The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of Jan. 25, 2014

NEWS Round-up | Week of Jan. 25, 2014
Published on Saturday, January 25, 2014 by
Marc Nobleman campaigns for Bill Finger to be recognized as Batman’s co-creator, the latest comic convention and event updates, Crunchyroll adds three new titles to its manga-streaming service, and more.
Nobleman campaigns for Bill Finger to get recognition as Batman’s co-creator

Marc Tyler Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, recently talked to the Washington Post‘s Comic Riff’s blog about his ongoing efforts to get the late comics writer Bill Finger recognized, both legally and in popular culture, as the co-creator of Batman, alongside the more famous Bob Kane. Some excerpts below.

On the campaign to get Bill Finger his own commemorative Google Doodle on the upcoming occasion of what would be his 100th birthday (08 February 2014):

BillBoyWonderBy now, Google Doodles are such a part of everyweek life that the idea was bound to hit me at one point. In early 2012, before “Bill the Boy Wonder” came out, I proposed a Doodle in conjunction with the opening of [the film] “The Dark Knight Rises.” That didn’t happen. So in 2013, I re-pitched it for an even more momentous occasion — in fact, a triple occasion in 2014: [Finger’s] 100th birthday, the 40th anniversary of his death, and the 75th anniversary of Batman.

I contacted comics media to help me build momentum, and just about everybody I asked has been kind to help. I’ve seen hundreds of tweets and been copied on emails to Google. It’s been a thrill to see this gain so much support.

On getting Finger legally recognized as Batman’s co-creator:

As it currently stands, even the mighty Christopher Nolan could not legally credit Bill as co-creator. However, prior to “The Dark Knight,” I asked DC if they could use non-subjective language to acknowledge Bill. I proposed: “Batman was first called ‘the Dark Knight’ in Batman #1, in 1940, in a story written by Bill Finger.” DC publications already regularly credit Bill for that story, and the movie’s title doesn’t even include the word “Batman” — it is wholly a phrase coined by Bill Finger. Alas, they said no.

It’s a commonly held fact in the comics community that Finger, who died indigent and relatively unknown in 1974, was responsible for the initial ideas for the character design elements today’s readers associate with Batman but due to the way attribution in the studio system worked at the time (Kane frequently used uncredited “ghost artists” for his work), he and the artists who worked out of Kane’s studio like Jerry Robinson, George Roussos, Dick Sprang, and Sheldon Moldoff are largely anonymous outside of comics circles despite the fact that they had just as much, if not more, to do with the original creation and design of the Batman universe as Kane himself.

Robinson, who passed away in 2011, mentioned in a 2006 interview that

[Bill Finger] created most everything for [Bob Kane]. He was definitely a full co-creator. [He] had more to do with the molding of Batman than Bob. He just did so many things at the beginning. As an artist, I can appreciate what goes into that. Aside from creating almost all the other characters, creating the whole persona, the whole temper, the history, origin of Batman. Everything. It made it a success from the beginning.

Artist Ty Templeton's interpretation of Bob Kane's original design for "The Bat-Man," based on Bill Finger's account as recorded in The Steranko History of Comics.

Artist Ty Templeton’s recreation of Bob Kane’s original design for “The Bat-Man,” based on Bill Finger’s account (image from Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman).

Robinson also noted in the interview that the sketches that Bob Kane allegedly drew in 1934 and 1938 that he presented as proof that he alone created the famous Batman design were, in fact, forgeries: They were sketches that Kane actually drew several years after Batman’s first comics appearance, back-dated to support his (spurious) claim as the sole creator of the character, an allegation corroborated by author Gerard Jones in his book Men of Tomorrow.

In truth, it was Finger who came up with the ideas for the character’s distinctive cowl, the scalloped cape, and black-gray color scheme (which Finger admitted was inspired by Lee Falk’s The Phantom). According to Bill Finger’s account as recorded in The Steranko History of Comics (1970), Kane’s original design sketch for “The Bat-Man” had the character wearing a domino mask, no gloves, actual “bat wings,” and a red bodysuit. Besides Batman, Finger also co-created the numerous Batman villains such as Joker (with Kane, although this is disputed by artist Jerry Robinson), the Penguin (with Kane), the Riddler (with Dick Sprang), the Scarecrow (also with Kane), and Calendar Man.

