The GeeksverseNEWS Round-Up | Week of July 13, 2013

NEWS Round-Up | Week of July 13, 2013
Published on Saturday, July 13, 2013 by
Amazon’s Jet City Comics, George Pérez‘ move to BOOM! Studios, the Apple eBook price-fixing scandal, and more are up for discussion in this week’s News Round-up.

Amazon announces Jet City Comics line

Online retail giant Amazon is launching a print and digital comic book publishing venture that it’s calling Jet City Comics, with George R.R. Martin, Neal Stephenson, and Hugh Howey among the authors attached to the imprint. The line’s first release is Symposium #1, the first original Foreworld comic from the series created by Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey and Cooper Moo. Other titles set for launch down the line are listed below:

  • symposium-1Six original comics from The Foreworld Saga, the bestselling alternate history series that began with The Mongoliad (a serialized novel collaboratively written Neal Stephenson, Greg Bear, Mark Teppo, Nicole Galland, Erik Bear, Joseph Brassey and Cooper Moo). The first installment in the miniseries, Symposium #1, is already available and subsequent installments will be released monthly. A “collected graphic novel” compiling all six issues is set for 2014.
  • An original single-issue digital comic adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s story “Meathouse Man,” illustrated by Raya Golden (October 2013)
  • A “collected graphic novel” digital and print re-release of The Hedge Knight by Ben Avery and Mike S. Miller, a prequel set in the universe of Martin’s best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy series (November 2013)
  • An adaptation of Hugh Howey’s Wool by comics veterans Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, and illustrator Jimmy Broxton (Six-part Amazon Kindle serial to launch in October 2013, “collected graphic novel” edition out in 2014)
  • The Sworn Sword, a sequel to The Hedge Knight (2014)

George Pérez signs exclusive deal with BOOM! Studios

Influential New Teen Titans, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Avengers, and Wonder Woman artist George Pérez recently signed a staff artist contract with BOOM! Studios. As with Paul Jenkins’ announcement of his exclusive deal with the LA-based publisher, the candid Pérez also managed to get some digs in at Marvel and DC:

Many of the [DC and Marvel] characters I grew up with were turning into strangers whose adventures were determined by factors that had less and less to do with what made a good comic story and more to do with how these properties can be exploited for other purposes. There’s nothing wrong with that, I guess, but not something that I felt was particularly satisfying for me as a storyteller.

But if all Pérez was looking for was a publisher and work environment that would let him tell the stories he wants to tell the way he wants to tell them, why go with BOOM! and not say, Image Comics or Dark Horse Comics? It seems like the combination of contract flexibility, a better benefits package, and the lure of a regular paycheck was what ultimately swayed the artist BOOM!’s way.

[BOOM! Studios] offered me a chance to work on something I wanted to do, something they hoped would rekindle the creative spark that I felt was being squelched these past few years. I was also offered something that was a bit unique—an employment contract, meaning I would actually receive all benefits of being an employee with tax withholding and medical benefits. To be fair, I was receiving medical benefits at the Big Two as well, but it was frightfully expensive and required full exclusivity. BOOM!’s package is a little more flexible regarding exclusivity—and a good deal cheaper.

All in all, a nice coup for Ross Richie’s comics publishing outfit, which has been really raising its profile of late with the aforementioned Paul Jenkins signing, its acquisition of Archaia Entertainment, and a major feature film slated for a summer release based on Steven Grant and Rafael Albuquerque’s 2 Guns.

Explaining the Apple eBook price-fixing scandal

Tangentially related to comics (but with some interesting hypothetical implications for the digital comics distribution industry) is the news of Apple being found liable for an eBook price-fixing scheme it cooked up with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, MacMillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster that was designed to induce an industry-wide raising of eBook prices. As expected, Apple will contest the verdict. Apple news site TidBITS’ Adam Engst does a fairly even-handed job of explaining the ins and outs of the case here, suggesting that Apple’s illicit plot was a response to Amazon’s own fishy (but legal) practices.

