The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of February 22, 2013

NEWS Round-up | Week of February 22, 2013
Published on Friday, February 22, 2013 by
Ball State U is offering a new, open-learning course on gender and comics, VIZ Media’s newest acquisitions, John Jackson Miller breaks down the state of comics and graphic novel sales, we throw our support behind a trio of crowdfunded comics projects, and more in the News Round-Up for the week of February 22.

Comics education redefined

ball_state_gender_thru_comicsBall State University, living up to its motto of “Education Redefined,” is offering a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) entitled “Gender Through Comic Books” that will run from April 2 to May 10, via the Canvas Network online open learning service. The course—designed for college-age and lifelong learners—will be taught by adjunct professor Christina Blanch and will use a study of comic books incorporating interactive video lectures, online discussions, and real-time interviews with comics’ biggest names including Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo), Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad, Saga), Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Daredevil, Insufferable), Brian Michael Bendis (Alias, New Avengers, Spider-Woman), Gail Simone (Deadpool, Birds of Prey, Batgirl), Scott Snyder (American Vampire, Severed, Batman),  Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four, S.H.I.E.L.D., The Manhattan Projects), Dan Slott (She-Hulk, Mighty Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man), Jason Aaron (The Other Side, Wolverine, Punisher MAX), Matt Fraction (Casanova, Uncanny X-Men, Hawkeye), as well as others, to address questions of gender representations involving both men and women.

To learn more about the course and to enroll (remember, the course is free and open to anyone with a working Internet connection and an e-mail address), visit the course’s Canvas Network page.

Comics writer Mark Waid had this to say about the course in a recent blog post:

For the last few months, a talented university teacher named Christy Blanch has been putting together a college-level course called “Gender Through Comic Books”–but it’s not limited to college students. It’s the world’s first comics-related Massive Open Online Course (MOOC)–meaning that it will be FREELY AVAILABLE to ANYONE across the world who has web access and who’s interested in comics and in the creative process. There’s no obligation, NO COST, and all you have to do is take thirty seconds to enroll…

… I’m excited about this not only because I’m participating but because it’s a revolutionary way to marry comics and education using technology. Oh, and also because Christy’s giving the MOOC students unique access to interviews with folks like Bendis, Fraction, Jason Aaron, Dan Slott, Jonathan Hickman, and many others. Trust me when I say that it’s worth enrolling just to watch Bendis and Hickman alone struggle with the question, “Who, in your opinion, is the most masculine comic book character?” They’re not being asked the same cookie-cutter questions you’ve heard a hundred times before; they’re talking about how gender roles inform and influence their work, how they approach gender politics, and more–and I’m here to tell you that many of their answers surprised me.

Wait, there’s more. Those who enroll at the above link will also have exclusive access to a series of LIVE WEEKLY INTERVIEWS with some of the smartest, most insightful people in American comics today, including Brian K. Vaughan (Y: THE LAST MAN), Scott Snyder (BATMAN), Gail Simone (BATGIRL, SECRET SIX), Terry Moore (STRANGERS IN PARADISE), and Marvel editors Steve Wacker and Sana Amanat (HAWKEYE, SPIDER-MAN, CAPTAIN MARVEL). Also me. Bonus for those who enroll: you can live-tweet questions to be asked during those interviews. Be heard.

I’ve been going to comics conventions and listening to panel discussions forever–but it’s easy for me to forget that I’m lucky that way. If you’ve never won the San Diego Comicon Ticket lottery, if you like comics but have never been fortunate enough to hear Vaughan or Terry Moore speak to an audience about their body of work, or if you just want to ask Steve Wacker why Spider-Man isn’t still married, this is your chance. Take advantage.

So here’s my pitch to you. Signing up for the course–that’s to your benefit. But as a favor to me, please help me recruit students. I want to see this succeed, and I would appreciate it if you could spread the word. Tweet the link, Facebook it, put it on your Tumblr page, tell your friends, make a sign to post in your local comics shop, however you can sound the call…do whatever you can to help make this BIG. I think this could be a HUGE step forward for the medium, and the more students that enroll, the better the chance that other universities and educators will follow with more of these open online comics courses in the months and years to come. And that’s to EVERYONE’S benefit.

