The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of Jan. 11, 2014

NEWS Round-up | Week of Jan. 11, 2014
Published on Saturday, January 11, 2014 by
[UPDATED] We’ve got all the new title reveals from Image Expo 2014, previews of Furious #1 and Skyman #1, the release details for Okko, Vol. 4: The Cycle of Fire, the latest update on 3A’s 2000AD action figures, and so much more in this week’s News Round-up.
The Image Expo 2014 rundown

Image Comics has a link hub to all the major announcements made during this week’s Image Expo, but if all you’re interested in learning is who’s doing what for 2014, below is a list of the all-new Image Comics titles revealed at the event:

  • Tech Jacket Digital by Joe Keatinge and Khary Randolph (complete miniseries available now on the Image Comics website): A three-issue miniseries from the Skybound imprint featuring the continuing adventures of the character Robert Kirkman and EJ Su launched in 2002.
  • Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila Del Duca (out April 2014): From the release—Kate Kristopher, once the most famous explorer on Earth—an Earth that’s far more fantastical than the one we know, filled with demons, gorgons, phantom ninjas, and various other monsters of lore—is forced to return to the adventurous life she left behind when a family secret threatens to destroy everything she spent her life protecting.

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  • 8House by Brandon Graham, Marian Churchland, Emma Ríos, Xurxo Penalta, and Hwei Lim: A series of three sci-fi/fantasy miniseries. 8HOUSE: KIEM, written by Graham and drawn by Penalta, follows a soldier who must project her mind into the body of her dead twin in order to fight monsters on a distant comet. 8HOUSE: ARCLIGHT, written by Graham and drawn by Churchland. will bring readers the chilling story of a woman who has her mind trapped in a monster’s body. She will soon learn that the monster trapped in her body has taken over her old life in her absence. 8HOUSE: MIRROR, written by Ríos and drawn by Lim, will examine what it means to be “human” and promises to take readers on an ironic space opera battle between self-absorbed humans intent on their own survival and noble monsters striving to save their worlds.

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  • Nailbiter by Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson (out May 2014): An ongoing crime thriller featuring a couple of government agents looking into why the small town of Buckaroo, Oregon has produced more serial killers than any other municipality in the States.

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  • The Superannuated Man by Ted McKeever (out June 2014): A black & white, six-issue miniseries from Image’s Shadowline imprint.

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  • Low by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini: From the press release—“… set in the distant future, after humanity has relocated to radiation-shielded cities below the sea and the surface of the planet has become a scorched uninhabitable wasteland. A probe has returned with information on a possible alternative planet for humans, but it has landed on the Earth’s surface. A few brave representatives from the warring human clans venture out to retrieve it and the hopeful news it bears.”

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  • Ody-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward (due out late Summer/early Fall 2014): Originally announced at last year’s Image Expo, Ody-C is a retelling of Homer’s The Odyssey, set in space, featuring gender-switched versions of the classic characters.

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  • Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue Deconnick and Valentine De Landro: From the press release—“A science-fiction take on the Women in Prison exploitation feature, BITCH PLANET follows five prisoners on an all-female penal planet, ready to make their escape by way of a gladiatorial exhibition against a team of visiting male prisoners.”

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  • Great Beyond by Nick Spencer and Morgan Jeske: From the press release—“… a ‘post-life community’ values the size of your bank account over morals and values—and your place in the hereafter is determined by it. But then polite society is rocked by the apparent suicide of one of its own.”

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  • Paradigms by Nick Spencer and Butch Guice: From the press release—“… [Paradigms explores] a world that exists beyond, or more specifically behind, ours. In the shadows where magic is real, warring clans of sorcerers battle for power and the favor of their gods.”

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  • Cerulean by Nick Spencer and Frazer Irving: From the press release—“[Cerulean] follows the last survivors of the destruction of Earth as they struggle to rebuild civilization on a distant planet full of its own mysteries.”

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  • Airboy by James Robinson and Greg Hinkle: Robinson and Hinkle appear as themselves in this comic featuring the eponymous Airboy. The comic will be a fictionalized documentation of their attempt to revive the once-popular Golden Age of Comics property, which entered the public domain in the 1980s.

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  • Howtoons [Re]ignition by Nick Dragotta, Fred Van Lente, Tom Fowler, and Jordie Bellaire: A relaunch of Dragotta’s popular Howtoons educational/instructional webcomic.

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  • C.O.W.L. by Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis (out May 2014): From the press release—“[Higgins, Siegel, and Reis] take readers back to 1960s Chicago, in a time when the once-celebrated superhero labor union C.O.W.L. struggles to maintain their public image and regain the confidence of the people.”