International comic convention news and updates

The short list of candidates for this year’s Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, one of the most prestigious awards in comics that counts Will Eisner, Philippe Druillet, Albert Uderzo, and Akira Toriyama among past winners, has been revealed: Calvin and Hobbes cartoonist Bill Watterson, Akira creator Katsuhiro Otomo, and writer Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen). The recipient of the honor will be announced at the Angoulême International Comics Festival (Jan. 30–Feb. 2, 2014). (BoDoï)

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The Small Press Expo organizers are rolling out a new table registration process that will involve a lottery, to accommodate growing demand. Registration opens on January 24 through to February 14, so make sure to read up on the new procedure if you have plans to exhibit to avoid confusion and disappointment. SPX 2014 is set to run from September 14–15, 2014 at the Marriott Bethesda North Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, North Bethesda, MD 20852. (The SPX Tumblr)

The British Library will be staging a summer show entitled “Comics Unmasked: Art and Anarchy in the UK,” which will feature over 200 titles, everything from Victorian era proto-comics to contemporary British comics fare such as the works of Pat Mills, Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Neil Gaiman, Mark Millar, and Grant Morrison, with an emphasis on comics that were and continue to be viewed as transgressive and controversial (hence the exhibit’s title). The exhibit will run from May 2, 2014 through to August 19, 2014 and is curated by John Harris Dunning (Salem Brownstone, Lolajean Riddle) and comics journalist and promoter Paul Gravett. (The Guardian and The Telegraph)

A summary of the week’s press releases

Straight from our inbox to your eyeballs, here’s a list summarizing notable e-mail press releases of the week from Dark Horse Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, BOOM! Studios, IDW Publishing, and multiple Eisner Award-winning artist Steve Rude:

Dark Horse Comics and Dynamite Entertainment revealed their plans for an inter-company crossover by the Eisner Award-winning Tiny Titans team of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. Captain Action Cat: Timestream CATastrophe will feature an anthropomorphic feline version of Stan Weston creation Captain Action, traveling through time in pursuit of his enemy Evil Cat (a cat version of Captain Action nemesis, Dr. Evil, naturally). Along the way, he will meet and team up with Action Cat, the characters of Baltazar and Aureliani’s Aw Yeah Comics, and the Dark Horse Comics characters Ghost, X, the Occultist, and Captain Midnight. Captain Action Cat: The Timestream CATastrophe #1 will be solicited in Diamond Comic Distributors’ February Previews catalog and is slated for release on 16 April, 2014.

CACatTC02 Cover

Dark Horse Comics announced the launch of the Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z three-issue digital comic miniseries and confirmed the launch date for the Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z game for the Playstation 3, XBox 360, and Windows PC (via Steam). Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z #1—by writers Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons, artist Rafael Ortiz, colorist Carlos Badilla, and cover artist James Harren—is available now for free on the Dark Horse Digital Store as well as through the Dark Horse Digital app for iOS and Android devices. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z game is published by Tecmo Koei and is being jointly developed by Team Ninja, Comcept (the company founded by Megaman creator Keiji Inafune), and Spark Unlimited. It will ship with a print copy of the Dark Horse comic and will hit retail on 18 March, 2014. It is rated M for Mature by the ESRB and has been provisionally rated PEGI 18 in Europe, Quebec, and Israel.

YNGZCC Cover

Dark Horse will be holding a “Twitter press conference” in the lead up to the January 29 retail launch of its new superhero comic, Furious 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). The online discussion is set for 27 January, 7 PM EST (@FURIOUScomic; use #whoisfurious to participate).

furio_press_con_teaser

You can read the press-exclusive early preview of Furious #1 here.

Dark Horse recently donated its entire digital comics catalog to the Children’s Cancer Association, along with four iPads. Access to Dark Horse’s cloud-based digital comics collection will be available to seriously ill children, teens, and their families across 33 pediatric hospitals in the United States.

Dark Horse provided us with an early, press-exclusive preview for The White Suits #1 by writer Frank Barbiere (Divine Intervention, Five Ghosts) and artist Toby Cypress (Blue Estate, Popgun), due in stores February 19 with a list price of $3.99.

The White Suits first appeared in Dark Horse Presents #11 (April 2012), and the upcoming miniseries is described by Barbiere as “a visually arresting action/crime comic” with “a lot of noir influence” which revolves around

… an enigmatic gang of killers known as the White Suits. This gang has a rich and varied history, first appearing in cold war era Russia, and has resurfaced in the present day in New York City where they are slowly taking over criminal territory and slaughtering anyone in their way. Our two lead characters are people who’ve had their lives touched by the Suits and want revenge.

BOOM! Studios imprint Archaia Entertainment sent along a “visual teaser” hinting at a 2014 project related to The Jim Henson Company. Check it out:

2014_Henson_Teaser

Archaia has received critical and industry accolades for its collaborations with The Jim Henson Company—of particular note is Ramón K. Pérez’ graphic novel adaptation of Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s Tale of Sand screenplay, which won Eisner Awards in 2012 for Best Graphic Album, Best Penciller/Inker, and Best Publication Design.

