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Comics A.M. | 30 years of Diamond; Angoulême memories

Diamond Comic Distributors

Publishing | John Jackson Miller profiles Diamond Comic Distributors to mark its 30th anniversary, offering a timeline of major events in the company’s history. [Comichron]

Conventions | Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai and AdHouse Publisher Chris Pitzer both report on their experiences at the Angoulême International Comics Festival. [Angoulême]

Retailing | Dark Horse Publisher Mike Richardson will give the keynote address at this week’s ComicsPRO Annual Membership Meeting. [NewsOK]

Retailing | Hypno Comics will open Saturday in Ventura, California. [Ventura County Star]

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What Are You Reading? with Comic Book Resources

Officer Downe

Hello and welcome to a special birthday bash edition of our weekly “What Are You Reading” feature. Typically the Robot 6 crew talks about what books we’ve read recently, but since it’s our anniversary, we thought we’d invite all our friends and colleagues from Comic Book Resources and Comics Should Be Good! to join in the fun.

To see what everyone has been reading, click below …

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Grumpy Old Fan | Already? DC Solicits for January 2012

"I throw him a growl I've brought all the way from Africa"

I was going to open with some snotty Wow, the holidays went by super-quickly! comment, but then I read the first issue of Justice League in seven weeks. Sometimes DC gets ahead of itself; sometimes it’s a little behind.  Happens to the best of us — sometimes you do two solicitation roundups in three weeks….

Anyway, with the January solicitations, the New-52 books each turn five issues old. Series wrapping up their first arcs this month include Blackhawks, Batwoman, Animal Man, and the Deadman feature in DC Universe Presents.  (Not to worry about the latter, because there is a lot of Deadman in these solicits.)  I’m not sure why five issues is such a wonky number for story arcs — there are five-issue miniseries all the time and they collect just fine. Still, I expected most of the New-52 books to take six issues for their introductory stories, and most of them may yet do that. Only a few books look to finish their first arcs after December’s issue #4s (Hawkman and Frankenstein, probably OMAC, maybe Batgirl), and those plus this month’s are barely an eighth of the relaunched line. It makes next month’s solicits more intriguing, I suppose.

Regardless, we live in the now (as it were…) so — onward to January!
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DC editor Chris Conroy takes to Twitter with art, news and more

Demon Knights #4

DC editor Chris Conroy took over DC’s Twitter feed today, and he’s been sharing concept art, pages and tidbits about some of his books all day. Conroy edits Superboy, Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Legion of Super-Heroes and Demon Knights, and here are a few of the tidbits he’s shared:

–Mike Choi will draw Demon Knights #4 (that’s his cover at the top of the post).
–Walt Simonson will draw Legion of Super-Heroes #5.
–The red-head in Superboy #1 is who most people seem to think it is.
–Cliff Chiang’s original artwork from Wonder Woman will be on display at Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn beginning Sept. 24.
–Jeff Lemire and Scott Snyder have “big plans” for when Animal Man and Swamp Thing meet up.

And after the jump you’ll find a whole bunch of art, which I’ll update if he posts more.

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What Are You Reading? with Bully, the little stuffed bull

Bully enjoys Astronaut Academy

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week it is our distinct pleasure to welcome our very  special guest Bully, the little stuffed bull, who blogs about all sorts of comics with the help of his friend, John DiBello.

To see what Bully and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click on the link below.

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What Are You Reading? with Von Allan

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Von Allan, creator of the self-published graphic novel series Stargazer. The first volume is still available, while the second one is due in shops in October.

To see what Von and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | Flashpoint gets real? 31,000 flock to Otakon

from Flashpoint #4

Publishing | Popular comic-book guest star President Barack Obama will make a brief appearance in this week’s Flashpoint #4. DC Comics Executive Editor Eddie Berganza told USA Today that the inclusion of the actual President, rather than a fictional counterpart, signals that the danger is real — something that will get pushed as the publisher prepares for the September relaunch. [USA Today]

Publishing | Fantagraphics announced the lineup for the first volume of its EC archives series, which will collect Harvey Kurtzman’s war stories. [Fantagraphics blog]

Conventions | More than 31,000 anime and manga enthusiasts flocked to Baltimore over the weekend for Otakon, one of the biggest fan-oriented anime conventions. There were a few anime and manga licenses announced, but mainly it was a meet-and-greet for fans and publishers. [Anime News Network]

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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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SDCC Wishlist | Cliff Chiang’s Epic Proportions shirt

by Cliff Chiang

I already have one Cliff Chiang shirt in my wardrobe, and hopefully come San Diego I’ll have another — the above shirt from Epic Proportions, a Comic-Con exclusive. EP has a whole line of signature tees by artists like Walt Simonson and Geof Darrow, so hopefully this will just be the first of many from Chiang.

