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Popular digital subscription service Scribd, often referred to as “Netflix for books,” this morning launched a comics section, giving users access to more than 10,000 titles from such publishers as Marvel, IDW Publishing, Archie Comics, Top Shelf, Top Cow, Valiant and Dynamite. The expansion brings the Scribd library to more than 1 million titles.
As part of the $8.99 flat monthly fee, users now can move beyond Scribd’s prose and audiobook offerings to read comics ranging from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and March: Book One to Afterlife With Archie and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Image Comics has announced a lineup of Comic-Con International exclusives that range from the foil-covered Chew: Chicken Warrior Poyo #1 and the debut of Low to the connecting covers of Manifest Destiny #8 and The Walking Dead #129.
The Image and Skybound releases will be available at the Image booth (#2729), while the Top Cow titles can be found at the Top Cow booth (#2629). Comic-Con kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night and continues through Sunday.
Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe admitted Thursday in Tokyo District Court to sending hundreds of threatening letters to bookstores, convenience stores and convention centers associated with Tadatoshi Fujimaki’s manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The motive, the 35-year-old man said, was jealousy of Fujimaki’s success; Watanabe reasoned that, “If I somehow managed to harass and depress him, I could drag him into my suicide journey.” Watanabe added that he had been abused by his parents and bullied as a child, and had “homosexual tendencies.” He attempted suicide before he sent the threat letters and would do so again after he was freed, he told the court: “That way, society can rest assured that I won’t do anything stupid again.” [Anime News Network]
Legal | Attorney Marc H. Greenberg revisits the lawsuit brought by musicians Johnny and Edgar Winter against DC Comics over a 1995 storyline in Jonah Hex that portrayed two evil brothers, Johnny and Edgar Autumn. [Print]
After teasing the comic for the past three months on his DeviantART page, Witchblade and Aphrodite IX artist Stjepan Šejić has revealed his creator-owned Death Vigil will debut in July from, perhaps unsurprisingly, Top Cow Productions.
“You know I had to go with my Top Cow gang,” wrote Šejić, who’s also been busy preparing for the print release of Sunstone, the erotic comedy he created with his wife Linda Luksic-Šejić.
As someone who has covered the comic book industry to some degree since 1999 and been reading comics since 1977, I’ve been audience to a plethora of appeals by creators to support their projects. But none has caught my attention quite like that of A Voice in the Dark creator Larime Taylor, who draws with his mouth.
Earlier this month, in a Tumblr post, Taylor recounted how in 2012 he embarked on a pilot project through Kickstarter for A Voice in the Dark in the hopes he could ultimately connect the project to a publisher. In 2013 he succeeded, with it landing at Top Cow’s Minotaur Press imprint. But unfortunately, sales are lagging. He logically assumes part of the sales struggle is that he is an unknown name and that some potential consumers are less inclined to read a black-and-white comic.
Both factors are true. I’m ashamed to admit there are multiple independent comics that are released on a monthly basis that never catch my attention. I was surprised that this one in particular hadn’t, given Taylor’s unique talents — as well as the fact he was interviewed in late August by Comic Book Resources.
Comics strips | Matt Saracini looks at the impact on Australian cartoonists of a cost-cutting decision by media giant News Corp. Australia to replace individual comics pages in their largest newspapers with one national page. In the process, some more expensive locally produced strips were jettisoned in favor for cheaper syndicated ones from overseas, like Garfield and The Phantom. News Corp. owns more than a hundred daily, weekly, biweekly and triweekly newspapers. [SBS.com]
Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, now living in Kuwait after troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacked him and broke both his hands, talks about his decision to portray al-Assad explicitly in his cartoons, rather than sticking to more generic themes like freedom and human rights: “It was a big decision to start to draw Bashar and, yes, I was scared of what might happen, particularly when I was attacked. But I had a responsibility to do what I did. If I am not prepared to take risks I have no right to call myself an artist. If there is no mission or message to my work I might as well be a painter and decorator.” [The Guardian]
As the Comic-Con International hangover sets in and the industry goes silent while creators, editors, publishers and publicists stagger home from San Diego, we’ll take a few minutes to try to collect the comics-related highlights of this year’s event. We’ll attempt to update as more panel reports appear and other information trickles out.
• Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Hawkeye‘s David Aja, and Building Stories by Chris Ware were the big winners at the 2013 Eisner Awards.
