Legal | DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer, who hasn’t been associated with the show since 2000, has been brought back to the Gwinnett County Jail and booked on child molestation charges that date back to August 2000. The 51-year-old Kramer was released on bond after his initial arrest following accusations that he sexually abused three boys, and has avoided jail and court for more than a decade because of his health problems, although he was under house arrest for a while. He was arrested again in Connecticut in 2011 for violating the conditions of his bond after he was allegedly found alone in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. Atlanta Magazine ran a lengthy expose on Kramer last year. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Warren Ellis debuted his second prose novel, Gun Machine, earlier this month, but many of his longtime fans have been eagerly awaiting his next comics work. After all, it’s been a little while. “I’m not even sure I wrote any comics in 2012,” he told ROBOT 6 at the beginning of the new year. “A couple of issues of Secret Avengers, maybe?” Well, the wait is almost over.
This morning on his blog, the writer teased the above image for Scatterlands, his collaboration with Super Dinosaur artist Jason Howard, arriving in “late February.” No additional information was provided, but as there was no publisher mentioned and no lead time for a Diamond solicitation, we can probably presume Scatterlands is a webcomic. Here’s hoping more details will follow soon …
Publishing | The Amazing Spider-Man #700 led the pack in the December comics numbers with 200,000 copies selling to comics shops, and with a cover price if $7.99, it racked up a cool $1.6 million in sales. Avengers #1 sold 186,000 copies but at a more reasonable price, so the dollars didn’t pile up as high for that one. ICv2 also has the December charts for the Top 300 comics and graphic novels in the direct market. John Jackson Miller takes it to the next level with sales estimates for the top 1,000 comics and trades of 2012. [ICv2]
Publishing | At the other end of the scale, Rob Clough talks to Chuck Forsman, the guy behind micropublisher Oily Comics. [The Comics Journal]
One of the strongest voices in comics over the past 20 years has been Warren Ellis, a write whose impressive body of work ranges from Next Wave: Agents of H.A.T.E. and Transmetropolitan to Global Frequency and Planetary to Fell and FreakAngels. In 2012, however, that voice was largely absent from the medium. For the past few years, Ellis has split his time at his time between writing comics and, increasingly, prose novels such as 2008′s Crooked Little Vein and commentating on society and culture for magazines like Wired and Vice. On Tuesday, Ellis’ second prose novel Gun Machine was released by Mulholland Books, combining his fascination with the layered history of cities with crime noir. I reached out to Warren on Tuesday and we corresponded by email to discuss the future of his career, of comics, and his place in it all.
To see what Ales and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Artist Molly Crabapple was among the more than 100 people arrested this morning in New York City during protests marking the one-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. She documented her arrest of Twitter, where the hashtag freemollycrabapple quickly appeared.
“Can’t wait to draw this,” Crabapple tweeted, followed shortly by, “Everyone in this police van is wicked smart and funny except for the driver.”
Neil Gaiman dubbed her police-van tweeting “Art arrest,” while Warren Ellis observed, “Somewhere in NYC, a cop is listening to an angry short artist in heels spewing obscenities in four different languages.” Ellis went into a little more detail on his website, noting, “apparently they don’t take your phones off you when you’re arrested, now?”
Warren Ellis is calling for submissions for a feature on his blog called Three Panels Open. There are only two rules: 1) It has to be three, not-previously-published panels; and 2) it has to be legible at a width of 640 pixels. Panels can be side-by-side, like the PJ Holden example above, or stacked on top of each other.
It’s an ongoing feature, so there’s no deadline, but Ellis will only be running his favorites. He’ll also include links to other work by the contributors, so it’s a great opportunity for under-appreciated comics-makers to reach a wider audience. It’s also going to be fantastic for comics readers who enjoy short, outstanding work.
(via The Comics Reporter)
Conventions | Despite the $500-plus price tag, the least-expensive tickets for MorrisonCon, the Grant Morrison-focused convention being held in September in Las Vegas, are already sold out. Remaining tickets cost between $699 and $1,099. Morrison says the high-priced event combines “visionary ideas, occult ritual, music and spoken word performances, art workshops, experimental films, DJ sets and in-depth discussions inspired by the comics.” [Hero Complex]
Publishing | Industry veteran Jim “Ski” Sokolowski, who was let go in October as Marvel’s chief operating officer ahead of a round of layoffs, has been hired by Archie Comics as senior vice president-sales and business development. The publisher also promoted Harold Buchholz from executive director of publishing and operations to senior vice president-publishing and operations, Paul Kaminski from editor to executive director of editorial, and Alex Segura from executive director of publicity and marketing to vice president-publicity and marketing. [Archie Comics]
Digital comics | George Gene Gustines takes a quick trip through the landscape of digital comics, dropping in on Mark Waid, comiXology’s David Steinberger and Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men Infinite Comic. Much of this is familiar territory to regular readers of this blog, but hey, it’s The New York Times noticing digital comics! [The New York Times]
Digital comics | FreakAngels writer Warren Ellis looks at three recent digital comics, noting how they all limit themselves to “two-tier storytelling”: “Accepting and exploiting new limitations is always part of a new format. These three projects, though, can’t produce even a full-page spread without some serious scheming and dancing.” [Warren Ellis]
An email newsletter might seem old-fashioned in the era of social networking, but all it takes is someone with the right approach to show you how potent it can be. This week, writer Warren Ellis announced he is launching a new email newsletter titled Machine Vision to give people a look inside his head and his upcoming work. In recent years Ellis has scaled back his mainstream comics work in favor of creator-owned comics, prose novels, outside media projects and the occasional guest-stint on various books. With 2012 shaping up to be a big year for Ellis with his second prose novel Gun Machine coming out as well as the return of the comic series Fell, this new email newsletter looks to be leading the way.
