Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
I don’t know who to blame for the current revival of popular interest in fairy tales and fables. It’s probably Shrek that got popular audiences thinking about those stories again, but for me and a lot of other comics fans, it will always be Bill Willingham’s fault. Maybe “fault” isn’t the right word, because though there’s a lot of fairy tale crap coming out (looking at you, Mirror Mirror), discerning audiences can pick through the bad stuff and sample some great adaptations of stories that are the very definition of “timeless.” I’m all for that.
One promising new book is Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales, an anthology by several webcomics creators. Edited by Kel McDonald (Sorcery 101), the 200-page book features stories by McDonald, Kory Bing (Skin Deep), Jose Pimenta (From Scratch), Mary Cagle (Kiwi Blitz), KC Green (Gun Show), Kate Ashwin (Widdershins), Katie and Shaggy Shanahan (Silly Kingdom), and Lin Visel (The Chipperwhale). The stories include familiar favorites like “Puss in Boots” and “Rapunzel” as well as less-known tales like “The Singing Bone” and “Tatterhood.” It was some sample pages by the Shanahans that sold me on it (see a snippet below) and now I’m looking forward to checking out the rest.
Do you enjoy all the recent fairy tale adaptations or are you tired of them? If you’re picking and choosing, which are worthwhile and which need to be hidden beneath a troll-infested bridge?
Retailing | A Sunday deadline passed without additional bidders for the bankrupt Borders Group, leaving a group of liquidators as the only suitor for the second-largest bookstore chain in the United States. However, The Wall Street Journal reports that the bookseller will likely entertain offers right up until Tuesday’s scheduled bankruptcy auction. The newspaper contends Borders was in negotiations late Sunday with Books-A-Million in hopes of striking a deal that would save what remains of the company, which once operated more than 1,000 locations. [The Wall Street Journal]
Conventions | Comic-Con International has released information on prices for the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con. Adult four-day passes will no longer be discounted compared to the prices of single-day badges; an adult four-day pass without the option to attend Preview Night will cost $150, while buying individual adult tickets for each day would cost $143. Adult four-day tickets with Preview Night will cost $175. Per the CCI website, “We hope that this change will encourage people to purchase only the days they will actually be attending, leaving additional badges for others who want to attend Comic-Con.”
Legal | Composer Jack Urbont is suing rapper Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan and Sony Music Entertainment for illegally sampling the theme to the Iron Man animated series from the 1960s. The theme was used on two tracks from the 2000 album Supreme Clientele. Killah, who sometimes goes by the alias Tony Starks, had a song in the 2008 film and appeared in a deleted scene on the DVD. [Rolling Stone]
Digital | In Maps & Legends co-creator Michael Jasper shares a breakdown by percentage of where their sales are coming from, noting almost half of their sales are through Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook Store. [Michael Jasper, via The Beat]
Digital | The Globe and Mail looks at how electronic publishing is changing the way authors tell stories: “The Next Day is a graphic novel about people who have attempted suicide. Once it is posted online in September, you’ll be able to click your way through it according to your own preferences about how it should unfold.” [The Globe and Mail]
Legal | Brent Staples pens an editorial for the New York Times on the legal battle between the Jack Kirby estate and Marvel: “The Marvel editor Stan Lee sometimes offered general ideas for characters, allowing the artists to run with them. Mr. Kirby plotted stories, fleshing out characters that he had dreamed up or that he had fashioned from Mr. Lee’s sometimes vague enunciations. Mr. Lee shaped the stories and supplied his wisecrack-laden dialogue. And in the end, both men could honestly think of themselves as ‘creators.’ But Mr. Kirby, who was known as the King of Comics, was the defining talent and the driving force at the Marvel shop. Mr. Lee’s biographers have noted that the company’s most important creations started out in Mr. Kirby’s hands before being passed on to others, who were then expected to emulate his artistic style.” [New York Times]
Awards | Writer Neil Gaiman (Sandman, The Graveyard Book) and artist Shaun Tan (The Arrival, Tales from Outer Suburbia) are among the winners of the 2011 Locus Awards. Gaiman’s “The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains” won for best novelette, while “The Thing About Cassandra” won best short story. Tan won for best artist. [Locus Online]
Legal | Jeff Trexler reviews the legal battle between Warner Bros. and the heirs of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster through the filter of the Neil Gaiman/Todd McFarlane decision, where a judge ruled Gaiman has copyright interest in Medieval Spawn, Angela and other Spawn characters. [The Beat]
Welcome once again to Shelf Porn, where we feature someone’s comic and toy-filled shelves. Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Jason Horn, creator of the webcomic Ninjasaur, which is about a dinosaur that’s also a ninja.
