The GeeksverseNews Round-up | Week of February 15, 2014

News Round-up | Week of February 15, 2014
Published on Saturday, February 15, 2014 by
Click through to read about the recent drop in direct market comics and graphic novel sales, the Eisner Hall of Fame inductee and nominee announcement, the latest international comic convention updates, and more.
Direct market print comics and graphic novel sales register significant drop for January
batman27cover

Batman #27 cover by Greg Capullo

Direct market “floppy” and graphic novel sales are down a combined 5.09% in January 2014 compared to the same period in 2012, according to a report from ICv2. In fact, only one “floppy,” DC Comics’ Batman #27, managed to sell more than 100,000 copies last month. The last time only one title broke through the 100,000 copies sold barrier was in August 2011.

Note, however, that these figures apply only to the direct market (i.e., shops that specialize in the sale of print comics) and even then, only the portion of the direct market that is served by Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc., North America’s largest print comics distributor. As we’ve previously reported, digital comics sales and print sales of trades and hardcovers outside of Diamond’s usual direct market domain—such as bookstores—are on a significant upswing. Sales of digital comics across all platforms registered a growth of 25% through the first three quarters of 2013 and sales of trade/hardcover collections and original graphic novels in bookstores posted an overall growth of 6% in the same time period.

While it’s too early to be certain what, if any, implications the January direct market sales drop holds for the larger comics industry as 2014 proceeds, we don’t think it off-base to cautiously interpret this NOT as a sign that comics sales are trending down overall, but as a sign that many readers are beginning to bypass comics shops and are instead choosing to buy their comics in digital format from digital outlets like comiXology or the various publisher-specific apps or alternatively, they’re opting to get their comics in sturdier, collected trade paperback or hardcover form from bookstores unaffiliated with Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc.

Eisner Hall of Fame direct inductees and nominees announced

The Eisner Awards’ blue ribbon panel of judges have revealed this year’s “Judges’ Choice” direct inductees for the Eisner Hall of Fame: Irwin Hasen (artist on The FlashThe Green HornetGreen Lantern, the comic strip Dondi, among others), Sheldon Moldoff (artist on Detective Comics, Batman, and House of Mystery, among others), and pioneering Golden Age of Comics publisher and editor Orrin C. Evans (All-Negro Comics).

The awards will be presented during this year’s Comic-Con International: San Diego, a.k.a. SDCC (July 24–27, 2014; San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, CA).

Normally, only two candidates are selected by the judges for direct induction into the Hall of Fame every year (with the four remaining inductees determined by the Eisner Awards voting body), but the panel decided to expand the direct inductee selection to three choices this year. This isn’t the first year that the judges have included more than two direct inductees into the Hall of Fame: in 1999, there were a total of six Judges’ Choice inductees (Jack Cole, L.B. Cole, Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, Mac Raboy, and Alex Schomburg) and in 2005, Asterix creators René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo were jointly inducted along with Lou Fine as Judges’ Choices.

The judges have also announced the identities of the 14 nominees for the remaining four places in this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony:

  • Gus Arriola (Gordo)
  • Howard Cruse (Gay ComixStuck Rubber Baby, From Headrack to Claude)
  • Philippe Druillet (the Lone Sloane saga, Yragaël, the Salammbô trilogy)
  • Rube Goldberg (Mike and IkeBoob McNuttFoolish Questions)
  • Fred Kida (Airboy, Crime Does Not Pay, Ringo Kid)
  • Hayao Miyazaki (Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, The Journey of Shuna, The Wind Rises)
  • Tarpé Mills (Miss Fury)
  • Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, Watchmen, Batman: The Killing Joke)
  • Francoise Mouly (editor for the Raw comics anthology, art director for The New Yorker)
  • Dennis O’Neil (Green Lantern/Green Arrow, Iron Man, Daredevil)
  • Antonio Prohias (MAD magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy”)
  • Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei YatsuraRanma ½InuYasha)
  • George Tuska (Crime Does Not Pay, The World’s Greatest Superheroes comic strip, Iron Man)
  • Bernie Wrightson (Swamp Thing, House of Secrets, House of Mystery)

The remaining four Hall of Fame selections will be chosen from the nominee list by the Eisner Awards voting body, a group consisting of professionals working in comics or related fields as writers, artists, colorists, letterers, publishers, editors, retailers, graphic novel collection librarians, comics historians, or educators. Online voting ends on March 31. [Anybody else surprised, or shocked even, that influential, internationally celebrated creators like Rube Goldberg, Philippe Druillet, Hayao Miyazaki, Alan Moore, Dennis O’Neil, Rumiko Takahashi, and Bernie Wrightson aren’t already in the Eisner Hall of Fame?—ed.]