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  • The Wicked and The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie: From the press release—“[Gillen and McKelvie] team up to infuse new life into the old mythological characters in THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE. The new ongoing series will feature guest creators and surprise arcs with alternate endings that will bring the gods of mythology to life.” 

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  • Nameless by Grant Morrison and Chris Burnham: A six-issue horror miniseries with a Lovecraftian bent.

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  • Restoration by Bill Willingham and Barry Kitson: From the press release—“[Willingham and Kitson] reveal that the magic and gods of legend and lore are not just oral history, but real…and now they’re back in the forthcoming series RESTORATION.

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  • Wytches by Scott Snyder and Jock: From the press release—“WYTCHES takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before.”

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  • The Fade Out by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips (due out Summer 2014): From the press release—“‘The Fade Out is my ultimate noir story. It’s a brutal crime story set in late ’40s Hollywood, and all spinning around the mysterious death of an up-and-coming starlet,’ said Brubaker. ‘For people who’ve been waiting for us to return to Criminal, this will be exactly what they’re looking for, but on a much more epic scale—going from studio backlots to the debauchery of the rich and famous, and even stretching back to the horrors of World War Two.'”

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In addition to the above title announcements, it was also revealed during Image Comics president Eric Stephenson’s keynote address that Matt Fraction, Fábio Moon, and Gabriel Bá will be bringing the Casanova series back to Image Comics with Casanova, Vol. 4: Acedia. Originally launched as an Image Comics title in June 2006, the offbeat, parallel reality-spanning sci-fi/espionage title was brought over by the creative team to Marvel’s Icon line in 2011 for the series’ third volume. Joining Fraction, Moon, and Bá on Casanova‘s Image Comics homecoming is Pulitzer Prize-winning comics creator Michael Chabon.

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Two other titles making the move from Marvel Icon to Image Comics are Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ Incognito and the Eisner Award-winning series Criminal. It was recently announced by Image Comics that Brubaker and Phillips have signed a five-year deal “to do anything they want with total freedom, total control, and total ownership over their projects.”

Ashley Wood’s 3A to relaunch line of 1:12 scale 2000AD figures

Comic book artist Ashley Wood (Ghost Rider 2099, Sam and Twitch, Automatic Kafka) recently revealed on the World of 3A production blog that his high-end collectible toy company 3A intends to restart production of the line of 1:12 scale (approx. 6″) 2000AD action figures that the company initially announced in 2012. The original 2012 launch debuted with an action figure of popular A.B.C. Warriors character Mongrol (with his sidekick-in-a-jar, The Mess) which quickly sold out soon after it became available for order. For whatever reason, the next six figures promised for the line just never came to be.

3A produced a 1:12 scale Mongrol action figure in 2012.

3A produced a 1:12 scale Mongrol action figure in 2012.

No release timeline has been set, nor has a final line-up of characters been revealed (indeed, it is not even known at this point if 3A will reissue the Mongrol figure for those who missed out the first time), although Wood does say in his blog post that he wants to see a Judge Dredd figure (with an in-scale Lawmaster motorcycle, naturally), Judge Anderson, an Apocalypse War-era Sov Judge, Judge Death, Nemesis the Warlock [YES!—ed.], Johnny Alpha, and more.

AI journal’s manga-styled illustration of housecleaning “gynoid” robot sparks controversy
Pictured: The cover to the January 2014 issue of the Journal of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

Pictured: The cover to the January 2014 issue of the Journal of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence.

According to a report from The Asahi Shimbun, the cover of the January 2014 issue of the Journal of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence featuring a manga-styled humanoid female robot engaged in house-cleaning duties drew the ire of Japanese academics, a number of whom noted that the image reinforced a negative stereotype of women that is particularly salient in Japan.

Japanese artist and MIT Media Lab assistant professor Hiromi “Sputniko!” Ozaki told reporters that she “… thought an academic society journal cover featuring a gynoid robot doing housework represented a lack of sensitivity to the international awareness of gender issues. A black cleaning robot featured on the cover of a U.S. academic journal would cause an uproar. The same applies here.” Meanwhile, Osaka University professor of science and technology studies Hideyuki Hirakawa said that the cover was fine for “a fanzine,” but not suitable for a scientific journal.