If you’d like to submit your Shelf Porn, please email some pictures and a write-up describing your shelves to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now let’s hear from Jason …
I know it’s getting kind of late, and if I keep working on this one it won’t even be our anniversary anymore by the time it gets posted … so let’s do it.
Over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them six questions about 2010 and 2011. And boy did we get an awesome response. My thanks to everyone who took time to respond to us today, not only for this feature, but for everything else we’ve posted over the last 16 or so hours.
So check out the responses (and lots of cool artwork) below … this is a mammoth post, and I apologize in advance for any formatting problems or other issues on my end
KURT BUSIEK (Astro City, The Witchlands, Kirby: Genesis)
What were your favorite comics in 2010?
Offhand, I’d say THE 6TH GUN, USAGI YOJIMBO, CAPTAIN AMERICA, THOR THE MIGHTY AVENGER, FABLES and SMILE.
What works or creators got overlooked in 2010 that warrant more attention/praise?
I don’t know what got attention and what didn’t, really. Hope Larson’s MERCURY, I’ll say. Whatever attention it got, it shoulda got more.
What was the biggest news story of 2010, in terms of the comics industry?
Probably the shift toward digital distribution.
What do you hope to see from the industry in 2011?
More good comics!
After running a successful Kickstarter campaign, Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows launched The Devastator earlier this year, a humor anthology that features a mix of prose and comics by a variety of contributors. Each issue focuses on a particular subject; the first issue lampooned cartoons like Fat Albert, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Inspector Gadget, while the second issue will take aim at science fiction when it comes out later this week.
Contributors to the anthology include a mix of humor writers, Hollywood folks and cartoonists — James Urbaniak of The Venture Bros. fame, Masterpiece Comics creator R. Sikoryak, Wondermark creator David Malki!, Antz co-writer Todd Alcott and Metalocalypse‘s Jon Schnepp, among many others. Per their site, “The Devastator publishes quarterly, which naturally means twice a year.”
I met Golden and Meadows at the Alternative Press Expo in October and caught back up with them this week to talk about the anthology.
JK: So to start off, introduce yourselves. What do you do in addition to the anthology?
Geoffrey: I’m Geoffrey Golden, co-founder and editor in chief of The Devastator. In addition, I’m a freelance writer/editor – I’ve written for Cracked, MadAtoms, National Lampoon and recently finished writing an animated movie for Lionsgate and Mondo Media (Happy Tree Friends).
Amanda: I’m Amanda Meadows, co-founder and managing editor of The Devastator. I too am a freelance writer/editor; I’ve written for College Humor, McSweeney’s, and worked at a publishing company for some time.
JK: What made you want to start publishing your own humor publication?
I’ve still got plenty to say about the Alternative Press Expo, which wrapped up today, but for now I thought I’d share a few photos …
Comixology is releasing Carnivale De Robotique by Tony Trov, Johnny Zito and Mark Fidona on their digital application for the iPad, iPhone and the web. Originally a one-shot released during Indy Comic Book Week last December, the story has been expanded to a four-issue series.
Carnivale De Robotique is the story of a rebellious Nanny Droid, Wendy, who runs away to be a ballerina in the robot circus. She ends up in a bit of a love triangle with a clown and the artificial strong man.
“Carnivale De Robotique is a three ringed love triangle that explodes into a universal adventure under the big top. We originally put the one-shot together for Indy Skip Week,” Zito posted on his site. “The characters are so fun that we decided to expand into four issues. It’s about life and love and all the silly junk you have to get over to enjoy it.”
The first issue is available for free right now, and the rest of the series will be available monthly for $.99 each.
Down to the wire here, so let’s do a round-robin of a few more cool items you can get at the San Diego Comic-Con this year …
• Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba are bringing a new limited signed giclée print, which you can see to the right.
