Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]
One of the unique parts of a comic convention is the chance to get sketches and fully-rendered art commissions from some of the medium’s top artists. They could draw the characters they’re known for best, or even something off-the-wall like the Swedish Chef that colorist Justin Ponsor did for me once. But a recent posting on artist Tony Moore’s blog shows just how crazy things can get when you get two artists to collaborate, or ‘jam,’ on a single piece
The Skybound blog provides a first look at the brick-thick Walking Dead Compendium hardcover, which collects the first 48 issues of the acclaimed horror series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard. Although the 1,000-plus page volume, complete with gold-embossed logo and new cover illustration by Adlard, won’t be widely available until Comic-Con International, about 100 copies will be offered this weekend for $100 each at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle (Booth #310).
It will come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to comics sales that The Walking Dead, the post-apocalyptic horror series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, is, well, a bit of a monster, devouring one spot after another on graphic novel charts. Take, for instance, last week’s New York Times graphic books list — its formula is as mysterious as the cause of the zombie outbreak — where collected editions of The Walking Dead accounted for three of the 10 hardcover titles and four of the 10 paperback titles.
But for a more illustrative, and up-to-the-minute, example of the book’s draw, look no further than Amazon’s list of bestselling comics and graphic novels (updated hourly). In the aftermath of Sunday’s fiery season finale of The Walking Dead television series, editions of the comic hold a staggering 24 of the Top 30 positions, a dominance led by collections of eight-year-old material. It’s also worth noting that the No. 9 slot is occupied by the 16th volume, which won’t be released in paperback until June.
As we’ve noted before, collections of The Walking Dead are perennial bestsellers, with sales of the first volume surpassing 4,000 copies in the direct market in January, more than five years after its initial release. In his analysis of 2011 bookstore sales, CBR columnist Brian Hibbs called The Walking Dead “without a shadow of a doubt, the biggest success story” of the year, pointing out that the books collectively hauled in a mind-blowing $8.7 million dollars.
On the heels of Friday’s eerie teaser for Telltale’s The Walking Dead episodic video game arrives a new trailer that provides a first glimpse of gameplay — and a better look at the character designs, based on the work on series artist Charlie Adlard. Stick around after the trailer to watch story consultant Gary Whitta discuss his role and emphasize that the game is based on the comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Adlard, and not based on the hit AMC television series.
“What we’re doing with the game version is starting completely fresh — the same universe, the same time and place, y’know, it’s in and around Atlanta at the time of the zombie apocalypse, but there’s no Rick Grimes, none of the major characters are in the game in a major way,” Whitta says. “Because how many times can you really keep telling the same story about that one set of characters? [...] So that’s the fun thing, that we didn’t just want to go back and do Rick’s story over again, so we’ve created a completely new set of characters who are — it’s a similar kind of group, it’s a disparate group, and they’re often as much as threat to themselves as the undead are, and there’s all the kind of interpersonal drama that plays out.”
Telltale Games has premiered a creepy teaser trailer for The Walking Dead video game that lacks any gameplay footage but makes up for it with a sense of dread and helplessness that captures the mood of both the comic series (by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard) and the hit television adaptation.
The game centers on Lee Everett, a character created specifically for the game, in a parallel story to the acclaimed comic series, with designs based on Adlard’s art. Telltale CEO Dan Connors announced earlier this week that the developer is about to submit the episodic game for approval through Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network, which means it could go on sale as soon as late April or early May.
Check out the trailer below.
I recently had a conversation with a comics artist about how being a good comics artist doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be a good cover artist, or character designer for that matter. One artist who has shown a propencity for great covers and great sequential comic pages is Tony Moore, but some people forget that.
When Tony Moore burst into the mainstream with The Walking Dead, his haunting covers of zombies earned him an Eisner nomination for Best Cover Artist in 2005. After leaving that title in 2005 he continued a spate of great covers on Fear Agent and The Exterminators as well as covers for a variety of books from Rob Zombie’s Spookshow International to Sea of Red and several of Claudio Sanchez’ books. But for some reason, most people have forgotten how good Moore is at covers — but this new illustration for a DVD brings that back front and center.
This illustration is for a limited edition slipcase DVD edition of the movie Dead Weight. Sharing the survivalism theme of The Walking Dead (but without the zombies),the film follows a man trying to get to his girlfriend in the wake of an apocalyptic virus outbreak. Moore really defines the world before and the world after in this illustration, and I hope Moore is able to do more of this in the future. Click on the image to see it bigger.
“I just went, Robert, what you’re about to get involved in is a pain in the ass, take it from me. But there is a silver lining in that you’re doing something that matters. Because nobody ever sues anybody over something that doesn’t matter. So, you know, if your book was selling four copies, it wouldn’t matter what agreement everybody thinks they have. Nobody cares. They only sue when there’s money on the table. There’s money on the table because you’re doing something successful. You have to get a thick skin, and in a weird way, if people keep coming at you, and lawyers keep coming at you, that means you’re doing something successful, that you’re enough of a target for them.”
– Todd McFarlane, who last month settled a decade-long legal battle with Neil Gaiman, relating his advice to Robert Kirkman, who’s being sued by former Walking Dead collaborator Tony Moore
After years of following the ongoing survival of a band of people in a zombie apocalypse, Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is considering going back to show how it all started.
In an article by William Keck for TV Guide, the TV critic reports that Kirkman is considering doing a “Volume Zero” of The Walking Dead, showing both the origins of the apocalypse as well as how Rick’s wife Lori and friend Shane went from “grieving friends to lovers.”