The illustration, which was drawn by a female artist, received the most votes out of 100 submissions in a cover poll that was open to the approximately 3,000 members of the Japanese Society for Artificial Intelligence (JSAI) as well as the general public. The illustration was also the top choice by the JSAI editorial board (which counts three women among its 30 members).

The JSAI would later issue an apology on its website stating that the “front-cover design is not intended to discriminate against women” and that it should have considered the very real possibility that the image could be interpreted as implying that housework is the sole province of women. While societal attitudes in Japan are rapidly changing, the nation still lags considerably behind a number of countries in tackling certain gender equality issues—a 2013 Global Gender Gap Report released by the World Economic Forum ranked Japan 105th out of 136 countries in terms of overall female equality in the areas of politics, economics, health, and education, behind other Asian countries like the Philippines (ranked #5 worldwide), Mongolia (#33), Singapore (#58), Laos (#60), Thailand (#65), The People’s Republic of China (#69), Vietnam (#73), Brunei (#88), Bhutan (#93), Indonesia (#95), India (#101), Malaysia (#102), and Cambodia (#104).

Rucka and Southwood’s Stumptown set to relaunch as an ongoing title

Oni Press got comics fans’ tongues wagging earlier this week when it posted the following image on its Tumblr, with the caption “Stumptown Investigations will reopen on an ongoing basis in 2014″:

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The caption and the name on the jersey references award-winning writer Greg Rucka and artist Matthew Southworth’s 2009 detective comics miniseries Stumptown and its protagonist Dex Parios. Clearly, the book is being readied for a relaunch as an ongoing series. No other details about the new series have been released at this point, but you’ll know as soon as we know of any new developments.

Dark Horse releases press-exclusive early previews of Furious #1 and Skyman #1

The fine folks over at Dark Horse Comics have provided us with an early preview of Furious #1, the first issue of a five-issue miniseries by writer Bryan J. L. Glass (Mighty Marvel: Women of Marvel, Thor: First Thunder) and artist Victor Santos (Ghosts, Polar: Came from the Cold, Filthy Rich).

Dark Horse officially unveiled Furious in September of last year after a week-long teaser campaign. The press release announcing the five-issue miniseries described the title’s premise thus:

Staring into a fractured mirror of her life, the world’s first superhero, Furious, seeks to atone for her past sins by doling out rage-fueled justice! But the spotlight of our celebrity-obsessed media threatens to undo her noblest efforts and expose her true identity before she can achieve redemption.

Furious #1 is priced at $3.99 and will hit stores 29 January, 2014.

Also this week comes an early look at Skyman #1, by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (Elk’s Run, Echoes, Tumor) and penciler Manuel Garcia (Mystique, Bloodshot). Spinning out from the pages of Captain Midnight, the four-issue Skyman miniseries features the story of Captain Eric Reid: a wounded military veteran on the ropes, looking for a new lease on life. Reid must fight off his personal demons to have any chance of surviving the potentially deadly initiation into the Skyman Program.

Skyman #1 is priced at $2.99 and will hit stores 15 January, 2014.

BOOM! Studios joins CBLDF, reveals release details for Okko, Vol. 4: The Cycle of Fire

From the press release dated 8 January, 2014:

cbldf_logoThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) announced today that BOOM! Studios has joined the organization as their newest corporate member!

BOOM! Studios Founder & Chief Executive Officer Ross Richie says, “The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a vital champion for the rights we as publishers, and our retailer partners depend upon to do business.  We have always believed that their work helps make it possible for the direct market to support the diversity of content we’re able to publish, and we’re pleased to make a meaningful impact in their important work with this support.”

CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein says, “BOOM! Studios has distinguished itself for its commitment to the direct market by publishing one of the fastest rising and diverse publishing lines in comics.  As CBLDF’s latest corporate member, they are taking a leadership position in helping us protect the freedom to read comics.  We’re thrilled to have them aboard.”

BOOM! Studios joins industry leaders Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Dark Horse, DC Entertainment, Discount Comic Book Service, Diamond Comic Distributors, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Random House, Valiant, and TFAW.com as Corporate Members supporting the CBLDF’s important work of protecting the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers.

To make a contribution to these important efforts, please visit www.cbldf.org.

From the press release dated 9 January, 2014:

Okko_Vol_4_CoverAward-winning publisher Archaia Entertainment, an imprint of BOOM! Studios, is pleased to announce the February debut of the OKKO VOLUME 4: THE CYCLE OF FIRE hardcover graphic novel. Available for the first time in English, the fourth volume of the series from writer and artist Hub continues the story of the ronin Okko and his group of demon hunters as they roam feudal Pajan.

