Legal | Todd McFarlane Productions has emerged from bankruptcy after more than seven years, having paid more than $2.2 million to creditors, according to court documents dug up by Daniel Best. Of that, $1.1 million was part of McFarlane’s settlement with Neil Gaiman, which brought to a close the decade-long legal battle over the rights to Medieval Spawn, the heavenly warrior Angela and other characters (it’s unknown how much of that disbursement was eaten up by legal fees and how much actually went to Gaiman; the writer has publicly stated he gives money won in the proceedings to charity). Todd McFarlane Productions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2004 following the $15 million court award to former NHL player Tony Twist, who sued over the use of his name in Spawn for the mob enforcer Antonio “Tony Twist” Twistelli. McFarlane and Twist settled in 2007 for $5 million. [20th Century Danny Boy]
During an exclusive interview with CBR TV at WonderCon in Anaheim, bestselling author Joe Hill revealed that he’s working with his Locke & Key collaborator Gabriel Rodriguez on a “established superhero title” for DC Comics or Marvel. While he’s best known for comic creations that don’t wear a cape or cowl, Hill is no stranger to superheroes: He’s producing The Cape for IDW Publishing, and he made his comics debut in 2005 in Marvel’s Spider-Man Unlimited #8. Although news of what character (or characters), what universe, or even what format their superhero story will be, we have a few suggestions:
“My dad did his script for American Vampire, and he showed it to me, and I didn’t have a lot to tell him, but the one thing I did have to say was, ‘Dad, they don’t use thought balloons any more.’ And he was shocked, he was scandalized, he couldn’t understand why you don’t use thought balloons. And I’m like, ‘I don’t know, it just doesn’t look cool any more.’ [...] But I don’t know, maybe it’s time for thought balloons to come back. If surf rock can rise again, surely there’s room for thought balloons. [...] The problem is thought balloons have always been used expositionally. It’s always like, ‘My God, if I don’t turn off the tractor beam, the alien Zurg …’ or whatever it is, and it’s just like, ‘Uh, no one thinks this.’ If the thought balloons were like, Reed Richards, like, looking at Dark Phoenix and she’s in the Dark Phoenix thong or whatever and the thought balloon was like, ‘Man, I’d like to do her,’ that would be fresh.”
– Locke & Key writer Joe Hill, bestselling author and son of Stephen King,
talking with CBR TV at WonderCon about, well, thought balloons
Conventions | WonderCon was held in Anaheim, California, this year because the traditional venue, San Francisco’s Moscone Center, was closed for renovations. Heidi MacDonald wonders whether the shift will be permanent, and a lively debate ensues in comments. SFBay, meanwhile, informally surveyed exhibitors, and found many retailers saw a steep drop in sales from last year, while many artists saw an increase in revenue. [The Beat]
Retailing | ICv2 sees an uptick in manga sales in comics stores and speculates that the Borders bankruptcy has led readers to a variety of different channels, including the direct market, which could be an opportunity for comics stores to expand their customer base. [ICv2]
Digital comics | Digital distributor comiXology will offer HD versions of all its comics for readers who use the new third-generation iPad, and Jason Snell says the new retina display and the HD comics make for a much better reading experience. [Macworld UK]
• Marvel announced that Wolverine & the X-Men: Alpha & Omega, The Massive and Conan the Barbarian writer Brian Wood will take over writing both X-Men and Ultimate X-Men. About the latter, he told CBR, “I can bring something to the table here, a certain POV that I think will work really well. At its core it’s still the same mutant/human conflict, but the stakes are incredibly high and with the Ultimate line having more leeway than 616, you can really push it to the edge, and over the edge. With my stories, I’m looking forward to having them push back against this repression in a major way — not just in one-on-one cases but as a collective whole, a unified mutant push for freedom, for safety, for basic human rights. For the right to be a mutant and live free. What’s happening to them now is essentially a genocide, an ethnic cleansing.”
• Marvel also announced a new Dark Avengers series by Jeff Parker, Kev Walker and Declan Shalvey that replaces Thunderbolts. The book will feature Dark Scarlet Witch, Dark Spider-Man, Trickshot, Ragnarok and Skaar, along with Luke Cage.