International comic convention news and updates

TICA2014logo Last week’s Taipei International Comics and Animation (TICA) festival drew over 400,000 visitors and generated approximately NT$180 million (US$5.92 million) in revenue, according to festival organizers. (Focus Taiwan)

 Mark Waid, David Lloyd, and John Layman talk about their experiences at the recently-concluded Comic Con India, held in New Delhi. Some very interesting insights and observations. (Business Standard)

British-Swiss publishing firm Informa has purchased the Dallas Comic-Con as well as the Sci-Fi Expo and Fan Days from operator C2 Ventures. (Dallas News) Last year, Informa acquired Canadian event operator Hobbystar Marketing, and along with it, Fan Expo Canada and Fan Expo Vancouver.

 Rich Johnston makes a case for why comics fans looking for a California-based alternative to this summer’s SDCC should consider going to the Wondercon in Anaheim (April 18–20, 2014; Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA). It’s cheaper, the focus is primarily on comics, the crowds and lines are more manageable, and it has a great line-up of guests (including Jim Lee, Mark Waid, James Robinson, and Gail Simone). (Bleeding Cool)

Odds and Sods

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

skyman01variantcover‣ Joshua Hale Fialkov briefly discusses racial politics in the comics industry in a promo piece for Skyman. (Comic Riffs/The Washington Post) [Click here to read our review of Skyman #1—ed.]

Get a first look at the cover for Image Comics’ Noah, the graphic novel co-written by acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan) with art by Niko Henrichon (Pride of Baghdad). The film adaptation of the graphic novel, which stars Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, Jennifer Connelly, and Anthony Hopkins, hits theaters March 28. (Entertainment Weekly)

‣ Dreamworks Animation to launch its own publishing firm called Dreamworks Press (press release). Representatives from IDW and Ape Entertainment have said that this development will not affect their licenses to publish Dreamworks Animated-based comics. (ICv2)

‣ Hasbro officially reveals pics of the tie-in action figure line for the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy film, based on the Marvel Comics property. (Yahoo! Movies)

‣ The Australian government has commissioned the creation of a digital comic book intended to discourage Afghan refugees from seeking asylum in Australia. (The Guardian) Reporter Gary Cox compiles the reaction of refugees living in Australia in an article for SBS.

‣ David Harper has a thoughtful post on the diminishing role of the superhero comics artist and the relative decrease in artist page rates despite the continued popularity of Marvel and DC’s superhero properties. (Multiversity Comics)

Effective April 1, 2014, manga publisher and anime licensor VIZ Media will transition its episodic anime entertainment (marketed under the “Neon Alley” brand) in the United States to both the free, ad-supported Hulu and the subscription-based Hulu Plus Video-On-Demand platforms. US-based viewers will soon be able to watch a variety of VIZ Media’s licensed anime for free on NeonAlley.com and on any Internet-enabled device that supports the Hulu app. Canadian viewers are advised to wait for further announcements regarding the availability of Neon Alley programming in their area. (VIZ.com)

Gintamavol01coverEnglish‣ Man arrested for uploading scans of ten volumes of Hideaki Sorachi’s Gin Tama manga to file-sharing service, charged with copyright infringement. (Crunchyroll)

‣ Justin Stroman has a round-up of the legal sites where readers can read manga for free. Yup, you read that right: The sites are legal and offer free manga (although some have restricted features). Some of these sites are already popular in the mainstream, such as Crunchyroll’s “manga-streaming” service, but there are some hidden gems in Stroman’s list as well. (Manga Bookshelf)

‣ The Toucan blog has posted Part 1 of a very extensive and detailed interview with Kelly Sue DeConnick. (Toucan/Comic-Con.org)

‣ Images confirming the appearance of Hasbro’s upcoming Leader-class Generations Jetfire toy have surfaced on eBay, with pictures subsequently popping up on 4chan. (TFW2005) Anticipation for the release has been high ever since a Hasbro database error leaked a listing for the in-development figure late last year.

