerly a Tokyopop editor and now a freelancer, has two interesting posts on his blog about choosing the artist for the Muppet Robin Hood comic (which he wrote and fellow Tokyopop alum Paul Morrissey edited). The first set of drawings is an audition comic by Armand Villavert, Jr., who was the one who got the gig; the sample pages that Tim shows aren’t in the finished comic, though, they are a sequence Villavert wrote himself, and they include some pages colored in a very different style than the finished comics.
The other sequence is by Amy Mebberson, who went on to draw several of the other Muppet Show comics (and is now one of the artists on Strawberry Shortcake). In this case, Tim shows both Villavert’s and Mebberson’s versions, and it’s fascinating to see how differently the two artists handled the exact same script. Choices have consequences!
There was a time, back in the mid-2000′s, when Tokyopop was a bubbling cauldron of talent. With its Rising Stars of Manga competition and global manga program, Tokyopop was a gateway into comics for many talented newcomers, and many of them continue to work in the industry, creating and editing manga and other types of comics. Tokyopop shut down its OEL (Original English Language) manga program and laid off much of its staff in June 2008. Some of the creators continued to work on Tokyopop’s licensed books, while others moved on to new endeavors, including BOOM! Studios’ Pixar comics and Archaia’s Fraggle Rock anthologies.
The news that Tokyopop will be shutting its doors on May 31 inspired many creators to post their thoughts about the Tokyopop experience, and we reached out to some others for their own memories.
Former editor Tim Beedle, who was on staff at the time, looked back with mixed feelings:
There were certainly times where working at Tokyopop could be a frustrating experience. Like most of the editorial team, I came to Tokyopop because I had a genuine interest in comics and manga and wanted to play a role in bringing some great titles to American graphic novel fans, whether they were licensed from Japan or produced in the United States. And I think we did just that while we were there. I’m proud of just about all of the titles I worked on, especially the OEL ones. However, as time went on, the company’s interests and priorities seemed to shift. All of a sudden, we weren’t simply manga editors—we were film developers, magazine contributors, social media website operators and reality TV producers. All of which are worthwhile career pursuits, but what’s wrong with being editors? I think Tokyopop was at its best when its focus remained on publishing, and for all the time I was there, that’s what I focused on.