Following Saturday’s announcement at WonderCon in Anaheim, California, that Carol Danvers will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy, Jamie McKelvie has offered a little insight into his design for the character’s new costume, writing, “Our idea was to give her a kind of swash-buckling costume that invoked a sense of her history as an Air Force officer. Her hair is slicked back at the sides when in costume — so her Kree-style helmet can form when she needs it.”
Check out McKelvie’s character design below, and be sure to read DeConnick’s interview with Comic Book Resources about the new title.
The second day of WonderCon in Anaheim, California, featured announcements ranging from Marvel’s new Captain Marvel series to Dark Horse’s new motion-comics venture to IDW Publishing’s Womanthology miniseries:
• In his “Talk to the Hat” panel, Marvel’s Senior Vice President of Publishing Tom Brevoort revealed that Carol Danvers, long known as Ms. Marvel, will become Captain Marvel in a series by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Dexter Soy. He also announced that, spinning out of his Astonishing X-Men run, Greg Pak will team with Stephen Segovia for X-Treme X-Men, which includes Dazzler in its lineup. “You have no idea how hard I’ve fallen for this woman,” Pak told Newsarama. “She’s so much fun to write — she’s funny and real and wry; she’s a survivor who’s seen it all and lived to tell the tale; and she will save your life with rock and roll.”
• Dark Horse will bring motion comics featuring such characters as Hellboy, Conan, Usagi Yojimbo and the Umbrella Academy to Felicia Day’s new YouTube Channel Geek & Sundry, beginning April 2.
• IDW Publishing will follow Womanthology: Heroic, the Kickstarter-funded graphic novel anthology showcase for female creators, with a five-issue miniseries titled Womanthology: Space.
Just as they promised, Marvel announced the return of X-Treme X-Men at Wondercon today. But if you were looking forward to the return of Slipstream, Lifeguard or any of the other characters who starred in the series that ran from 2001 to 2004, you might be a tad disappointed. However, if you were an Exiles fan, like myself, you’ll probably be pretty happy.
Announced during Marvel Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort’s Talk to the Hat panel at WonderCon, X-Treme X-Men will spin out of Greg Pak’s recent run on Astonishing X-Men and will feature some of the alternate reality X-Men he introduced. The art for the series is by Steve Segovia.
“Dazzler is the Marvel Universe character in it,” said Marvel’s Arune Singh. “There is a threat in existence but they have to stop a threat to reality. It’s Greg and that crazy ‘Planet Hulk’ mind of his. If you liked Exiles, you’ll like this.”
Exiles ran for 100 issues and featured the work of Judd Winick, Mike McKone, Chuck Austen, Jim Calafiore, Tony Bedard and several others, but it’s those first issues written by Winick that were really great. The team included alternate reality versions of various X-characters over the course of its run, like the Age of Apocalypse Blink and Sabretooth; Nocturne, the daughter of Nightcrawler and Scarlet Witch; a female Sunfire and the shape-changing Morph. It remains to be seen how this series will be set up, but if Pak can capture the fun of those early Exiles issues, I’m on board.
WonderCon opened its doors Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center, a first for the convention as it moves south from its usual San Francisco home this year. Will it be a permanent move? The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald, who is at the show, has some thoughts on why that may not be a bad idea.
Here’s a round-up of news from yesterday at the show:
• Daredevil and Irredeemable writer Mark Waid announced several digital comics plans, beginning with a PDF comic available now on his website. The zombie comic, called Luther, is drawn by Jeremy Rock. It will be followed in May by a digital comics imprint. “In May, I’m rolling out a digital comics website where material will be going up in weekly or twice-weekly installments. But before that, on April 2, MarkWaid.com goes live again as a process blog for webcomics and what we’re doing. All throughout April, we’ll be giving sample material away for free, showing what the format can do, and I’ll be doing interviews with pioneers in this field. My own artists will also be there to talk about the projects we’re doing and how we’ll be building them.” Waid was also on hand for the Marvel House of Ideas panel, which went into detail on their recently announced digital and augmented reality plans.