Odds and sods

More news from around the world of comics:


  • Dark Horse Comics recently released the details of its packed SDCC event schedule. There are a ton of signings, including ones featuring manga legend Kazuo Koike (Lone Wolf and Cub, Lady Snowblood), Terry and Rachel Dodson (HALO: Initiation), Joe Casey (Catalyst Comix), Joss Whedon (Buffy), Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko (Avatar: The Last Airbender), and more. (Comixverse)


  • BOOM! Studios will now have a larger, joint booth with Archaia Entertainment at SDCC, in a different section of the venue from the one that was previously announced. The new BOOM!/Archaia booth will be Booth #2229 on the current show floor map. The previous occupant of that booth, Gallery Nucleus/Bolt City Productions, will be moved to Booth #2743 (the previously announced BOOM! Studios booth). Update your maps and itineraries accordingly. (From the press release)


  • Do you want to meet Ken Kristensen (Amazing Adventures of the Escapist) and M.K. Perker (Cairo, Air), the creative team behind Image Comics’ Todd, the Ugliest Kid on Earth? The pair will be at the Image Comics booth (#2729) at SDCC doing signings throughout the four-day event. Check the link for the detailed schedule. (Comixverse)


  • Image Comics and manga titles dominate June’s Bookscan Graphic Novel sales numbers; Superman: Earth One only title from either DC or Marvel to make the top 20. (ICv2)


Alter Ego #114 (Dec 2012) cover by Allen Bellman

Alter Ego #114 (Dec 2012) cover by Allen Bellman with Bettie and Mitch Breitweiser.

  • Sergio Carmona caught up with Golden Age comics artist Allen “Al” Bellman at the recent Florida Supercon. The 89-year old illustrator, who worked on titles such as Captain America Comics, Young Allies Comics, Marvel Mystery Comics, and Sub-Mariner Comics and recently contributed a cover for TwoMorrows Publishing’s Alter Ego magazine (see right), offered an explanation as to why so many of the early American comics pioneers like himself were of Jewish heritage: “Jews could not get jobs on Madison Avenue at that time, so what can they do? They went to comic books.” (Florida Sun-Sentinel)


  • Some interesting observations and statements from the Publishers Weekly 2013 Annual Comics Retailer Survey (although the usual “small sample size warning” applies). Among them: Digital comics may actually be driving print sales of both periodical and book format comics (“We have heard from several customers that they tried something digitally then liked it well enough to own a hard copy of it.”), Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga is “the runaway hit of the year in both periodical and collected trade paperback comic book formats,” and “event fatigue” is driving customers away from Marvel and DC and into more self-contained, creator-owned titles. (Publishers Weekly)


  • We prefer our vigilantes in make-believe, comic book form here at the Comixverse—the disgusting mob behavior of Reddit vigilantes in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing being only the latest evidence that innocent people are at significant risk of getting hurt when untrained, self-appointed “heroes” take the law in their own hands—but the BBC has an interesting short video feature on Seattle-based “real-life superheroes” Phoenix Jones and Purple Reign. Apparently, the pair were in London to promote a new line of smartphones from manufacturer Huawei. Hey, don’t judge: Those armored codpieces and martial arts lessons don’t pay for themselves, you know. (The Register)

In case you missed them

lokarts1p0Don’t forget that we post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers every week. This week, we’ve got previews of 16 books (four of them re-posts due to release date changes), including a peek at The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series Book One—Air and a 37-page preview of Conan, Vol. 14: Death. Also, take note that the release dates for the Black Kiss II, Glory, Vol. 2: War Torn, Infinite Vacation, and Kafka collections have all been moved to July 17.

On the Leaving Proof front, we’ve got a piece musing on the appeal of combat sports narratives and how Blair Butler and Jōji Morikawa capitalize on the human drama aspect of combat sports to create memorable combat sports-themed comics like Heart and Hajime No Ippo.

In part 1 of our reviews of the trades and hardcovers of June, we take a look at Conan, Vol. 13, Domovoi, Blood-C, Vol. 2, John K Presents! Spümcø Comic Book, and Saga, Vol. 2.

Friday also saw the debut of a new recurring feature on the Comixverse that we’re calling The Roundtable, where staffers and contributors give their answers to a common question. This week’s question was “What specific comic book issue got you hooked on the medium?” Share your own responses or give suggestions for future questions in the article’s comments section.

We leave you now with four new clips from next week’s R.I.P.D., based on the 2000 Dark Horse Comics miniseries by writer Peter Lenkov and illustrator Lucas Marangon. (Read our review of the recent R.I.P.D. trade collection here.)

R.I.P.D. hits theaters July 19 in the United States and stars Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, and Mary-Louise Parker.

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