True Blood Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Robert Kirkman, Neil Gaiman named among Hollywood’s top authors

Neil Gaiman and Robert Kirkman are among The Hollywood Reporter’s 25 most powerful authors in Hollywood, appearing alongside the likes of J.K. Rowling, Stephen King and George R.R. Martin.

At No. 6, Kirkman is recognized not only for the success of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead but for a “banner year for the veteran comic-book writer and Image Comics partner” that includes overseeing his Skybound imprint and publishing Thief of Thieves, which is also being developed by the cable network.

Gaiman, co-creator of The Sandman, clocked in at No. 23 on the strength of his prose work — The Graveyard Book and American Gods are being developed for film and television, respectively — and the adaptations of Coraline and Stardust.

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IDW Publishing library comes to comiXology

IDW Publishing and comiXology have partnered to make the publisher’s complete library available digitally across all comiXology platforms — iOS, the Android and the Web.

Beginning today, the entire Transformers line, previously sold only through comiXology’s Android app or online store, will also be available through comiXology’s apps for the various Apple devices. Several new IDW titles, including the first issue of the new Star Trek ongoing, the first two issues of Locke & Key: Clockworks and the first six issues of G.I. Joe, will also appear starting today. More comics will be added later.

Previously IDW’s comics were only available on Apple’s iOS through iVerse and the various iVerse-created IDW apps.

“ComiXology customers have asked for IDW to be part of the Comics by comiXology lineup for some time, and we’re thrilled to bring our catalog to those readers,” Jeff Webber, IDW’s director of ePublishing, said in a statement. “We’ve always been impressed with comiXology’s strength in offering comics across multiple platforms, including Apple iOS, Android and the Web. David and his team have put together an awesome offering. ComiXology has established a huge audience — I know we’re going to make a lot of IDW fans happy this week.”

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Comics A.M. | Charlaine Harris’ new graphic novel; the origins of Epic

Charlaine Harris

Publishing | Charlaine Harris, author of the “Sookie Stackhouse” novels on which HBO’s True Blood is based, says that after she finishes the last two “Sookie” books, she plans to work on a graphic novel with Christopher Golden. “I’m very excited about that. It’s called Cemetery Girl with Christopher Golden, and it’s a very exciting opportunity.” Harris had mentioned wanting to do a novel called Cemetery Girl back in 2009, about “a girl raised by ghosts in a cemetery,” but put it on hold when she found out the plot was similar to Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.

Based on the description in the news report, it sounds like the story has been tweaked, as it says the graphic novel “centers on a woman who finds herself living in a cemetery with no memory of her past but a clear sense of a mysterious threat hanging over her.” This isn’t the first time Harris’ characters have found their way into comics, as IDW publishes comics based on HBO’s True Blood, and an adaptation of her Grave Sight novels has been published by Dynamite. [NBC San Diego]

Publishing | Former Marvel Comics editor and Transformers writer John Barber has joined IDW Publishing as a senior editor. IDW also announced the promotion of Tom Waltz to the company’s first senior staff writer position, in addition to his duties as editor, and the expansion of the company’s book department with longtime IDW employee Alonzo Simon becoming an assistant editor. [press release]

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SDCC Wishlist | IDW brings Anne Rice, Ashley Wood, Thor and more

Anne Rice Servant of the Bones

IDW Publishing has released a list of the items they’ll be selling at their booth at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, many of which are available for pre-order. The list includes advanced copies of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1, several Ashley Wood books, Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Baja ashcans, Locke & Key keys and much more. Check out the list below:

Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones

• Visitors to Comic-Con can purchase an exclusive advance copy of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones #1 with a variant cover; only 400 copies of this exclusive issue will be available.
• Beginning in August, the first issue of Anne Rice’s Servant of the Bones will tell of the demon Azriel, who sets out to find the murderer of a beautiful young woman in the streets of New York City, only to discover a far more sinister plot that could end the world. Once a human in ancient Babylon, Azriel is a spirit of rage and terror that gradually rediscovers his humanity through holy vengeance and spiritual love.
• Anne Rice will be signing at the IDW booth #2643 on Thursday July 21, 2011 during Comic-Con. With the purchase of a SERVANT OF THE BONES #1, fans will be able to have one additional item signed.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 (Comic-Con Edition $5.00, 32 pages, full color) will be available at the IDW booth #2643 during Comic-Con, while supplies last.
• ANNE RICE’S SERVANT OF THE BONES #1 ($3.99, 32 pages, full color) will be available in comic stores in August 2011.

