"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Legal | The Japanese magazine Monthly Big Gangan has put the series Hi Score Girl on hold following allegations by the game company SNK Playmore that the manga is using its characters without authorization. The publisher, Square Enix, already recalled the five volumes of the series published so far and stopped releasing the manga digitally. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver talk about bringing Wonder Woman to Gotham City in their two-part story for DC Comics’ new digital first anthology Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. [Hero Complex]
Creators | Sonny Liew, creator of Malinky Robot and the artist of The Shadow Hero (written by Gene Luen Yang) was born in Malaysia, went to school in Singapore, then went to college in the United Kingdom and art school in the United States on his way to becoming a comics creator. There wasn’t much of a homegrown comics scene when Liew was growing up, so he read mostly imports, but that’s changing, and his newest project is an anthology featuring creators from the region. [The Malay Mail]
Publishing | I talked with TOON Books founder Francoise Mouly about her new imprint, TOON Graphics, which will feature “visual books” (picture books and comics) for readers ages 8 and up. The line launches with three titles: Theseus and the Minotaur, by Yves Pommaux, Cast Away on the Letter A, by Fred, and Hansel and Gretel, retold by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. [Publishers Weekly]
Commentary | Former DC Comics senior editor Joan Hilty tackles the issue of sexism in comics and calls for publishers to include more women in their senior editorial rank:. “Women are getting the bestselling books into stores and greenlighting the million-dollar movie franchises, but they’re barely represented among the creative executives who map out the universes and storytelling strategies. That’s where you cement broad-based, long-term loyalty to authors and characters, tap new audiences and trends, and grow readership, without which none of those books or movies would exist.” [The Guardian]
Emerald City Comicon may not come with the metric ton of announcements that Comic-Con International does, but in a way it’s all the better for it. Comics still feel as if they’re front and center just where I like them, and the announcements have more charm because they aren’t screaming to be heard over the din of film and television rollouts.
One year, I’ll get up to Seattle to experience the event firsthand, but in the meantime, I get to absorb all the news and photos like everyone else, as they’re posted online. ECCC even streamed all of its panels on flipon.tv. Anything that happened in Room 301 is free for anyone to watch. Everything else can be purchased with a full archive pass for $14.95. Or if, you don’t want to sit through hours of panel footage, there’s CBR’s coverage or, heck, try Google or something.
A number of announcements jumped out as particularly noteworthy, so let’s run through The 6 Best Things from ECCC. And from my count, Dark Horse won Emerald City. Your miles may vary though, so post your favorites in the comments.
At this weekend’s Emerald City Comicon, Dark Horse announced two collections featuring early ElfQuest material by Wendy and Richard Pini.
In August, fans can expect The Complete ElfQuest Volume 1: The Original Quest, a 720-page, black-and-white collection of “what is now known as The Original Quest.” It will include a gallery of concept art, pinups and covers, as well as commentary from the Pinis.
Then October brings ElfQuest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition. In what sounds like something akin to IDW’s Artists Edition series, it will collect Wendy Pini’s original artwork from the first five issues of “The Original Quest.” According to the press release, “Each page is carefully scanned from Wendy Pini’s original art to capture every stroke and detail. At 12 1/8″ by 17″, it’s as close to holding Pini’s original art as a fan can get.”
The Complete ElfQuest Volume 1: The Original Quest goes on sale Aug. 6. ElfQuest: The Original Quest Gallery Edition will arrive in comic shops Oct. 8 and bookstores Oct. 21.
Conventions are always a great place to see creators and celebrities, but it’s rare that you’re given the opportunity to meet a Muppet. At New York Comic Con, Cookie Monster — and his “assistant” David Rudman — will appear Saturday from 11 a.m. until noon and from 2 p.m. until 3 p.m. at the WeLoveFine booth (#1836), where you can also buy an exclusive NYCC steampunk Cookie Monster shirt.
Cookie Monster isn’t the only special guest appearing at their booth:
Dark Horse Comics announced at C2E2 this weekend that they’ve reached an agreement with creators Richard and Wendy Pini to bring the long-running cult hit Elfquest back to the printed page. The first release arrives in the fall and will be the prologue to Elfquest: The Final Quest, which is currently being serialized on BoingBoing. Following that, Dark Horse will release The Final Quest alongside all-new editions of previously published material.
