Publishing | The Penguin Group plans to wade into the market for children’s graphic novels with a new line aimed at middle-grade and young-adult readers. “Clearly it’s a huge, growing market, the kid’s graphic novel market,” Penguin’s Rich Johnson told ICv2 at New York Comic Con. “You see those titles making the bestsellers list all the time. So we are looking to do work in that area to get more kids reading comics.” [ICv2]
Creators | Feisty as ever, Stan Lee talks about his World of Heroes YouTube channel and breaks up the camera crew a couple of times in an interview shot New York Comic Con. [MTV Geek]
Shopping online is a beautiful thing if you know exactly what you’re looking for, but there are drawbacks to buying comics that way. One of the many advantages to shopping at a physical location is the ability to pick up comics and flip through them. Better than any five-page preview, the flip-through gives readers the chance to quickly look at the entire book to see if it catches their interests.
Archaia has launched a YouTube channel that allows online shoppers do that virtually. As you can see when you watch the video for Nate Cosby and Chris Eliopoulos’ Cow Boy below, it’s a simple concept: A pair of hands picks up an Arachaia book, looks it over, then flips through it, occasionally stopping on pages for a closer inspection. It goes all the way through the book, including the back matter and the back cover.
The project is still in an experimental phase, but the company’s already thinking about adding music or possibly narration. Hopefully it will catch on enough not only to encourage Archaia to post its entire catalog, but to nudge other publishers toward doing something similar.
Updated: As a commenter points out below, Fantagraphics has been doing this for a while now and has hundreds of titles available for flipping through.
Artist Paul Maybury‘s latest collaboration (with writers Johnny Zito and Tony Trov), D.O.G.S. of Mars, is poised to be released on May 2 by Image. This 120-page/$15.99 story, pitting Captain Zoe and the Mars Base Bowie crew (at Earth’s first Martian colony) against nocturnal monsters, marked Maybury’s return to long-form work since 2008′s Aqua Leung (and was originally released digitally by Comixology in 2011). We discuss it–and he was kind enough to share some preview pages (as well as video showing his process inking some of the pages). After you read this interview, be sure to check out the interview that my Robot 6 boss, JK Parkin, did with the creative team, back in January 2011.
Tim O’Shea: This project originated on Comixology back in January 2011–was it always important to you to see it released in the traditional sense (via Image) or would you have been fine if it had remained as a digital release only?
Paul Maybury: It was definitely a personal goal of mine. I think Comixology is a great format, but it’s definitely hard to stand out under the creator-owned section. There had been talk about going with another publisher that was cautiously approaching the idea, but wasn’t completely sold. Somewhere around the release of issue three I decided to send a pdf copy out to a few trusted people and one of them was Erik Larsen over at Image. I wasn’t really looking to get it published over there, but Erik really took the time to set me back up with Stephenson, who I hadn’t spoken to in a few years. In the end it feels pretty comfortable as Image has been publishing my work here and there since the Belle and Sebastian anthology back in 2004.
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.
Dark Horse motion comics will be one of six original series for the new channel, which launches April 2. They’ll join shows featuring Wil Wheaton, Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt, and Day herself. The channel “will present the very best of indie geek culture by exploring fun themes in comedy, gaming, comics, music, and literature that are sure to captivate audiences every week. Geek & Sundry will also provide a social destination and community for fans connecting online and offline about nerd culture worldwide,” according to the press release.
Dark Horse’ motion comics will air every Wednesday, starting with Dark Horse President Mike Richardson and Jason Alexander’s The Secret. The 40-minute video is directed by Erik Bruhwiler and produced by Richardson.
“We’re so incredibly excited to produce and develop a channel based on what we think the fans will enjoy the most,” said Felicia Day, cofounder, producer, and star of Geek & Sundry. “From Dark Horse Comics to Wil Wheaton, there’s a killer team of talent on camera and off that will help build on the success of The Guild and Dragon Age: Redemption.”