Also, check out whom Prof. Blanch got to do the voiceover for the course’s promotional trailer:

The newest additions to VIZ Media’s shoujo and shonen imprints

Last week, VIZ Media announced the newest additions to its shoujo and shonen imprints. Below are the publisher descriptions, paired with the covers of the Japanese editions of the titles. (Note: Cover images may or may not be representative of the upcoming English edition covers.)

New Shojo Beat Manga Acquisitions:

  • Happy_Marriage_01_japaneseHAPPY MARRIAGE?!
  • Created by Maki Enjoji
  • Rated “M” for Mature
  • MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN
  • Available August 6, 2013
  • In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president Hokuto Mamiya – a man she doesn’t know – at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!
  • Midnight_Secretary_01_japaneseMIDNIGHT SECRETARY
  • Created by Tomu Ohmi
  • Rated “M” for Mature
  • MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN
  • Available September 3, 2013
  • Kaya Satozuka is a brilliant secretary who excels at her job, which is why she doesn’t bat an eye when she’s assigned to be personal secretary to Kyohei Touma, the very difficult managing director of Touma Foods. It doesn’t faze her when her new boss seems determined to make her fail, and she even manages to take it in stride when she discovers the secret behind his prickly behavior…he’s a vampire! But while Kaya easily adapts to late nights and keeping a schedule of his “dinner dates,” will her ultra-competence help when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!
  • Voice_Over_Seiyuu_Academy_01_japaneseVOICE OVER!: SeiYUU ACADEMY
  • Created by Maki Minami
  • Rated “T” for Teens
  • MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN
  • Available October 1, 2013
  • Hime Kino’s dream is to one day perform voice acting like her hero, Sakura Aoyama, from the Lovely Blazer anime. So getting accepted to the prestigious Hiragi Academy’s voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But on her first day of class she meets Sakura’s grouchy son, Senri, who tells Hime that her voice is awful and Lovely Blazers is stupid. Hime will not let that stand unchallenged. She’ll show everyone that she IS a voice-acting princess, whether they like it or not!!
  • Sweet_Rein_01_japaneseSWEET REIN
  • Created by Sakura Tsukuba
  • Rated ‘T+’ for Older Teens
  • MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN
  • Available November 5, 2013
  • Sad at the thought of spending Christmas alone, Kurumi goes out for a walk. While she’s crossing the street, a boy bumps into her and a rein suddenly appears that binds them together. The overjoyed boy tells her she’s his master, and that she’s a Santa Claus. Kurumi dismisses him as a crazy person, but then he transforms into a reindeer?!

New Shonen Sunday Manga Acquisition:

  • Magi_01_japaneseMAGI
  • Created by Shinobu Ohtaka
  • Rated ‘T’ for Teens
  • MSRP: $9.99 U.S. / $12.99 CAN
  • Available August 13, 2013
  • Deep within the deserts lie the mysterious Dungeons, vast stores of riches open for the taking by anyone lucky enough to find them and brave enough to venture into the depths from where few have ever returned. Plucky young adventurer Aladdin means to find the Dungeons and their riches, but Aladdin may be just as mysterious as the treasures he seeks. Together with the genie Hugo and his friend, Ali Baba, Aladdin sets out to find his fortune in the depths of the endless dunes…

And speaking of VIZ Media, Bleeding Cool has the scoop on the  unannounced debut of the Hello Kitty comic in the It’s The UGLYDOLL Comic & Other Stuff comic that the publisher is offering for this year’s Free Comic Book Day.

John Jackson Miller on the state of comics and graphic novel sales

Former Comic Buyer’s Guide staffer John Jackson Miller’s Comichron is a great resource for comics industry professionals and armchair analysts alike. His recent post collating industry-wide print sales data is especially informative, and he does a great job summarizing the significant information in the following graphic:


The overall sales of figure of $715 million represents a $35 million increase over 2011’s number. If you want to read Miller’s expert analysis of the trends (including how the popularity of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead trade paperbacks figured in all this) and to learn how and where he got his data, hit up the Comichron.