‣ Beth Scorzato catches up with executives from Humanoids, the modern incarnation of iconic French comics publisher Les Humanoïdes, and writes about the company’s plans for the US and UK markets. (Publishers Weekly)

‣ Essential reading for anyone looking to use Kickstarter to fund a comics project: Jimmy Palmiotti, who has had five graphic novels funded successfully through Kickstarter, talks about the practical lessons he has learned about the crowdfunding process whilst promoting his new Kickstarter campaign for the mature readers-rated sci-fi graphic novel Denver. (Den of Geek)

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 our friends at Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Avatar Press, and Oni Press:

 An early, press-exclusive Dark Horse Comics preview of The Witcher #1 written by Eisner Award-winner Paul Tobin (Bandette, Colder, Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon), with art by Joe Querio (Lobster Johnson: Tony Masso’s Finest Hour) and covers by Eisner Award-winning cover artist Dave Johnson (100 Bullets):

Based on CD Projekt’s best-selling RPG The Witcher and first announced at last year’s NYCC, the new series will feature

… a new adventure featuring Geralt of Rivia—a witcher, one of the few remaining monster hunters.

Traveling near the edge of the Black Forest, in the land of the Angren, monster hunter Geralt meets a widowed man whose dead and murderous wife resides in an eerie mansion known as the House of Glass, a place of endless rooms where horror waits around every corner. Geralt will have to use all his witcher prowess to solve the manor’s mystery and survive.

The Witcher #1 will be available for purchase on March 19 with a cover price of $3.99.

‣ Dark Horse reveals images of the next wave of Game of Thrones figures, set for July release:

From the press release:

… five new [Game of Thrones] figures will debut to the trade in February at the International Toy Fair, held at Jacob Javits Center in New York.

The nonarticulated figures represent a moment in time from the show, perfectly capturing each character’s true personality. Each figure measures approximately 7.5 inches tall and is based on the likeness of the respective actors. Figures slated for a July 2014 release include Cersei Baratheon, Arya Stark, Robb Stark, Jaime Lannister, and the White Walker. The suggested retail price for each figure is $24.99.

‣ BOOM! announces Day Men #3 release date and retailer promotion:

From the press release:

BOOM_Day_Men_003_NOT_FINAL

Day Men #3 cover art (not final) by Brian Stelfreeze

BOOM! Studios is pleased to announce a special retailer promotion tied to the March 5th release of DAY MEN #3, the breakout series by Matt Gagnon, Michael Alan Nelson, and Brian Stelfreeze about humans who act as protectors for vampires. The top 50 retailers who order DAY MEN #3 will receive one free signed copy each of the upcoming DAY MEN: PEN & INK #1, the first in a new, limited line of publications designed to spotlight some of the comic book industry’s best creators and their work on BOOM! titles. Retailers who qualify for this promotion will be the first individuals to get an advance look at BOOM!’s PEN & INK program.

DAY MEN: PEN & INK #1 will feature uncolored line work from issues #1 and #2 of DAY MEN by artist Stelfreeze (Wednesday Comics, Batman: Shadow of the Bat), along with annotations from he and writers Gagnon (FREELANCERS) and Nelson (Supergirl, PROTOCOL: ORPHANS) in an oversized 11” x 17”, saddle-stitched, prestige presentation. Retailers have until the end of the day on Monday, February 10th to finalize their orders for DAY MEN #3.

In DAY MEN #3, war continues to rage throughout the vampire underground, as David Reid’s role as a Day Man for the Virgo family comes into question. And a game-changing secret is uncovered that could turn the tide of the war, but in whose favor? David will have to survive the day to find out. DAY MEN #3 arrives in comic shops on March 5th with a cover price of $3.99 under Diamond order code JUL130927.

‣ Paul Jenkins, Humberto Ramos launch Kickstarter campaign for Fairy Quest, Vol. 2: Outcasts:

From the BOOM! Studios press release sent on behalf of Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos:

Beginning [February 12], veteran writer Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origin, Revelations) and Humberto Ramos (The Spectacular Spider-Man) launch a Kickstarter campaign to make the second chapter of their beloved fantasy tale a reality. FAIRY QUEST VOL. 2: OUTCASTS is the follow-up to the first volume of the series, FAIRY QUEST: OUTLAWS.