• At Diamond Comic Distributors’ Retailer Appreciation Lunch, Marvel teased the arrival of Marvelman — it’s been four years since the publisher revealed it had acquired the rights to the property — and, scheduled for January, a new wave of Marvel NOW! titles. In convention panels, the company announced: Wolverine: Origin II, by Kieron Gillen and Adam Kubert; the return of Nightcrawler in the first arc of Amazing X-Men, by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness; the November debut of Longshot Saves the Marvel Universe, by Chris Hastings and Jacopo Camagni; “Afterparty,” a two-issue arc of Young Avengers that celebrates Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s first year on the series; Steve McNiven will join Rick Remender in November on Uncanny Avengers; Cataclysm: The Ultimates Last Stand, a Galactus-focused Ultimate Universe event by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley; and the January-launching Revolutionary War, in which writer Andy Lanning and “various superstar artists,” will resurrect some of the Marvel UK characters.
Comic-Con International continued to reveal the programming schedule for San Diego as they rolled out the panels and events scheduled for Saturday, July 20.
The third day brings panels from Skybound, BOOM!, Archaia, Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, Drawn + Quarterly, Top Cow, Archie, Action Lab Entertainment, IDW and Rebellion, Dark Horse, Image Comics, Valiant and Lion Forge Comics, the makers of those Saved by the Bell and Knight Rider comics that are coming soon. DC has panels dedicated to Green Lantern, Superman’s 75th anniversary, Sandman and Batman: Year Zero, while Marvel has panels on Infinity, their video games, animation slate and their movies, which include Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (no doubt they’ll have a little more than that). In what is likely his first trip to Comic-Con, Congressman John Lewis will be on hand to talk about his book from Top Shelf, March.
You’ll also find spotlight panels on Russ Heath, Sam Kieth, Val Mayerik, Vera Brosgol, John Romita Jr., Jon Bogdanove, Jim Lee, George Perez, Gerry Conway, Frank Brunner, Roy Thomas and Paul Dini, as well as a tribute to Joe Kubert. The day wraps up with the annual CCI Masquerade.
Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule:
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 make up for lost time and get the first collection of Mind the Gap (Image, $9.99). Rodin Esquejo is an absolute gem in my opinion, and Jim McCann looks to have crafted a story with some definite suspenseful power. After that I’d get James Stokoe’s Godzilla: Half Century War #3 (IDW, $3.99). This has become one of my favorite serials to come out, which for a work-for-hire book is tough. Instead of doing a story in service of the concept, it uses the concept to create a great story – and Stokoe really loves Godzilla and puts a face to those humans who oppose him. Finally, I’d get the free Cyber Force #1 (Image/Top Cow, $0) because, well, it’s free. I have an unabashed love for the original Cyber Force, and previous reboots haven’t really gelled the way I wanted to. I’m excited to see what Matt Hawkins brings to this, and I’m glad Silvestri is involved even if only on covers and designs.
If I had $30, I’d first stop for Glory #29 (Image, $3.99). I tend to read this series in built-up bursts, and I’m overdue to catch up. I like the monstrous rage Ross Campbell brings to this, and seeing Joe Keatinge capitalize on the artist he has to create a broader story is thrilling. After that I’d get a Marvel three-pack in Hawkeye #3 (Marvel, $2.99), Daredevil #19 (Marvel, $2.99) and AvX Consequences #2 (Marvel, $3.99). I’d buy David Aja illustrating a phone book – seeing him getting a great story is icing on the cake.
If I could splurge, I’d lash onto Charles Burns’ The Hive (Pantheon, $21.95). I’m reluctantly late to the game when it comes to Charles Burns, but X’ed Out clued me into his awesome cartooning power. After devouring his previous work, I’m excited to read The Hive as it first comes out. I don’t quite know what to expect, but after finally coming around to Burn’s skill I’m up for pretty much anything. Continue Reading »
Here’s one that might have got missed over the holiday weekend: Top Cow Productions has announced a talent hunt for two previously unpublished writers and artists. You can see a rundown of the rules below, or on the publisher’s website. They’re very stringent, understandably enough in the current culture of litigation. Still, this is a high-profile gig, so it’d be worth doing the research to pull it off. The recent success of the Cyber Force Kickstarter campaign shows Top Cow is publisher with both a supportive fanbase and a helluva knack with a publicity campaign.
Top Cow Productions on Friday concluded its Kickstarter campaign to fund a Cyber Force revival with $117,135, exceeding its goal by more than $42,000.