One thing we’ll note is that some comics news outlets reported that Miller’s total sales data for 2012 of $715 million shows a return to early-1990s levels of sales (comics and graphic novel sales peaked in 1993 at $850 million), but that really isn’t the case once inflation is taken into account. As Miller notes in an addendum posted later in the week (emphasis added our own):

The most frequently cited figure for sales in 1993, the market’s all-time peak, is $850 million. That amounts to an inflation-adjusted $1.35 million, nearly double the size of the current market. This should not surprise us, given the fact there were 12 distributors and nearly four times as many retail accounts ordering comics as exist today. But even the $1.35 billion is an imperfect analog, though, because comics have increased in price since the mid-1990s faster than the CPI rate. The average comic book retailers ordered in January 1995 cost $2.20; now it’s $3.58. That’s 20 cents higher than what the CPI calculator says it should be. So 1993’s comics-inflation-adjusted figure could be even higher!

The best way to take inflation completely out of the picture is to forget dollars and focus on units. We just don’t tend to do that when trade paperbacks and hardcovers are in the mix, because their pricing varies so much. We know that in 2012 we’re selling way fewer comics than in the early 1990s, and way more graphic novels (and, obviously, digital versions); the net being that we’re still quite a lot behind the early 1990s in adjusted dollars.

Third time’s the charm…

dexterdelayedagainThe much-anticipated Dexter mini-series from Marvel—written by Dexter creator Jeff Lindsay and based on the original novels’ continuity (and not that of the popular cable TV spin-off)—has been delayed indefinitely and will be re-solicited at an as-yet undetermined future date, based on the latest shipping information errata published by the Comics List:


Originally announced in NYCC 2011 and eventually solicited for an October 2012 release, the book’s launch was moved back to February 13 (which it obviously missed, although Marvel comics that went on sale in January and early February still carried full-page ads for the title with the old solicitation date), and now it looks like fans of the charismatic serial killer/vigilante will have to wait until the mysterious “later date” to read his four-color graphic adventures.

In case you missed them…

We posted a bunch of new previews this week, which you can check out at the following links:

Saturday (February 23) is also the last day that you can bid on the pieces being made available at the Peter David Benefit Art Auction courtesy of the J.K. Woodward Gallery. Click here to view a sample of the art pieces and for a link to the auction.

Peter David returns to the convention circuit

And speaking of the esteemed Mr. David, the long-time Incredible Hulk and X-Factor writer recently returned to the comic convention circuit, making a surprise appearance and attending the Farpoint Convention in Baltimore with his family last weekend. The event marks David’s first public appearance since his stroke late last year. For information on how you can help the David family with the costs of Peter’s rehabilitation (and get some pretty neat books and comics in the process), click here.

On Batwoman #17

batwoman_17_bannerBy the time this article is posted, talk of the revelations in Batwoman #17 will probably be filling the comics blog-o-sphere. Or maybe not. It’s always hard to predict what stories will gain traction in the public’s imagination. In any event, out of respect for you folks who pick up their comics during the weekends, we won’t be discussing the issue in question in this space (not this week, anyway). But if you really, really want to know what the fuss is about and can’t be arsed to buy the book, Bleeding Cool‘s Rich Johnston has you covered.

Talk about your coincidences…

And because we’re not done letting Bleeding Cool do our work for us just yet, here’s a posting showing a disturbing case of synchronicity.

Crowdfunding picks

Three crowdfunded comics projects caught our eye this week, including one by industry veteran Art Thibert (and thanks to the Kickstarter video embedded below, we finally learned that his surname is pronounced “Ti-bair”—it’s of Gallic origin, presumably—we’ve been pronouncing it “Thi-burt” all these years). Make sure to click on the project titles to go to their respective funding pages to see more preview art, learn more details about the comics and the unique project backer incentives, and of course, pledge some money for the projects if you are so inclined:

  • Sorako: A Manga About Nothing
  • Project by: Gen Manga (original content created by Fujimura Takayuki)
  • Project description: An English language print edition of a “slice-of-life” manga from the Tokyo indie manga scene.
  • Funding period ends: 21 March 2013

  • GOLDTIGER by Guy Adams and Jimmy Broxton
  • Project by: Jimmy Broxton (content created with Guy Adams)
  • Project description: A print collection of a stylish “1960s comic strip that never was.”
  • Funding period ends: 17 March 2013

  • Chrono Mechanics: Potholes in the Cosmic Road
  • Project by: Art Thibert
  • Project description: A sci-fi/adventure/comedy book about a group of elite Time Repairmen tasked with the mission to monitor, regulate, and repair the fabric of Time.
  • Funding period ends: 17 March 2013

New Fables book covers revealed

USA Today revealed Thursday the covers to two new hardcover Fables-branded books from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Book descriptions from the Vertigo Comics blog:

  • fablesencyFables Encyclopedia
  • The FABLES ENCYCLOPEDIA will be a Deluxe Edition hardcover volume devoted to the characters you’ve grown to love in Bill Willingham’s FABLES mythos. Compiled by noted scholar Jess Nevins, each entry will include the character’s historical origin and Fables reinvention as well as first appearances and whimsical anecdotes from creator Bill Willingham and regular series artist Mark Buckingham. The book will feature a, yet to be revealed, wraparound cover by Adam Hughes.
  • fairestinallthelandFairest: In all the Land
  • Spinning out of the FAIREST ongoing series, FAIREST: IN ALL THE LAND hardcover will feature short stories written by Bill Willingham, told through the Magic Mirror and illustrated by some the finest artists in comics, including Adam Hughes, Chrissie Zullo, Mark Chiarello, Karl Kerschl and more! (Think FABLES: 1001 Nights of Snowfall.) The book will feature a, yet to be revealed, wraparound cover by Adam Hughes.

JimZub continues to master the Dark Art of the Adjective

Fresh off of announcing Uncanny Skullkickers #1, Savage Skullkickers #1, and Mighty Skullkickers #1, Image Comics recently revealed that adjective and renumbering enthusiast Jim Zubkavich will release The All-New Secret Skullkickers #1 in May.

From the press release:

allnewsecretskullkickers01‘We can’t stop now. It… it has a life of its own. This reboot-itis has permeated our souls,’ said Image PR and Marketing Director Jennifer de Guzman. ‘I hated it at first but now it feels kind of good. Warm… safe… In a darkened world full of uncertainty it’s all we have left.’

THE ALL-NEW SECRET SKULLKICKERS #1, written by promotional broken record Jim Zub and drawn by innocent mp3 Edwin Huang, continues the epic six-arc SKULLKICKERS storyline on a haunted island of mystery, apes and rampant violence. It’s good.

‘At this rate I figure we’re still a couple months away from using up any goodwill I might have built up in this industry,’ said series creator Jim Zub. ‘This is the kind of thing that can happen when you let creators write their own press releases.’

If you’re a diehard collector of SKULLKICKERS who’s sad that you won’t have a SKULLKICKERS #22 to add to your collection, fret no longer. In addition to the regular ‘All-New Secret’ cover we’re offering a special ‘issue #22 variant’ B cover to make sure your numbers stay in order. You can tell everyone you started reading ‘before they became horrible sell-outs.’

We’re sick. We can’t help it. Comic price guide makers will curse this stupid string of title changes for the rest of their natural lives. THE ALL-NEW SECRET SKULLKICKERS #1 will be available in May wherever fine comics are sold.

Spain Rodriguez up for a posthumous L.A. Times Book Prize


Comix pioneer Spain Rodriguez—whose career we covered in an obituary news entry here—has been nominated for an L.A. Times Book Prize for his work on the autobiographical graphic novel Cruisin’ with the Hound: The Life and Times of Fred Tooté (Fantagraphics), which focuses on “Spain’s teenage days in the 1950s, often featuring the doomed, dot-eyed Fred Tooté, a wild, flaky character in whose company some of his wildest escapades occurred.”

The other nominees for the award are Alison Bechdel for Are You My Mother?: A Comic Drama (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt), Leela Corman for Unterzakhn (Schocken), Sammy Harkham for Everything Together: Collected Stories (PictureBox), and Chris Ware for Building Stories (Pantheon).

That’s your NEWS Round-up for this week. Until next time, don’t forget to READ BETWEEN THE HYPE!
3 Responses
    • In G.I. Joe news, the reboot pulls in an embedded journalist to help spin the public side of the newly outed Joe team. The concept of an embedded journalist is very media chic but it has met some resistance from the Joe-fandom. An unarmed blogger on a battlefield? That may not be as ridiculous as it first sounds. Yet, while having fun with the concept, I recommend the ComicsAlliance parody of the new Joe character.

      What Internet Based Personality would you draft into blogging for America’s Elite?

    • I just registered for the Gender Roles in Comics course that will start soon from Ball State University. Thanks for the heads up. Unfortunately I was too late for the Film Noir course. Maybe I’ll catch that one next time.

      • Still in the middle of deciding if I’ll enroll in the course. I’ll likely know before the week is out.


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