Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Conventions | Early estimates place attendance three-day attendance at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo at 34,000, up from 27,500 at last year’s inaugural event. “Last year was disappointing,” said Eric Thornton, manager of Chicago Comics. “But now you definitely see this starting to take hold.” [Chicago Tribune]
Retailing | Borders Group has announced it will close an additional 28 stores, bringing the total to 228. The bookseller, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Feb. 16, had used the possibility of as many as 75 closings as leverage to negotiate lease concessions. This latest wave will bring the chain’s remaining store total to about 400. [Media Decoder]
Publishers | Chicago-based publisher Archaia, which expects sales of $11 million this year, has raised capital from a group of investors with local connections. [Crain’s Chicago Business, via ICv2.com]
It’s damn hard to make me laugh, but I did laugh last month when I looked at Robot 6’s exclusive preview of David Malki !’s (yep there’s an exclamation point in his name) Wondermark Volume 3: Dapper Caps & Pedal-Copters. It happened most when I got to the ambitious talking baby in a stroller in the In Which It’s What Month Already? strip, where the baby lamented: “Still poopin’ where I freakin’ sleep!” In fact I still laugh when I look at that panel, no matter how many times. I had to get a perspective on Malki !’s creative mentality, so fortunately he agreed to an email interview. Here’s part of Dark Horse’s official summary of the project: “It’s Wondermark time again! Come along for the ride as Dark Horse returns to David Malki’s silly, bizarre, and hilarious world that’s not quite present day, not quite the Victorian era, and not like anything else you’ve seen before. (Unless you’ve read the previous Wondermark books, of course!) This newest volume of the Eisner-nominated series contains over one hundred comic strips originally published in The Onion and on wondermark.com, plus many pages of additional material by creator David Malki. More than just webcomic collections, the Wondermark books have been praised for their magnificent design and loads of extra content for casual readers and superfans alike.” My thanks to Malki ! for his time and for Dark Horse’s Jim Gibbons for facilitating the interview.
Tim O’Shea: Okay, before getting into Wondermark, what led you to pursuits such as being a volunteer search & rescue pilot, or a freelance firearm specialist for film and television?
David Malki !: As a licensed pilot, I was a member of the Civil Air Patrol for a while, which is a volunteer organization whose main mission is to conduct aerial searches for downed planes after a crash is reported. A lot of times, when a small plane crashes in a remote area, there’s no way to know exactly where it went down (all we have is a radio signal), and if the pilot or passengers are injured, it’s important to find them right away. CAP pilots fly search missions in the area where the plane was last reported, and try to locate the site of the crash as quickly as possible.