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Second True Blood miniseries coming from IDW in February

True Blood Vol. 1

Fans of IDW’s recent True Blood series will be happy to know that a second series is on its way next year. The as-yet-untitled miniseries will be co-written by Michael McMillian, who plays the Fellowship of the Sun’s charismatic reverend Steve Newlin on the HBO show, and Marc Andreyko (Manhunter, Pantheon). The comic will feature several characters who didn’t appear in the first volume, including Newlin, Jessica Hamby, Hoyt Fortenberry, Terry Bellefleur, Arlene Fowler and Jesus Velasquez.

“The plot kicks off when bottles of Tru Blood are contaminated with this mysterious ingredient that makes vampires go, basically, insane,” McMillian told Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life blog. “They go crazy. They lose sense of all sort of moral center, and they pretty much go feral and attack anything and everything in sight. What happens is they reach Bon Temps and the lips of a very beloved vampire character. Sookie and the rest of the characters are trying to figure out: Who’s behind the contamination? How can they save their friend? That’s sort of where the whole arc starts off.”

He compared the contaminated beverage to the “BP oil spill or the contaminated Tylenol pills,” a PR nightmare where vampires who live among humans will see bottle of Tru Blood pulled from shelves. That can’t be good for human-vampire relations, can it?

No word on the art team. The new series starts Feb. 23. The collection of the first series, pictured above, comes out Feb. 8.

True Blood #1 arrives in comics shops, San Diego and in iTunes

from True Blood #1

from True Blood #1

IDW Publishing’s comic adaptation of HBO’s True Blood will arrive in comic shops today and can also be purchased at their booth tonight as Comic-Con International kicks off. And it can also be downloaded from the iTunes store as its own application for $2.99 right now.

The app works on both the iPhone and iPad, and includes all of issue #1. It also asks if you’d like to be notified when the rest of the mini-series is available. According to a press release from HBO this morning, it is also available in the Sony PSP Digital Comics shop.

The release of the application adds IDW to the list of publishers who have released comics digitally at the same time they hit comic shops. – or, actually, before they hit comic shops; apparently the True Blood comic became available on iTunes on July 19. I received some clarification … the date listed on iTunes is the date it was cleared by Apple; the application became available today.

If you’re curious to see what the comic looks like, check out the preview after the jump.

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The Middle Ground #5: Sitting Up Straight On The Back Of The Bus

middletrueI’m pretty sure that the first licensed comic I actually bought would’ve been a Star Wars comic. I don’t really remember ever buying any of them, but I remember always having them around (For some reason, I specifically remember them always being around when I was sick, although I do remember eagerly running home from the newsagent with the first issue of Return Of The Jedi, hoping to find out what happened in the new movie before it came out, and being somewhere between excited and upset to realize that the movie adaptation only filled the first third of the issue, with a random SW story and The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones filling up the rest). The first one I remember actively collecting was the Marvel UK version of Transformers, although I didn’t think of that as a licensed comic; my head didn’t work that way, yet, so it was just a comic that was connected to those toys that I thought were awesome in some mysterious way.

So why is there some kind of stigma against licensed comics these days?

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

One Piece, Vol. 27

One Piece, Vol. 27

Publishing | Viz Media has confirmed that its public relations and design departments were among those affected by Tuesday’s layoffs. In a brief statement released yesterday, the company assured fans that, “We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.”

Melinda Beasi, Simon Jones, Kai-Ming Cha and Lissa Pattillo provide more commentary. [Viz Media]

Legal | As a Belgian court decides whether to ban Tintin in the Congo because of racist content, Roger Bongos and Sebastian Rodriguez argue that Hergé’s book shouldn’t be censored but rather read and analyzed within the context of the era in which it was created. “You cannot deny however that the book is very discriminatory of black people,” Bongos writes. “Hergé wasn’t a racist person himself: he simply reflected the image the Western world had of the Congo and of Africa during those years, as well as the colonial aspirations of Belgians. In this sense, the book is kind of Proust’s ‘madeleine episode’ for us: it helps us remember our colonial history.” The court is expected to issue its ruling on May 31. [France 24]

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The Middle Ground #3: Whatever Happened To The Mainstream?

Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1

Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim Vol. 1

I keep getting caught up in thoughts about mainstream comics. I might be imagining it, but I seem to remember a movement some years ago that tried to rebrand certain indie publishers (Maybe just one publisher? For some reason, I’m convinced that it was Oni Press, but I don’t want to tar them with this brush if I’m wrong) as The Real Mainstream, or The New Mainstream, or some variation on that idea. The thinking, as far as I remember it, was that what we call “mainstream comics” – i.e., Marvel and DC – don’t really reflect mainstream pop culture, and that the books that do come from the publishers somewhat ostracized by the comics industry. Nowadays, of course, I’m not sure that you can really make the same argument.

It’s not that publishers like Oni or IDW or BOOM! or whomever aren’t continuing to put out material that’s in tune with whatever pop zeitgeist is out there at any given opportunity, because they are (Albeit with different methodologies; Oni by, for the most part, creating all-new series and stories that reflect or anticipate trends, IDW by licensing movies and TV shows like Transformers or True Blood. Sure, they sometimes swap – The very idea of Oni’s upcoming Yo Gabba Gabba comic makes my head spin as much as it makes my heart swell, I have to admit – but generally, it’s a relatively safe rule of thumb), but more that… Well, you can’t really discount superheroes as part of the popular culture conversation anymore. I mean, seriously: Who in the US isn’t at least considering going to see Iron Man 2 (International fans: I wouldn’t presume your desires, now that the movie’s been out in many countries for the last week or so)?

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Thin wallets, fat bookshelves | A publishing news roundup

Batman and Robin by Jim Lee

Batman and Robin by Jim Lee

This is a special “WonderCon + more” edition of Thin Wallets, as we round up publishing news from last weekend’s con, plus a few other items of note …

  • DC Comics announced that they are replacing the long-delayed All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder with Dark Knight: Boy Wonder. The book will still be by the creative team of Frank Miller and Jim Lee, and is due in February 2011.
  • IDW has picked up the license to make comics based on HBO’s southern vampire show True Blood. The show’s creator, Alan Ball, is helping to develop the stories.
  • IDW will also release another version of their Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer collection — Dave Stevens’ The Rocketeer: Artist Edition. The oversized hardcover will be printed as the same size as Stevens’ original art, approximately 11 by 16 inches. “You’ll be able to see his beautiful blue pencil work, you’ll be able to see the stats, all of it,” Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier said. “It’ll be the closest thing you ever get to Dave Stevens original art.”
  • Judd Winick announced that he is writing a new Barry Ween book. “Thankfully, after, like, an eight-year hiatus, I’m actually – swear to God – I’m actually doing more ‘Barry Ween.’ I’m writing it now,” he said at his spotlight panel. Barry Ween is heading into space in the new story.
  • Image Comics is collecting The Crusades, by Steven T. Seagle and Kelley Jones, into a hardcover. The series was originally published by Vertigo. Seagle is also teaming up with artist Marco Cinello for a children’s book called Frankie Stein.
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WonderCon | HBO website carrying IDW’s just-announced True Blood comic

"True Blood" comics series

IDW's "True Blood" miniseries

Although it’s now been officially announced at WonderCon, news trickled out a little early on the HBO website and on Twitter that IDW Publishing will release a six-issue miniseries based on the hit drama True Blood.

What’s more, the show’s fans may buy the comic through the HBO Shop, which has the July debut issue available for pre-order.

The title is co-plotted by True Blood creator Alan Ball and series writers Elisabeth Finch and Kate Barnow, and written by David Tischman (Bite Club) and IDW Associate Editor Mariah Huehner. It’s illustrated by David Messina (Star Trek: Countdown), with covers by Messina and J. Scott Campbell.

True Blood, which debuted on the cable network in September 2008, is based on the bestselling Southern Vampire Mysteries novels by Charlaine Harris. Set in the fictional small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana, the critically acclaimed drama details the tense co-existence of humans and vampires — and the occasional shapeshifter — focusing primarily on the web of relationships surrounding telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin). In its two seasons, True Blood has become HBO’s most-watched series since The Sopranos.

The IDW miniseries takes place on a hot, rainy night at Merlotte’s bar, where Sookie, Bill, Eric — really, Eric? — Sam, Tara, Jason and Lafayette are trapped by a vengeful spirit that feeds on shame, and forced to dredge up dirty secrets and dark memories from their pasts. I’m just grateful Eggs isn’t involved. (However, a little Lettie Mae wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

The third season of True Blood debuts on June 13.

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