Announced early last month, the resurrection of the series coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Marc Silvestri comic that launched Top Cow Productions. The company hoped to raise enough money through the crowd-funding website to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print. While the original comic followed a group of cybernetically enhanced mutants on the run from an international conglomerate, the Cyber Force in the new series — by Silvestri, Matt Hawkins and Khoi Pham — is described as “bio-cybernetic steampunk.”
“From Marc, myself and everyone at Top Cow thank you so much for your pledges, your support and spreading the word around for us,” Hawkins wrote Friday in a Kickstarter update. He had said last week that if the campaign surpassed $100,000 Top Cow would make copies of the first trade paperback available for free to libraries that request them, and work with charities to provide comics to U.S. troops in war zones.
Cyber Force debuts in October.
With more than a week to go in its Kickstarter campaign, Top Cow Productions has already surpassed its $75,000 goal for the revival of its early-’90s superhero series Cyber Force.
Announced early last month, the resurrection of the series coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Marc Silvestri comic that launched Top Cow Productions. The company hoped to raise enough money through the crowd-funding website to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print.
While the original comic followed a group of cybernetically enhanced mutants on the run from an international conglomerate, the Cyber Force in the new series — by Silvestri, Matt Hawkins and Khoi Pham — is described as “bio-cybernetic steampunk.”
“This new version of Cyber Force is the most exciting and awesome thing I’ve ever worked on,” Hawkins wrote this week in a Kickstarter update. “I can’t wait for all of you to see it. Thank you all and thanks for helping us spread the love of comics to the rest of the world.”
Donors were offered a number of incentives, ranging from Kickstarter-exclusive variant covers and signed issues to a thank-you phone call from Silvestri and a mentor session with Hawkins. The campaign ends Aug. 17; Cyber Force debuts in October.
Publishing | Top Cow Productions has announced details of its retailer program for the relaunch of Cyber Force, which is using Kickstarter to raise enough money to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print: Retailers will be charged 25 cents per copy for the first five issues, but will receive incentive variant covers — with suggested prices of $10 and $20 — to offset the cost of the comics. The Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $50,000 of its $75,000 goal with 17 days remaining. [ICv2]
Publishing | Former DC Comics editor Janelle Asselin, who now works for Disney, talks about her experiences at the editor’s desk and offers one reason there are so few female superhero comics creators: Women aren’t lining up for the job. “In my time at DC, exactly one woman reached out to me via email, and I hired her,” she said. “I didn’t hire her BECAUSE she was a woman, I hired her because she was good, of course. But in that same amount of time, probably at least two or three men a week contacted me looking for work, some of them intensely pushy and many of them decidedly not good. I think more female creators should put themselves out there. The numbers are growing, we all can see that, especially in indie comics and comics published by traditional publishers, but if there are women who want to work on super hero books, they need to speak up.” [Women Write About Comics]
Not even a day into its Kickstarter campaign, Top Cow’s Cyber Force has already raised more than $20,000 of its $75,000 goal.
Announced two weeks ago, the resurrection of the series coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Marc Silvestri comic that launched Top Cow Productions. The company hopes to raise enough money through the crowd-funding website to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print.
“While most everybody uses Kickstarter to fund a project in order to build it and then sell it, we at Top Cow are going to use the funds to build Cyber Force and give it away — for free!” Silvestri told Hero Complex at the time of the announcement. “Plus we’re not talking just one issue but five full issues of the comic. And it won’t be free just digitally, but also as a full-color printed comic that will be available at any participating comic shop. So for people that want to read Cyber Force digitally — yes, including torrent sites — it’s free. And for anyone wanting to hold a traditional comic in their hands to read it — it’s still free.”
• Of course you can’t have Comic-Con without news about Comic-Con itself. CBR’s Kiel Phegley spoke with CCI’s David Glanzer about the show, while Ryan Ingram spoke with Scott Morse about the Tr!ckster satellite event. And it seems like every non-comics media outlet reports on the show in some form or fashion; here’s an article by The Christian Post about religion and the show, for example. And finally, Tuesday brought the tragic news that a con attendee camping out for today’s Twilight panel was killed in front of the convention center after being struck by a car.
• I’m not 100 percent sure if it qualifies as Comic-Con news, but since it was officially announced in the Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con issue, let’s just go with it. Marvel’s big news going into the Con is that they plan to relaunch several titles later this year as part of “Marvel NOW!” Their recently released solicitations reveal they plan to cancel nine titles in October, but of course you can expect many if not all of them to come back in some form or fashion as Marvel NOW! rolls out.
• Mike Mignola and Hellboy return this December in Hellboy in Hell, the first four-issue miniseries in a series of miniseries about the title character’s post-demise adventures.