For more on the shirt and Chiang’s upcoming run on Wonder Woman, head over to PopCultureShock for an interview.

Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition available for preorder

Walt Simonson's The Mighty Thor Artist's Edition

IDW Publishing announced this week that Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition is now available for pre-order from their site. And if you’re attending the San Diego Comic Con this year, not only can you elect to pick up your copy at the show, but you can also choose a limited edition version with the above variant cover.

“I wrote and drew The Mighty Thor for Marvel more 25 years ago now, at a time when it was the fate of old comics to be deployed to the back issue bins in comic shops and at conventions. No one had any expectations of reprints or trade collections. Now, it’s a new day,” said Simonson. “I’m pleased that IDW and Marvel have seen fit to go back and revisit this work as they have. I couldn’t be more delighted to know Thor, Beta Ray Bill, and all their friends turned out to have a much longer shelf-life than I would ever have imagined.”

Announced earlier this year at WonderCon, Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition collects seven issues of the creator’s run on the title — Thor #337-340, which saw the debut of Beta Ray Bill, as well as Thor #360-363, which featured Thor battling Hela and the death of the Executioner. Each page is shot from Simonson’s original art and was scanned in color to mimic as closely as possible the experience of viewing the actual original art—so you’ll be able to see white-out corrections and blue pencil notations.

You can order the regular edition here and the variant cover edition, which is only available if you can pick it up in San Diego, here. Both editions cost $100. Simonson and his wife, comics writer Louise Simonson, will be at the IDW booth at the show.

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Hellboy

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy on Wednesday 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 what we call our “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

If I had $15:

I’d get Hellboy: Buster Oakley Gets His Wish ($3.50) to see Hellboy fight some giant robots in space, Salt Water Taffy, Volume 4: Caldera’s Revenge ($5.99) to see Jack and Benny sign aboard a spooky ship in search of a Moby Dick-like whale, and Sweets #5 (2.99) to see Kody Chamberlain wrap up his delicious New Orleans murder mystery.

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WonderCon | IDW to publish … Thor?

Thor #337

I promise this isn’t my last-minute attempt at an April Fool’s joke. IDW announced today that they will publish Walter Simonson’s The Mighty Thor: Artist’s Edition, the first in a series of Artist’s Editions featuring comics form Marvel.

The oversized hardcover collection will include Thor #337-340, Simonson’s classic arc that saw the debut of Beta Ray Bill, as well as Thor #360-363, which saw Thor battle Hela and the death of the Executioner. The book will debut at the San Diego Comic Con this July.

“I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be able to do a book like this,” said IDW Special Projects Editor Scott Dunbier. “Each page is shot from Walter Simonson’s original art and printed same size—really just too cool. Thanks to Marvel Entertainment for being so enthusiastic about this project from the start!”

You can find the entire press release after the jump.

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Walt Simonson covers the Avengers for Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative’s latest “100 Covers” promotion focuses on the Avengers, and former Avengers scribe Walt Simonson has contributed a jam piece that mashes together the original Avengers with the crew he wrote circa issue #300 in the late 1980s. Most of these guys should look familiar to most comic fans, but the guy dressed like a minotaur is the Eternal known as The Forgotten One.

You can check out covers by John Romita, Whilce Portacio, Adam Kubert, Alan Davis and many, many more on the Hero Initiative website.

Perez, Simonson supply DC 75th anniversary variant covers

DC rolled out two more variant covers this week, as artists continue to provide their renditions of classic DC covers. Ironically, the two artists featured here are responsible for a good number of classic covers themselves.

First up, here’s Walt Simonson’s version of Jerry Robinson’s Detective Comics #69 cover, which will be a variant cover for Detective #866:

Detective Comics #866

Detective Comics #866

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