Four very different Kickstarter campaigns take the spotlight in this week’s News Round-up but we’ve also got a preview of Itty Bitty Hellboy #1, word on comiXology’s latest manga publisher library acquisition, and more.
New title announcements from Dark Horse, BOOM!, comiXology, and ShiftyLook/UDON
In the wake of SDCC, Dark Horse, BOOM! Studios, comiXology, and ShiftyLook (in association with UDON Entertainment) announced a mess of new titles in separate press releases. Some, like Dark Horse’s ongoing Halo series (based on the hit video game franchise) and BOOM!’s licensed Sons of Anarchy comic, we’ve known were in the pipeline for the past several weeks now, but it is comiXology’s acquisition of the digital distribution rights to the Seven Seas manga catalog that may eventually prove to be the biggest story of the bunch. While nowhere near as popular and as large as the overwhelmingly dominant VIZ Media, Seven Seas is a significant player in the North American manga market alongside outifts like Yen Press, Kodansha, and Vertical, with titles such as Alice in the Country of Clover and Dance in the Vampire Bund recently making appearances in the monthly Nielsen BookScan Top 20 graphic novels list. While there is no word yet if Alice in the Country of Hearts and its sequels and spin-offs will eventually make their way to comiXology, the first three volumes of Dance in the Vampire Bund are already available on comiXology.
Funny as hell
From our friends at Dark Horse Comics, an early look at Itty Bitty Hellboy #1, by the Eisner Award-winning Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani:
Itty Bitty Hellboy #1 goes on sale on August 28, 2013.
Beth Sotelo launches Grump on Kickstarter
Artist Beth Sotelo, colorist on such titles as Aspen Comics’ Soulfire and Michael Turner’s Fathom and DC Comics’ Brightest Day, recently launched a Kickstarter campaign for Grump, an original, standalone, 40-page graphic novel whose premise Sotelo describes thus
Most neighborhoods have that one crazy house. Its wood is rotting and weeds are flourishing. No matter what time of day it is, it remains in the shadows. Maybe you aren’t afraid of that house, but you definitely won’t be trick-or-treating there—just to be safe.
That’s where Grump lives.
Grump doesn’t realize he is all alone, yet he knows that something isn’t right. Eventually, it takes a series of unusual circumstances for Grump to finally meet some neighborhood kids outside his comfort zone—and soon his world is completely shaken!
Like it or not, Grump. You’re going outside!
To learn more about Grump, the various backer incentives (which include PDF copies of the graphic novel, iron-on patches, original hand-drawn trading cards, as well as mini-prints by Joe Benitez, Keu Cha, Peter Steigerwald, Kizer Stone, and Sotelo) and to pledge support for the campaign, visit the Grump Kickstarter page.
Sam Eggleston and company draw their Last Breath
Earlier this week, we posted news of the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Sam Eggleston and Jason Baroody’s Last Breath. Below is a six-page preview gallery for the project as well as the previously posted Kickstarter video:
Last Breath is a story about astronaut Jason Gustafson, trapped on the moon with no apparent means back to Earth and a rapidly dwindling air supply, watching as his home planet is plunged into an all-out nuclear war. According to writer Sam Eggleston, the idea for Last Breath came to him while looking at a Bob Eggleton (no relation) painting entitled “Griffin’s Egg,” a work based on the Hugo Award-winning “hard SF” novella of the same title written by Michael Swanwick.
“I just kept wondering what it would be like if you suddenly found yourself trapped on the moon,” Eggleston mentioned in an e-mail. “What if you were not only trapped there, a quarter-million miles from Earth, but you were running out of oxygen and your way home was destroyed?”
Eggleston and the rest of the creative team—which includes Baroody on pencils, Josh Oakes on inks, John Hunt on lettering, and veteran inker Mark McKenna (Punisher, Iron Man) on cover finishes—are seeking support to complete the pages and send the comic to be printed in order to be sold at local comic shops, online, and via the convention scene. The reward tiers run from PDF and hard copies of Last Breath to one-of-a-kind commissions, original pages, sketch covers, and more.
To learn more about the project and to become a backer, go to the project’s Kickstarter page.
William Hodge offers backers the opportunity to appear as villains in The Uncanny
Comics creator William Hodge is offering up to five backers the opportunity to be drawn as villains in his Kickstarter campaign for the special “Kickstarter issue” of The Uncanny (not to be confused with Dynamite Entertainment’s Uncanny), his creator-owned, self-published, print-on-demand comics series (so far, seven issues and three trade paperbacks of The Uncanny have been released). Below is an image gallery consisting of sample pages from the Kickstarter issue and one of the incentive covers available for qualifying backers, as well as the campaign’s Kickstarter video:
Cosplay in America by Ejen Chuang
Professional photographer Ejen Chuang is making a new edition of the 2010 cosplay-themed fine art photography book Cosplay in America. The new book will feature professional portraits of cosplayers from 22(!) anime, manga, and comics conventions in 12 cities from all over the United States as well as behind-the-scenes photos of the cosplayers making their costumes at home. A pledge of $45 gets a backer a signed copy of the book, a signed postcard, a Twitter shout-out, and his or her name in the book’s donor list if the campaign gets successfully funded. A pledge of $100 nets everything the $45 pledge gets plus a t-shirt and the backer’s choice of one of four 18″ x 24″ posters featuring popular cosplayers (we’re speculating here but we’re guessing that most backers will choose either the “Yaya Han-dressed-as-an-Absinthe-Fairy” poster or the “Jessica Nigri-dressed-as-Panty-from-Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt” poster).
