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Comics A.M. | First Second’s success; more on Moore-Kirkman suits


Publishing | First Second editorial director Mark Siegel sits down with Milton Greipp to talk about his company’s success, which comes in part by marketing books in a number of different channels — independent bookstores, libraries, even textbook adoptions. He also talks numbers, and it’s interesting to see that Feynman spent 11 weeks at the top of The New York Times graphic books best-seller list with a print run of 10,000; that’s an indication of the order of magnitude of book sales for the titles on that list. Siegel also gives a preview of the fall list. Updated (Aug. 13): Siegel notes to Robot 6 that Feynman has had multiple printings, exceeding 35,000 copies. It will soon be released in paperback. [ICv2]

Legal | The attorney for Tony Moore explains why the artist’s legal dispute with his former Walking Dead collaborator Robert Kirkman has moved into federal court. “Once Moore establishes fraud and rescinds the agreement [as laid out in the first filing], the issue is going to be whether he was a co-author of these works,” Devin McRae tells Newsarama. “And it’s the federal court that has the power to decide that. So we still have to first go in the state court and prove the fraud, which we think we’ll do. This is just something that is part and parcel of the whole thing. Nothing’s really changed.” [Newsarama]

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Quote of the Day #2 | Pool … Deadpool?

“Some of you are against celebrities making comics, but @thebrianposehn’s art is wonderful & Roger Moore’s scripts are hilarious.”

– television and comics writer Gerry Duggan, following the release of the above teaser from Marvel
trumpeting the creative team for a new Deadpool series (that’s Duggan and Brian Posehn writing,
and Tony Moore illustrating, as far as you know)

Tony Moore pits Popeye against Hellboy

Avengers Vs. X-Men is an epic battle between two storied properties, but Tony Moore has his own ideas for what would make a monumental face-off: Popeye versus Hellboy.

E.C Segar’s spinach-eating sailor and Mike Mignola’s stone-armed demon are a potent pairing, and Moore’s style blends both the cartoony nature of Popeye — forearms and all — with the pulpy Hellboy. Take a look below.

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Comics A.M. | The Walking Dead continues bookstore domination

The Walking Dead, Compendium One

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. []

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]

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Tony Moore and Katie Cook team up with surprising results

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

Behold Moore’s rendition of a My Little Pony being ridden by a zombie drawn by Katie Cook, as done during last weekend’s Emerald City Comicon in Seattle.

ECCC | The Walking Dead Compendium hardcover debuts

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).

Like a zombie herd, The Walking Dead overruns Amazon sales list

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.

First gameplay trailer arrives for Telltale’s The Walking Dead

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.”

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Chilling teaser trailer debuts for Walking Dead video game

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.

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Tony Moore provides cover art for apocalyptic virus film Dead Weight

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.

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Quote of the day | ‘They only sue when there’s money on the table’

“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

Kirkman considering a Walking Dead prequel

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.

I’m ready for more of Tony Moore’s Joker

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.

SDCC ’11 | Tim Bradstreet’s Walking Dead poster

From Tim Bradstreet's "Walking Dead" poster 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.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Mark Sable & Paul Azaceta

Graveyard of Empire 1

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.

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