Ellis has a long history of using online resources for promotion and direct interaction with readers. Originally intended to replace the need to attend conventions, Ellis’ online efforts created the template for how comic creators handle themselves online. In addition to email newsletters, Ellis has hosted a number of active forums over the years and has written about comics and writing prolifically in a series of columns for The Pulse, Bleeding Cool, Art Bomb, Reuters, Wired and even CBR. Over the years, both Avatar Press and AiT/PlanetLar have collected a number of his musings on comics in several trade paperbacks that are highly recommended.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Ivan Salazar, public relations and marketing manager for Studio 407.
To see what Ivan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading (and playing), click below.
I’ll be the first to admit I am covering Kagan McLeod‘s Infinite Kung Fu a tad bit later than most, considering it was released in the middle of last year, and already included in numerous best of lists for 2011 (including our anniversary edition of What Are You Reading). But considering that the 464-page action/adventure romp took 10 years to complete, I think McLeod demands some coverage longer than the average book release. To get an idea of the scale and ambition of the story, his publisher, Top Shelf, was kind enough to offer sample pages of the book over at Top Shelf 2.0. McLeod is a unique creator, and his work is worth considering from several different angles. So once you’re done with this interview, please be sure to check out his own website, as well as Alex Deuben’s June 2011 CBR interview with McLeod. Back to this interview, though, his final answer requests audience participation, so please be sure to contribute in the comments section.
Tim O’Shea: The Toronto launch party for your book was a mixture of book discussion and music. Did you listen to music while you work, or is that too distracting for you?
Kagan McLeod: No, I always listen to music or audiobooks while working. Not during planning stages, but after I know what I have to do, I can just sail through it while listening to something. It’s the constant urge to check emails which is distracting.
Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where we share what comics, books and other good stuff we’ve been checking out lately. This week our special guest is Thomas Hall, writer of the science fiction/fantasy comic Robot 13.
To see what Thomas and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Conventions | Wim Lockefeer lines up the exhibits he’s looking forward to at the 39th Angoulême International Comics Festival, which begins today in Angoulême, France. [The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log]
Legal | Cartoonist Albert Lekgaba was sketching the proceedings of the Botswana Court of Appeal when security officers asked to step out of the courtroom, confiscated his work, and told him he could not draw in court, “especially if the judges were present.” When the judges learned of this, however, they informed the court registrar that sketching is indeed allowed, and they ordered that Lekgaba be readmitted to the courtroom and his sketches returned to him. [The Botswana Gazette]
Passings | California newspaper cartoonist John Lara has died at age 56. [Coastline Pilot]
Creators | Heidi MacDonald sums up a number of recent posts on piracy and the creative life in one mega-post, and a lively discussion follows in the comments section. [The Beat]
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 try something new first with the Xeric-winning Fantastic Life GN (Big If, $9.95) by Kevin Mutch. I’ll always give Xeric winners a second look, and this looks built for me: slackers, punk rock, zombies. Next up I’d get the ongoing adventures of Butcher Baker – the Image one – with Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #8 ($2.99). I’ll admit that the series went off a little bit around #5, but I’m still holding on for hopes it’ll right itself or I’ll figure out what I’d been missing. Lastly, I’d get Secret Avengers #21.1 (Marvel, $2.99). Seriously, is Rick Remender becoming the writer of all-things secret in the Marvel U? I’m not complaining though, as he’s bringing his Uncanny X-Force mojo and, from what it looks like, a lot of new cast members.
If I had $30, I’d get my usual pull of The Walking Dead #93 (Image, $2.99) and a Hickman two-fer, Fantastic Four #602 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #14 (Marvel, $2.99). If you would have told me two years ago I’d be seeing two Fantastic Four titles (and two I’d be reading, no less) I would have been gobsmacked. Hickman does it again. And that’s it.
What, you say I didn’t spend my full $30? It’s a light week for me, so I’d spending the remaining on bags and boards or, *gasp*, food as it says in the title. Tijuana Flats, Taco Tuesday, be there.
Coming back if I could splurge, and I’d put down my tacos and pick up the ADD HC (Vertigo, $24.99) by Douglas Rushkoff, Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan Jr. From the outside it looks like The Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game, and Rushkoff looks to be just the one to make that mash-up more than, well, a mash-up.