For a detailed breakdown of the various backer incentives and to become a backer of the project, go to the Cosplay in America Kickstarter page.
Who makes Who next year?
There’s been a lot of speculation lately about the future of the Dr. Who comics license in North America, with current licensee IDW Publishing’s contract set to expire at year’s end and the BBC apparently committed to taking the property elsewhere once that happens. Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston reports that BOOM! Studios is no longer in the running and that the leading candidate for the license could be British comics imprint Titan Comics (a recently sprouted comics division of British publishing and retail giant Titan Entertainment Group), which is reportedly looking to enter the North American market in a big way. The article also states that Canada-based independent comics publisher Arcana is a dark horse bidder for the Dr. Who license (although interestingly enough, Dark Horse Comics never seemed to be in a real position to acquire Dr. Who).
Heidi McDonald on SDCC 2013
The Beat’s Heidi McDonald with some very interesting observations and insights on SDCC 2013:
Yes, Top Shelf sold more copies of Rep. John Lewis’s memoir March than any book they ever brought to Comic-Con before. Yes IDW sold out of everything. Yes [Fantagraphics] sold out and [Drawn & Quarterly] had strong sales. But elsewhere I heard too many times that crowds were smaller and sales were down. A lot of people mentioned that panels were not jammed, even for Marvel or DC. Whether it was just people stuck in lines for poster tubes, or people outside visiting the interactive Adult Swim house of horrors, these people were not on the show floor. The video game pavilion was moved to Hall A to improve traffic flow but I think people know what they want and know where to go to get it. I think it’s just harder for comics fans to get in to Comic-Con any more, and many have just given up trying.
There was a lot of talk from different parts of the floor about the low traffic. I think there were lots of collectors who were willing to pay for the new offerings like March and get it signed by a legend alike Lewis, but the casual con goer is not at the show any more.
Comics aren’t leaving Comic-Con of course. but their presentation will continue to evolve. That’s proven by all the companies that made their announcements ahead of [SDCC] like Image and Dynamite, as well. It isn’t a PR lollapalooza for everyone, not when Hugh Jackman is crooning and Loki is declaiming.
Odds and sods
Links to more news from around the world of comics:
- Horizon’s End Kickstarter campaign fails to meet crowdfunding target, but creators undeterred, looking to pitch the project directly to Image, Dark Horse, and BOOM! and a more modest crowdfunding goal. (Comixverse)
- Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo set for September 28–29, 2013, guests include actors from Arrow and The Walking Dead as well as comics creators Bob Layton (Iron Man), Boo Cook (2000 AD), Nat Jones (’68), and Eisner-winning publication designer and lettering legend Richard Starkings. (Comixverse)
- Recent Eisner Hall of Fame inductee artist Joe Sinnott—who, at age 86, is still active and inking the Sunday edition of the Spider-Man comic strip—talks about working with the late Jack Kirby, page rates back in the 1950s, and his continuing friendship with Stan Lee. (The Washington Post)
- Rich Johnston, making the case that layered panel digital comics (see Marvel’s Infinite Comics, DC’s DC2 Comics) be referred to as “De Campi Comics,” in recognition of comics creator Alex De Campi who helped popularize the formatuse in her digital comic Valentine. (Bleeding Cool)
- Calvin Reid has a pretty comprehensive summary of SDCC 2013′s “What’s Next for Graphic Novels in Libraries” panel. (Publishers Weekly)
- After tearing R.I.P.D. a new one last week, film critic Wesley Morris has a more charitable opinion of this week’s comic book movie The Wolverine, starring Hugh Jackman as everybody’s favorite Canadian mutant superhero. Morris doesn’t exactly give the film a ringing endorsement, but I’m sure comic book movie fans fearing the worst after 2009′s somewhat disappointing X-Men Origins: Wolverine will gladly take what the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe writer describes as a “competent” film with an “above-average finale.” (Grantland)
- Dark Horse acquires rights to publish the EC Comics library. (Comixverse)
- Neil Gaiman is set to launch his first ever video game project called Wayward Manor, about “the misadventures of a ghost who wants nothing more than a peaceful afterlife, and to kick out the motley crew living in the house he once called home.” (Mashable) [Does the premise remind anybody else of the basic plot of 1988's Beetlejuice? I also frequently confuse pictures of Tim Burton for pictures of Neil Gaiman. Also, how have those two not collaborated on a project yet?–ed.]
In case you missed them…
- Don’t forget that we post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers every week. This week, we’ve got previews of twelve books, including a 29 page preview of Ghost: In the Smoke and Din that you won’t find anywhere else (not with the pages all in one place, anyway), a look at BOOM!/Archaia’s The Reason for Dragons, and the entire first chapter of 39 Minutes, Vol. 1.
- On the latest Leaving Proof, we talk about how filmmaking and merchandising considerations are changing how comics are made (and not necessarily for the better), how book stores and Kickstarter campaigns are changing the definition of what it means to have a successful comic, and more.
- In this week’s Roundtable, Comixverse staffers talk about their reactions to Warner Bros.’ official announcement of an upcoming Superman/Batman movie, and what they want to see from the film.
- We leave you now with the the “Logan” promotional featurette for The Wolverine, now playing theaters across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.