• Buenaventura Press is having a going-out-of-business sale at booth #1734. Alvin Buenaventura will be there, selling the last copies he has of Kramers Ergot 7, Boy’s Club by Matt Furie, The Gigantic Robot by Tom Gauld, original art and more.
• Gene Luen Yang has a new T-shirt he’ll be selling at the show.
• Terry Moore is bringing The Complete Paradise TOO — “a 360 page softcover book filled with hundreds and hundreds of my comic strips and cartoons, from high school to SIP to all the Kixie strips and Plato and Lizzie the axe-murderer… all for just $30.”
Carly Monardo is spearheading an art auction to benefit the people and wildlife affected by the Gulf Coast oil spill:
The idea to organize this auction came from my friend Thomas Bayne – the animatic director on Venture Bros. After selling a number of original Venture production drawings to raise money for the Gulf Coast, Tom expanded his efforts and launched an even bigger auction of artwork from a variety of cartoons. I thought it would be great if we got the same thing going for web-comics.
All proceeds from the Web-Comics Auction will be donated to the Colbert Nation Gulf of America Fund, which is being managed by The Baton Rouge Area Foundation. You can read about this charity here.
Creators who contributed art for the auction include David Malki! (above), Kate Beaton, Stephanie McMillan, Phil & Kaja Foglio, Dean Trippe, Jon Rosenberg and many more. Several auctions have gone live, with more coming later this week. You can find the complete list here, and after the jump, check out Dean Trippe’s contribution to it.
Last week Zuda Comics shut down their website and announced they will release content on DC’s new digital platforms. Currently issues of Bayou and High Moon have made the jump to the iPhone, iPad and PSP, with more on the way.
Ron Perazza, vice president of creative services for DC Comics, oversees DC’s online initiatives and has been at the helm of the imprint since it launched in 2007. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about the imprint, its immediate plans and a few of the lessons they’ve learned over the last three years. My thanks to Ron for answering my questions in what is likely a very turbulent time for him.
JK: Last week we saw a transition in what Zuda is, from a free webcomics site to becoming a part of DC’s new digital strategy, meaning people will be paying to download and read the strips (except for the free first issues, of course). What were the reasons for making this transition?
Ron: The reason is pretty simple, actually. As DC Comics moves more aggressively into Digital Publishing they wanted to coordinate their efforts across all imprints. So while the specifics about which title or how many of each issue might differ, the overall plan is the same for the DCU, Vertigo, WildStorm and Zuda.
JK: What were some of the lessons you guys learned over the past three years that maybe helped pave the way for DC’s digital plans?
Ron: I think the most significant lesson was the importance of Digital Publishing and digital content itself. In addition to some really amazing critical successes that clearly resonated with the comic-buying audience, we were putting up some solid metrics month after month. So in a way, ZUDA was sort of like a pioneer project for DC Comics. Exploring. Now it’s time to move in and settle in a more permanent way.
DC Comics sent out a press release today saying that they are shutting down the Zuda Comics website and will offer some of the titles from the imprint on the iPad and the PSP through their recently announced digital initiative. The site is still live as I type this, ironically sporting an ad for the Zuda Comic End of the Road, but the release says it won’t last the day.
(Update: it looks like the site is now being redirected to the Zuda blog).
The move comes a couple of months after Zuda announced they’d be ending their monthly competitions and moving to a different submissions model. Zuda chief Ron Perazza adds a bit more detail at the Zuda blog (which will live on):
Hark! A Vagrant creator Kate Beaton provides the poster for the new Janus Films Charlie Chaplin series, which is on a tour that kicked off in Los Angeles earlier his month.
“She did an amazing job capturing the classic icon of the Little Tramp but treating it in a new way,” writes graphic designer Eric Skillman with Janus Films. “We wanted to remind people that these aren’t just stuffy classics to be studied, they’re honest-to-god funny films to be ENJOYED. (Something that even some of us at the office had forgotten until we started watching them again recently.) And I think Kate captured that spirit perfectly.”
HeroesCon is just getting under way at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC. Here’s a sample of what you have to look forward to if you are going—and what you will miss if you’re not.
Chris Schweizer, creator of Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March, will be there, and he’ll have some sweet art to sell.
Jeff Parker has created a handy map to make it easier for fans to find him.
Raina Telgemeier will be in Indie Island, and you can also spot her on the panels on Comics as Career and Autobio Comics.