“Dark Horse is a company I’ve admired ever since it sprang on the scene in the 1980s. Somehow, as large as they’ve grown, they’ve retained an independent spirit that Richard and I totally identify with. The quality of their offerings is legendary and I’m extremely happy that Elfquest is part of their lineup,” Wendy Pini said in a press release.
Thirty-five years after Elfquest was introduced, helping to usher in the black-and-white comics boom, Wendy and Richard Pini’s epic fantasy adventure will makes it online debut with a new story serialized on Boing Boing.
Called Elfquest: The Final Quest, the new tale begins Monday, with a new page appearing weekly. It marks the popular website’s first foray into comics.
“Wendy and I never set out, thirty-five years ago, to take the indie comics world by storm,” Richard Pini said in a statement. “But there the history is, in the sales and — more importantly — in the fandom that’s stayed with us. Now we get to relive those scary, heady days once again as Elfquest makes its online debut to fans old and new.”
Debuting in 1978, Elfquest follows the Wolfriders, a tribe of feral elves in search of a new refuge and of their cosmic origins. Along the way they come into conflict with humans and trolls, and encounter other elf tribes like the Sun Folk and the Gliders. Over the decades, the series has gained a devoted following, and boasts a large female audience.
“Elfquest‘s World of Two Moons—its landscapes, inhabitants, dangers—is familiar yet always unpredictable territory,” Wendy Pini said. “After five years’ hiatus, I’ve come home to the Holt and to my main characters, Cutter and the Wolfriders, only to wreak storytelling havoc on them as never before. In Elfquest: The Final Quest sturdy, stable characters will react in totally unexpected ways as they face devastating, unavoidable change. I’m scared and exhilarated by what’s going to happen!”
The entire 6,000-page story to date can be read on the Elfquest website.
As the comics community continues to process the news of Joe Kubert’s death, everything else feels very secondary. One way of honoring the legendary artist and teacher is by appreciating his art, and the art of his peers. Steve Niles discovered this series of art jams featuring a Kubert Hawkman alongside Wendy Pini’s Elfquest characters, Neal Adams’ Conan, Dave Cockrum’s Human Torch, and others. The rest of the jams include characters drawn by C.C. Beck, John Romita, John Byrne, George Perez, Gray Morrow, Dave Sim, Jack Kirby, Jim Steranko, Curt Swan, Jim Aparo, Milton Caniff, Hal Foster, Al Williamson, Chester Gould, and the list goes on and on.
I don’t know the history behind these pieces, but it occurs to me that many of these comics legends are still with us. In addition to saying our good-byes to Mr. Kubert and offering appreciations of his work, another great way to honor his legacy might be to reach out and express similar appreciation to living creators whose work we love.
Now available On Demand, the documentary Comic Book Independents by director Chris Brandt receives wider distribution at an interesting time. In the midst of a migration of comic book creators from work-for-hire to creator-owned projects, and just as a renewed discussion about creator rights gains momentum, this documentary offers fascinating insight on what it means to go it alone in comics.
It’s not your usual comics documentary, and if you’re a creative type yourself, or are interested by those who are, you’ll probably find yourself inspired. Framed by information from cognitive psychologist Dr. James Kaufman, the human process of creativity as it is realized in comics is broken down and explored by some of the art form’s most interesting thinkers and voices.
Legal | The Lithuanian publisher of The Simpsons comic has been fined for breaching laws banning the advertising of alcohol with its depiction of Duff Beer, the fictional brand consumed by Homer and other residents of Springfield.
Although Simpsons creator Matt Groening has never licensed the Duff trademark out of concern that it might encourage children to drink, companies in several countries have released beer using the Duff name (Fox and Groening sued an Australian brewery for doing so in 1995, forcing the product to be pulled from shelves and destroyed). The existence of unlicensed Duff beers apparently was enough for a government watchdog, who handed down the more than $4,000 fine. The publisher said it has stopped publication of The Simpsons while it tries to address the Duff matter — a major issue, considering that Bongo Comics reportedly doesn’t permit content changes to licensed titles. [The Australian]