BOOM! Studios imprint Archaia Entertainment announced the February debut of The Joyners in 3D, the first, full-length, original graphic novel to be presented in red-blue anaglyph 3D. The book is the culmination of almost three years of research, development, and painstaking execution by writer R.J. Ryan (Syndrome) and New York Times best-selling artist David Marquez (Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, All-New X-Men). Set in the future of 2062, The Joyners in 3D is the complete account of the sudden unraveling of the “perfect” family of the future, and the selfishness, narcissism, and relentless pursuit of success in the business world that brings about a brilliant engineer’s professional demise. The Joyners in 3D arrives in comic shops on 19 February, 2014 with a cover price of $29.95 under Diamond order code SEP130875. Every copy ships with a pair of custom “his” and “hers” 3D glasses.

Joyners_in_3D_GN_Cover

IDW confirms the March 2014 release of Lora Innes’ The Dreamer Vol. 3: The Battle of Harlem Heights (ISBN 9781613778869), the third and final hardcover collecting the Eisner-nominated online comic’s “The Consequence of Nathan Hale” story arc. The book will be available in comic book stores as well as book trade venues.

GN3_Cover_FLAT

The solicitation for The Dreamer Vol. 3: The Battle of Harlem Heights can be read here. Book Four in the series is tentatively scheduled for a 2016 release.

dark-horse-the-moth-tpb-1

Rude and Martin’s The Moth miniseries was collected in trade by Dark Horse in 2005.

Steve Rude recently announced via his e-mail newsletter that he and long-time collaborator Mike Baron will take an indefinite hiatus from creating new Nexus stories once the current Nexus/Clayborn storyline running through the Dark Horse Presents anthology concludes, bringing to a (hopefully temporary) suspension a collaborative run that spanned 33 years and earned the duo Eisner Awards in 1993 for “Best Single Issue” (for Nexus: The Origin) and “Best Writer/Artist Team” (Rude also earned Best Penciller/Inker Eisner Awards for his work on various Nexus titles in 1988, 1993, and 1997).

Baron will be focusing on writing novels for now and the immediate future. Rude, on the other hand, will be illustrating, lettering, and co-plotting a new The Moth series to be scripted and co-plotted by original The Moth miniseries writer Gary Martin. While the 2004 The Moth miniseries (and the subsequent trade paperback collection) was published by Dark Horse Comics, this new project will be published in association with John Fleskes, founder and president of specialty/high-end art book publishing firm Flesk Publications.

Odds and Sods

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

The Wellcome Library—one of the world’s leading collections of medical history—is making freely available more than 100,000 images depicting medical procedures over the centuries. These include ancient manuscripts, works by Goya and Van Gogh, and satirical cartoons and etchings by famed 19th century caricaturist and “proto-comic book” artist George Cruikshank. (BBC)

Crunchyroll adds Tsutomu Mutsuki Is This Girl for Real?, Hitori Renda’s Okitenemuru and Rie Kanou’s Star Light Woman to its pioneering manga-streaming service that already includes such popular titles as Attack on Titan, Fairy Tail, and UQ Holder. Also, all of its Kodansha Comics titles will now be available for streaming in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, China, Brazil, and Mexico. (Crunchyroll forums)

Ryan North, Christopher Hastings, and Anthony Clark talk about their new webcomic Dig Dug, based on the 1982 video game arcade classic of the same name. The webcomic is published under Namco Bandai’s ShiftyLook imprint. (Comics Alliance)

Elizabeth Withey spotlights Ugandan artist Andrew Jackson Obol, the current artist-in-residence at Edmonton’s Happy Harbour Comics. Withey notes that Happy Harbour Comics is unique among comics shops in Canada, and perhaps North America, in offering an artist-in-residence program. (Edmonton Journal)

The Cartoon Network has pulled a controversial variant cover for IDW’s Powerpuff Girls #6 drawn by Mimi Yoon, after a retailer complained on Facebook that the image “[sexualizes] pre-teen girls.” IDW Publishing’s Vice President of Marketing Dirk Wood responded by saying that the offending variant “was actually a Cartoon Network mandated cover, by an artist of their choosing.” (ICv2)

powerpuff6mimiyooncover

In case you missed them…

A busy week meant a paucity of new, original content from us the past several days, but we’ve got a bunch of new trade paperback and hardcover previews, including a 26-page preview of Amala’s Blade: Spirits of Naamaron, a 25-page preview of B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth, Vol. 7: A Cold Day in Hell, and a 35-page preview of Conan, Vol. 15: The Nightmare of the Shallows.

Check back regularly and often next week, as we’ll be posting a new Leaving Proof column, a new First Impressions review feature, and the first trades and hardcovers review feature of 2014.

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