“This is an exciting new extension of our comics business. Our technology is state of the art and the tales are extremely engaging. Add Erik’s genius to some of the greatest creators in the comics business and the project becomes irresistible,” said Richardson.
Creators | Any Empire and Swallow Me Whole creator (and our special guest this weekend for What Are You Reading?) Nate Powell appeared at the United Nations earlier this month with several teen-fiction writers who contributed to What You Wish For, a benefit book to fund libraries in Darfuri refugee camps in Chad. Video of the event can now be found on the U.N. website. [Top Shelf]
Business | Details on the collaboration between Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment Inc. and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s Vuguru have emerged: The two companies will work on a YouTube channel called “Stan Lee’s YouTube World of Heroes.” The channel is one of the 100 online video channels announced by the Google-owned video site, which seeks to add “professional, high-quality programming” to its site. [Los Angeles Times]
Business | They might move slow and eat people, but MSNBC estimates that zombies are worth about $5 billion to the economy. [MSNBC]
Although Marvel is heavily focused right now on the various Avengers movies hitting this summer and next, no doubt they’re looking for a big franchise to kick off in 2013. Using a green-screen suit, Patrick Willems may just have come up with the answer — The Spot. And he already has a catchy theme song to boot.
At some point in every comic book readers life, they have frequented a store that has quirky ambiance, fellow customers and/or employees. Chris Walker is a writer/director/producer who thought a comedy built around a comic book store would make for a great webseries. And from that initial concept the webseries Anti-Matter launched in late 2010. Filmed in New York’s Jim Hanley’s Universe, Anti-Matter features “hilarious hijinks that happen with the staff and idiosyncratic regulars of a NY comic book shop who treat the store more like a clubhouse than a place of business”.
Tim O’Shea: Can you give some insight into the character development and casting process for the series?
Chris Walker: Anti-Matter was created to be a humorous snapshot of hanging out at the comic store. I wanted to move past the conventional geek/nerd cliché and give a candid, witty look at this world. My goal was to show the broad spectrum of people one might encounter at their local comic shop.
Casting is always a challenge, especially at an indie level. Since the series is based in New York, a lot of talented actors came through for auditions. We had the fortune of casting from the same talent as pool shows like SNL and 30 Rock. Gratefully, we had one of the more unique challenges of production: “How do we fit all this talent on one show?”
Legal | A federal judge in Madison, Wisconsin, will hear arguments today regarding Neil Gaiman’s claim that Todd McFarlane owes him money for his copyright interests in three characters — Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany — that he says are derivatives of their earlier creations Medieval Spawn, Angela and Count Nicholas Cogliostro.
“Our view is McFarlane just took some of the characters Neil was a co-creator of and just gave them different names,” Gaiman’s attorney Allen Arntsen told The Associated Press. “It’s a matter of principle.” In court filings, McFarlane attorney James Alex Grimsley denied Gaiman has any rights to the three additional characters, claiming they’re not based on the earlier creations. [The Associated Press]
Remember that video we posted last month of a Spanish Alan Moore impersonator talking about Watchmen and fandom, and eating a page of From Hell? Of course you do. Well, it turns out there’s a rather surreal — okay, more surreal — sequel featuring an ode to Unbreakable, a cartoon snake … and Jumble, the idea elf who lives in Moore’s beard. Bless you, Neil Gaiman.
That Hitler/Downfall video meme is really working overtime. First the Führer learns that NBC is moving Jay Leno back to late-night. And now … now he finds out he could have trouble tracking down some of those Blackest Night tie-ins he missed because of Marvel’s Siege #3 variant offer to retailers. (Warning: The video’s subtitles contain obscenities — and typos.)
(Via Geoff Johns)
This is why
YouTube the internet was invented.
You may not be aware of it, but the final volume in Larry Gonick’s Cartoon History of the Universe — The Cartoon History of the Modern World Vol. 2 – is coming out in a few weeks. It’s the cap stone on a really wonderful series that underscores how well comics can educate as well as entertain readers. In this swell YouTube promotional video, Gonick talks about his work and process.
Found via Forbidden Planet.