The first Kickstarter campaign was one of the first instances where two high-profile, veteran creators went to fund a series that couldn’t exist any other way. The initial campaign was a huge success with over $95,000 raised for the passion project. The second six-week campaign is seeking to raise $60,000 to cover the costs of creative, printing, manufacturing of the rewards, and shipping. As with the first project, backers will have access to a number of exclusive items available only through Kickstarter. After the success of the first Kickstarter, BOOM! Studios proudly serialized the first chapter across two single issues and a soft cover edition for wider distribution.

FAIRY QUEST is set in the world of Fablewood, where all of the stories that have ever been told live side-by-side, separated only by genre borders. At the very center of this amazing world, the Children’s stories are forced to tell their tales exactly as written, or risk having their minds wiped in Mister Grimm’s dreaded Mind Eraser. Two outlaws—Red Riding Hood (Red) and the Wolf (Mister Woof)—seek to end this tyranny and escape to a place where they can remain as friends forever. When we last left Red and Woof, they were about to enter the Dark Forest to find the Map Maker who will show them how to escape to the safe haven of Realworld. What lies ahead for them in the Dark Forest?

The FAIRY QUEST VOL. 2 OUTCASTS Kickstarter campaign features a variety of rewards that will appeal to both fans of the first volume and those who are hearing about FAIRY QUEST for the first time. Aside from copies of an exclusive Kickstarter hardcover and other great collectible items, trips to C2E2 in Chicago and Comic-Con International in San Diego are up for grabs.

‣ Archaia and kaBOOM! Free Comic Book Day releases revealed:

From the press release:

BOOM! Studios and its imprints, KaBOOM! and Archaia, are pleased to announce their offerings for this year’s Free Comic Book Day, which takes place May 3rd, 2014 at participating comic book shops everywhere.

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book specialty shops across North America and around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. It traditionally takes place on the first Saturday in May, which falls on May 3rd this year.

The 48-page KABOOM! 2014 SUMMER BLAST contains:

  • KaBOOM_FCBD2014_CoverA preview of STEVEN UNIVERSE, written by Rebecca Sugar and illustrated by Lamar Abrams. This is a new title based on the current Cartoon Network series that KaBOOM! will debut in July.
  • An excerpt from the ADVENTURE TIME comic, created by Pendleton Ward, and written and illustrated by James the Stanton.

  • An excerpt from the spin-off limited series ADVENTURE TIME: THE FLIP SIDE, created by Pendleton Ward, written by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, and illustrated by Wook Jin Clark.
  • A excerpt from the REGULAR SHOW comic, created by JG Quintel, and written and illustrated by Jake Wyatt.

  • An excerpt from the HEROBEAR AND THE KID: SAVING TIME comic (launching in April), written and illustrated by Mike Kunkel.
  • An excerpt from the GARFIELD comic, created by Jim Davis, written by Mark Evanier, and illustrated by Genevieve FT.

  • An excerpt from the PEANUTS comic, created by Charles M. Schulz, and written and illustrated by Vicki Scott.
  • Sneak previews of two, new comic series that we can’t announce yet! More news to come on those in the coming weeks.

The 48-page MOUSE GUARD, LABYRINTH, AND OTHER STORIES: A HARDCOVER ANTHOLOGY contains:

  • Archaia_FCBD2014_CoverAn original MOUSE GUARD short story written and illustrated by David Petersen.
  • An original JIM HENSON’S LABYRINTH short story written by Adam Smith and illustrated by Kyla Vanderklugt.
  • An original RUST short story written and illustrated by Royden Lepp.
  • An original BOLIVAR short story written and illustrated by Sean Rubin. (The original graphic novel will be released in 2015.)
  • An original AN AURORA GRIMEON STORY: WILL O’ THE WISP short story written by Tom Hammock and illustrated by Megan Hutchison.
  • A new FARSCAPE short story written and illustrated by Ramón Pérez. (The first time Archaia has interpreted the FARSCAPE universe.)