At WonderCon today Marvel officially announced Space: Punisher, a miniseries that takes Frank Castle off world to “a larger universe that doesn’t need justice…it needs PUNISHMENT.” The comic imagines the Marvel Universe as a galactic crime saga with “wild twists on classic characters,” like a giant Hulk who’s the “Moby Dick of Space.” This sounds like fun; when I first saw the cover I was afraid it was headed into a similar bad idea territory as the “Avenging Angel Punisher” comics from 12 years ago, but the fact that this is out of continuity is a plus. And maybe he’ll get to shoot Greedo while he’s up there.
The four-issue miniseries, which kicks off in July, is written by Frank Tieri with art by Mark Texeira. This isn’t either creator’s first dance with Castle, as Tieri worked on Punisher Noir and Texeira drew issues of Punisher and Punisher War Journal back in the 1990s.
Writer Mark Waid and artist Chis Samnee will team up for a four-issue Rocketeer adventure from IDW Publishing that finds Dave Stevens’ classic hero Cliff Secord drawn into action when a ship arrives in Los Angeles with a mysterious cargo.
“As the Rocketeer, Cliff’s dealing with two arch-nemeses set to strike the West Coast with a cargo of terror they’ve crated in from a place quite familiar to movie historians,” Waid tells Newsarama. “While this is going on, Cliff has another set of problems to deal with. The end of the 1930s saw the beginnings of the Federal Aviation Administration and the start of a great deal more regulation of free-wheeling airmen like Cliff–who, if he doesn’t learn to control his temper, may find himself permanently grounded in red tape.”
Check back with Comic Book Resources and Robot 6 throughout the weekend for more details on this project and other announcements from WonderCon.
If you’re attending WonderCon this weekend, stop by the Graphitti Designs booth (#601) to get your hands on three new prints being offered by DC Direct. The prints feature the Batmobile, Batman and the City of Kandor. They cost $49.95 each and are limited to 100 of each design. According to The Source, Dc plans to offer additional prints throughout 2012.
Check out Batman and Kandor after the jump.
Although Comic-Con International’s yearly WonderCon show usually likes to spend its springtime in scenic San Francisco, this year it’s taking a road trip down south to spend some time in the happiest place on Earth … or right next to it, anyway. WonderCon runs this weekend, March 16-18, at the Anaheim (Calif.) Convention Center.
Special guests at this year’s show include Arthur Adams, Renae De Liz, Mark Evanier, Michael Golden, Joe Hill, Rebekah Isaacs, Carol Lay, Jim Lee, Mike Mignola, Todd Nauck, Steve Niles, Eric Powell, Humberto Ramos, Bob Schreck, Scott Snyder, Ryan Sook, Fiona Staples, Richard Starkings, J. Michael Straczynski, Mark Waid and Marv Wolfman. On the media side, the con will welcome Emma Stone, Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Jorge Garcia, Joshua Jackson and John Noble, among many others. No Mickey Mouse, but Disney is offering special deals on tickets to the park for WonderCon attendees.
You can find the complete programming schedule on the CCI site, and here’s a round-up of various things you can do, buy and expect to find out about at the show …
Ahead of this weekend’s WonderCon in Anaheim, California, Image Comics has provided Robot 6 with a first look at the limited-edition poster Ted McKeever will have available in Artists’ Alley (AA-022). Just 50 copies — signed and numbered — will be available of the image, which serves as the cover for the upcoming collection of McKeever’s Mondo miniseries.
Check out the full poster below. WonderCon kicks off Friday at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The complete programming schedule has been released for WonderCon 2012, held March 16-18 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
Highlights include spotlights on Mark Waid, Eric Powell, J. Michael Straczynski, Mike Mignola, Scott Snyder, Fiona Staples, Jim Lee and Joe Hill, an experts analysis of Gotham City’s serial killers, an examination of the portrayal of gay and lesbian characters, the ABCs of legal protection for creators, and a conversation about the “right” price for digital comics.
Additional special guests include Arthur Adams, Sergio Aragones, Renae De Liz, Mark Evanier, Michael Golden, Rebekah Isaacs, Steve Niles, Humberto Ramos, Bob Schreck, Ryan Sook and Marv Wolfman.
The complete three-day programming schedule can be found on the WonderCon website.