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Comics A.M. | MorrisonCon’s $500 tickets already sold out

Grant Morrison

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]

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Comics A.M. | Industry’s digital inroads; exploiting new comics formats

"Insufferable," by Mark Waid and Peter Krause

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]

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Warren Ellis launches new mailing list, ‘Machine Vision’

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.

This new e-mail newselleter is underwritten by Ellis’ prose publisher Mulholland Books, and can be signed up for at this link.

What Are You Reading? with Ivan Salazar

New York The Big City

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.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Kagan McLeod

Infinite Kung Fu

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.

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What Are You Reading? with Thomas Hall

Milk & Cheese

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.

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Comics A.M. | Angoulême begins; judges come to cartoonist’s rescue

Angoulême

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]

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Food or Comics? | Bulletproof Coffee: Disincaffeinated

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Fantastic Life

Chris Arrant

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.

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Comics A.M. | Creators, publishers speak out against SOPA, PIPA

Neil Gaiman

Internet | Sandman co-creator Neil Gaiman joined with Trent Reznor, Aziz Ansari, OK Go and 14 other members of the creative community in signing an open letter to Congress against the PROTECT IP Act and the Stop Online Piracy Act. “We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services – artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result,” the letter states.

Warren Ellis and Fantagraphics have also come out against the bill, while Peter David, who is against the bill in its current form, takes aim at those who “endorsed the piracy, supported the piracy, enabled the piracy, felt their own actions weren’t piracy, and now refuse to accept the consequences of their own actions.” ComicsAlliance has posted an editorial against the bill and rounded up webcomic reactions to the blackout. [NeilGaiman.com]

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Ryan Bodenheim debuts pages from Warren Ellis collaboration Elektrograd [updated]

Note: We’ve removed the images at the request of Image Comics. In addition, Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson gave us an update on the project:

“It’s a shame these pages were made public. This project isn’t currently on the schedule, and honestly, it may never be on the schedule. Things are announced when they’re announced for a reason, and believe me, if we actually had a new Warren Ellis project ready to go, we would announce it. Right now, these are just some drawings for something that will likely never be,” Stephenson said.

Original post:

First rumored back in August 2011, we now have our first glimpse at Warren Ellis’ next major creator-owned book Elektrograd. Published on artist Ryan Bodenheim’s DeviartArt page, this five pages show … well … see for yourself below.

Bodenheim is best known for his collaboration with Jonathan Hickman on the Image series Red Mass For Mars, who he is re-teaming with in the just-announced mini ongoing The Secret.

According to Rich Johnston, Elektrograd is planned for release by Image, but won’t be “officially” announced until the project is complete. Earlier this year Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso told CBR Ellis was taking a “breather” from the publisher for the year, but this new art lets us know Ellis isn’t stepping away from comics entirely.

Food or Comics? | Ditko Ditali

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.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Shade #4

Chris Arrant

If I had $15 I would be in comics heaven, starting with Shade #4 (DC, $2.99). I’ve loved what Cully Hamner and James Robinson have done so far, but seeing Darwyn Cooke drawing this issue knocks it up to a whole new level. It’s like seeing David Bowie sit in on an up-and-coming band’s gig one night. Next up would be the reunion of Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen in Secret Avengers #21 (Marvel, $3.99). I was halfway hoping they would break from the serious tone of the title and revisit the inanity of Nextwave, but the preview dashes that hope; still, excellent work of two guys at the top of their game. Next up would be Invincible #87 (Image, $2.99), promising an all-new level of beatdown for Mark Grayson. Lastly, I’d get Jason Aaron’s fresh take on Marvel’s mutants with Wolverine and the X-Men #4 (Marvel, $3.99). Part return to basics and part brand-new day, seeing Logan having to be the respectable one and not the plucky wildcard is fun, and the cast Aaron’s assembled is great.

If I had $30, I’d continue reading Aaron with Wolverine #300 (Marvel, $4.99). Jokes about the constant renumbering/reshuffling/rejiggering of Aaron’s run aside, it’s been a swell ride and looks to be heading up to a finale of sorts. Next up would be Batwoman #5 (DC, $2.99). Williams’ art continues to impress, and while the story doesn’t match up to his levels with Rucka on Detective Comics, he and Blackman are striving for something I haven’t been able to fully understand yet. Lastly, I’d pick up Northlanders #47 (DC/Vertigo, $2.99). Artist Declan Shalvey is an inspired get for this series, really showing off what he can do outside Marvel’s Thunderbolts.

If I could splurge, I’d dive into Eric Powell’s adaptation of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (IDW, $19.99). Putting Powell together with Twain isn’t an obvious team-up, but given Powell’s depth of work I’m interested to see how it turns out.

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Quotes of the day | ‘Digital-first’ and the future of comics

Future Comics #2

“This year should be the year where a wide swathe of established comics creators go ‘digital-first’ with a broad variety of projects.  However, that should also have been last year.  Which leads me to wonder whether or not there’s really a taste for it among the creative community.  (Aside from me: but I’m not certain I’d have the time or access to the artists that’d really make it work for me.)  So I’m going to go ahead and say this isn’t going to happen this year, and won’t until it’s really too late – and just hope I’m completely wrong about this one.”

Warren Ellis, making his “non-predictions” for 2012

“I do believe that 2012 will see a direct-to-digital comics series written by me and a trusted collaborator.”

Brian Wood, in apparent response

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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Comics A.M. | Drunken Incredible Hulk arrested for dealing drugs

Drunk Hulk

Crime | A drunken Coventry, England, man was arrested for selling drugs outside a nightclub while dressed as the Incredible Hulk. According to the article, “Police were alerted by his costume which was based on the TV and film character who becomes green and superhuman when angry.” [Coventry Telegraph]

Creators | Dinosaur Comics creator Ryan North discusses his work on BOOM!’s upcoming Adventure Time comic. [ComicsAlliance]

Creators | Colleen Doran posts some character designs she worked up years ago for a never-completed animation project written by Warren Ellis; she admits to using Star Trek actor George Takei as the model for the main character. [A Distant Soil]

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What Are You Reading? with Andy Khouri

Wet Moon

Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.

Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.

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

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