Be sure to visit your participating local comic shop on Saturday, May 3rd to get your FREE copies of KABOOM! 2014 SUMMER BLAST and MOUSE GUARD, LABYRINTH, AND OTHER STORIES: A HARDCOVER ANTHOLOGY.

‣ BOOM! announces March launch of The Returning by Jason Starr and Andrea Mutti:

From the press release:

BOOM! Studios is excited to announce the March debut of THE RETURNING, a four-issue limited series that gives near-death experiences a horrifying new twist. Writer Jason Starr (Wolverine Max, The Chill)  and artist Andrea Mutti (Conan, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) create a world that’s part Carrie, part Hellblazer, part Crossed, and steeped in a mystery that will keep readers guessing until the end.

WHY WE LOVE IT: We can’t get enough innovative mashups of some of our favorite genres: Fantasy, Horror, and Mystery. Plus, we’re fascinated with the science of NDE’s!

WHY YOU WILL LOVE IT: Award-winning novelist Jason Starr (Wolverine Max, The Chill) and artist Andrea Mutti (Conan, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) deliver a gripping but deeply human drama set in an uncertain world.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT: It’s the near future, and some people who have had Near-Death Experiences have come back “changed.” They exhibit extreme behavioral changes, becoming increasingly paranoid and violent, and no one knows why. People who have had NDE’s fall immediately under suspicion, and in some cases, are murdered by justice-seeking vigilantes. It is in this world where Beth, a quiet high school student with a bright future, will learn just how quickly friends and family will turn on her when she has the bad luck of surviving the worst night of her life…

THE RETURNING #1 arrives in comic shops on March 12th with a cover price of $3.99 under Diamond order code JAN140992.

 Trade collection of The Extinction Parade by Max Brooks and Raulo Caceres now available for preorder:

From the press release supplied by Avatar Press:

ExtinctionParade-vol-1New York Times Bestselling Author of World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide Max Brooks, along-side artist Raulo Caceres (Crossed), create a violently original graphic novel horror series and a new subgenre of fiction: zombies vs. vampires.

In a world where the zombie plague has put the human race on the endangered species list, another predatory undead species realizes that to stand by idly means the end of their food supply.

Vastly outnumbered by the zombie hordes, vampires descend into all-out subdead war, with humanity caught in the crossfire. This series further examines Brooks’ fascination with the lethal races of the undead and brings his unique voice to comics at a time when horror fiction is at an all-time high in popularity.

Extinction Parade collects comics issues #1–5, as well as a massive undead zombies vs. vampires cover gallery!

The Extinction Parade collection (ISBN 978-1-59291-234-6) will be formatted as a 160 page, full-color trade paperback with a cover price of $19.99. [Click here to read our review of The Extinction Parade #1—ed.]

 The Bunker #1 by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari sells out at the distributor level:

From the press release supplied by Oni Press:

thebuner01_2ndprnt

The Bunker #1, 2nd Printing cover by Joe Infurnari

Oni Press is thrilled to announce that the entire first printing of Joshua Hale Fialkov and Joe Infurnari’s critically-acclaimed THE BUNKER #1 has sold out at the distributor level!

‘WOW! It’s wonderful that our little-story-that-could continues to find new readers and fans. We’re going to need a bigger BUNKER!,’ said Infurnari.

‘The overwhelming response to the first issue warms my heart,’ continued Fialkov. ‘Joe and I have built something that we love, and Oni has helped us get it into a lot of new hands. We’re so grateful for all of our readers’ and retailers’ love and support.’

A second printing of the creator-owned sci-fi phenomenon—featuring a new cover by Infurnari (pictured)—is expected on March 12th, so fans and retailers that missed it the first time can hop aboard before issue #2 hits stands on March 26.

Diamond Order Codes

  • The Bunker #1 – Second Printing: JAN148063
  • The Bunker #2 – JAN141259
  • The Bunker #3 – FEB141357
In case you missed them…

 Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers.

On the latest Leaving Proof, Zedric writes about how writer G. Willow Wilson making Kamala Khan—the newest character to take up the Ms. Marvel mantle—a “typical teen” makes her all that more remarkable.

Toy coverage: Joe reviews Hasbro’s Transformers: Prime—Beast Hunters Prowl and shares images of The Lego Movie minifigures.

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