“The OKKO series has been a perennial favorite of fans of Archaia’s translations of beautiful French comics,” said BOOM! Studios Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon. “We know that VOL. 4: THE CYCLE OF FIRE has been a long time coming, so we’re very excited to finally get this into the hands of the title’s most ardent readers.”

When two of Pajan’s great clans covertly agree to a marriage between their heirs to form a powerful alliance, Okko the ronin and his group of demon hunters are recruited to insure the security of the ceremony in the long-awaited fourth volume of the series that blends the fantasy and samurai genres.

Odds and Sods

More links to news from around the world of comics and related media:

  • NajaoriginalFrenchcoverEx-Archaia Entertainment executive Mike Kennedy and former BOOM! Studios veep Wes Harris talk to Heidi McDonald about their new joint venture, Magnetic Press, which will focus on bringing foreign comics material to the U.S. market. Their initial roll-out, slated for early Spring 2014, consists of three titles:  Naja (published in Europe by Dargaud) and Meka (published in Europe by Delcourt) from the French comics creator duo of writer J.D. Morvan and artist Bengal, and Super Ego by Brazilian comics creator Caio Oliveira. (Publishers Weekly)
  • Manga publisher Seven Seas Entertainment begins its yearlong 10th anniversary celebration with a new website and an announcement that it will be releasing over 100 books in 2014. (GoManga.com)
  • ICv2 has a brief retrospective listing the “Top Ten Comics Business Events of 2013 Based on Impact.” (ICv2) [For a more in-depth examination of some of the events raised in the ICv2 article, check out our recap of the year’s biggest comics industry stories—ed.]
  • Dark Horse may be losing the Star Wars license to Marvel in 2015, but it sure is making the most of the remaining time it has with the property: The long-awaited finale of the prematurely cancelled Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series will take place in a four-issue miniseries coming this May. (Newsarama)
  • In more Dark Horse-related news, Kiel Phegley talks to Dark Horse president Mike Richardson and Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie about life after Star Wars, the “Year of the Horse” campaign that will be driving the company’s efforts through 2014, plans for attracting more female readers to comics, the growth of the publisher’s video game-based comics catalog, and more. (Comic Book Resources)
  • Comics-Marvel’s UltimatesMarvel will refresh its post-Cataclysm Ultimate Universe line-up with three new titles launching in April 2014: All-New Ultimates by writer Michael Fiffe and artist Amilcar Pinna, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist David Marquez, and Ultimate FF by writer Joshua Hale Fialkov and artist Mario Guevara. (Associated Press)
  • Comic-Con International will sell only single-day badges to this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, scheduled for July 24–27, 2014. Four-day passes will not be sold to the event, and passes to Preview Night (July 23) will be made available for purchase only to those who have already pre-registered for badges for all four days of the convention. (Comic-Con.org via Robot 6@CBR)
  • IGN, io9, and a bunch of other pop culture news outlets misreport a blogger’s Batman vs. Superman plot speculation as fact, leading to all sorts of online jackassery. (Newsarama)
  • Bamboo Dong and Christopher McDonald have a detailed recap and plenty of pictures from the recently concluded Otakon Vegas convention. (Anime News Network)
  • Our long national nightmare is over: outed plagiarist Shia LeBeouf passive-aggressively announced his “retirement from public life” (although it seems to us that all he’s actually doing is rage-quitting Twitter and other social media) in the wake of the controversy over his unlicensed, uncredited, and wholesale appropriation of elements of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novella Justin M. Damiano for one of his short films, his disingenuous (and copy-pasted) public apologies, and his subsequent clumsy attempts to spin the wholly embarrassing affair as some sort of performance art/fair use/freedom of speech thing. We’re really hoping his retirement from attention-whoring sticks, for his sake and ours, but we should only be so lucky. (The A.V. Club)
In case you missed them…

Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. This week, we added previews of five new titles: Halo: Initiation (Dark Horse), Star Wars Omnibus: Adventures (Dark Horse), An Aurora Grimeon Story: Will o’ the Wisp (BOOM!/Archaia), X, Vol. 1: Big Bad (Dark Horse), and Monsters! and Other Stories (Dark Horse).

Our resident toy reviewer Nick Saunders made his post-holiday return with a detailed look at The Bridge Direct’s Azog six-inch scale collectible action figure. Check those pictures out!

In the wake of last week’s announcements from Marvel and Dark Horse regarding the Star Wars comics license, Zedric took a step back and sketched out the bigger picture in his latest column on Dark Horse losing the Star Wars license.

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