On multiple occasions since the beginning of the series in 2003, Kirkman answered questions about the origin of the zombie plague by saying he’d rather focus on the survival aspect, explaining that the main premise of the book is that it shows what happens after the end of a traditional zombie movie. The idea of a Walking Dead prequel, and as a standalone graphic novel, is an interesting prospect both for the story points as well as the potential sales juggernaut it could be. And for artist, would it be longtime artist Charlie Adlard, a return for original series artist Tony Moore, or perhaps some new third party in the mix? Time will tell.
A weekend blogpost by artist Tony Moore got my eyes reeling and my mind day-dreaming.. day-dreaming of Moore doing a Joker series. Check out what Moore posted Sunday:
Moore drew the image several years ago, but only recently dusted it off and colored it before unveiling it for the first time.
Moore’s currently hard at work on Marvel’s Venom series with Rick Remender, but just imagine for a second if DC gave Tony the reigns of Gotham’s big bad? Or even that great Lobo series he and Remender pitched years back.
IGN.com has the first look at the limited-edition poster created by Tim Bradstreet to promote the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Bradstreet and Executive Producer Frank Darabont will be on hand Friday at the show’s Comic-Con International booth (#3721) to sign the convention-exclusive posters. See the full image after the break.
The Walking Dead panel will be held at 11:15 a.m. Friday in Ballroom 20. The 13-episode second season of the series, based on the acclaimed horror comic by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, debuts in October.
I rarely get a chance to interview two collaborators for a project, but welcome to my latest fortunate rarity. Writer Mark Sable is back at Image Comics, collaborating with Grounded co-creator and Amazing Spider-Man artist Paul Azaceta. The two creators were kind enough to contact me for a joint email interview. As noted when this project was first announced: “In Graveyard of Empires, when a young lieutenant arrives at Combat Outpost Alamo, a remote outpost in Afghanistan, he learns a new kind of insurgent math. It’s said that in war, when you kill one insurgent, you create ten more by angering his family and friends. In this story, when you kill one, he comes back from the dead to infect ten of your fellow Marines . . . Graveyard of Empires #1 (APR110400), a 32-page full color horror/survival comic that will appeal to fans of The Hurt Locker and THE WALKING DEAD, will be available for sale in a comic shop near you on June 15, 2011.” Sable and Azaceta also provided Robot 6 with a six-page preview from the first installment of the three-issue miniseries. Frequent readers of Talking Comics with Tim may notice that as of late, I have given the interview subjects a chance to ask Robot 6 readers a question. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sable took this opportunity to invite folks to ask him questions in the comments section. He has committed to answering any and all questions, as his schedule permits, so by all means ask him all that you want.
Tim O’Shea: You two clearly went with an eye-catching, iconic first issue cover. Care to discuss how you arrived at that cover?
Paul Azaceta: Thanks. I knew right off the bat that I didn’t want a complicated cover. I wanted something that stood out and going with something simple and graphic was the way to go. I can’t say where exactly I got the idea for the skull with the poppy flower but when it hit me I knew I had it. I drew a quick little sketch for Mark and he suggested adding the helmet. Actually, the harder part was carrying that idea on with the other covers. But that was my inspiration, simple graphic covers.
Retailing | Citing unnamed sources, Bloomberg reports that Borders Group may file for bankruptcy protection as early as next week. Additionally the struggling book chain, the second-largest in the United States, will likely close at least 150 of its 500 remaining namesake stores. Company stock plunged in the wake of the news. A Borders spokeswoman declined comment, but referred to a Jan. 27 statement from President Mike Edwards in which he raised “the possibility of an in-court restructuring.” [Bloomberg]
Legal | Rich Johnston and retailer news and analysis site ICv2 look at potential trademark issues surrounding Marvel’s “Who Are the Mystery Men?” They note that cartoonist Bob Burden owns the trademark to the one-word “Mysterymen,” while Dark Horse and Universal Pictures control the two-word “Mystery Men” — both relating to the characters created by Burden and the 1999 movie adaptation. Dynamite Entertainment also has laid claim to “Super-Mysterymen” for its Project Superpowers series. “I have not heard from Universal yet, but I’m sure Universal will proceed in an orderly and propitious manner,” Burden said. [Bleeding Cool, ICv2.com]
Could the popular zombie series by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard be moving from comics page to television screen to game console? Signs point to … maybe.
Video-game website 1Up reports it received an invitation from Telltale Games to a Feb. 17 event at which the developer will announce five new multi-platform projects, including “one based on a just-launched property from the TV and comic book world whose popularity is changing life as some know it.”
It’s a fine bit of hyperbole that, nevertheless, hints at The Walking Dead, whose TV adaptation broke ratings records for AMC and received critical acclaim (including a Golden Globe nomination). The only other “just-launched property” that comes to mind is Cartoon Network’s Young Justice. However, that fledgling series has yet to achieve the heights — or the hype — of life-changing popularity.
As 1Up’s Frank Cifaldi notes, while there’s no evidence to push this beyond a tantalizing theory, the property “fits Telltale’s style of games rather well.” The San Rafael, Calif.-based company has developed episodic games based on CSI, Wallace & Gromit and Jeff Smith’s Bone. It’s now working on series for the Jurassic Park and Back to the Future franchises.
“Fun fact! NINE of the TOP TEN graphic novels in 2010 were creator-owned books! Walking Dead, Kick-Ass and Scott Pilgrim among them.”
–Savage Dragon cartoonist Erik Larsen, speaking the truth. Of course, the flip side of this is that NINE of the TOP TEN graphic novels in 2010 had major Hollywood properties to thank for much of their notoriety, Walking Dead, Kick-Ass, and Scott Pilgrim among them. (The tenth was a Superman book that got over with mass audiences largely on the strength of a fortuitous press comparison to Twilight.) I don’t mean to short-change the success of Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, Charlie Adlard, Mark Millar, John Romita Jr., and Bryan Lee O’Malley, but proponents of creator ownership and creators’ rights probably ought not break out the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner just yet.