The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of March 1, 2014

NEWS Round-up | Week of March 1, 2014
Published on Saturday, March 1, 2014 by
News of the death of a pioneering comics journalist, the latest updates on Wizard World Sacramento and SXSW Interactive, new title announcements from Dark Horse and BOOM! Studios, and more topics await you after the jump.
R.I.P. Bhob Stewart (1937–2014), comics journalist, editor, and cartoonist

bhobstewartEditor, cartoonist, and pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart passed away at the age of 76 earlier this week after a long battle with lung disease. Tributes are pouring in from across the industry, with personalities such as Batton Lash, Larry Hama, and Trina Robbins sharing their thoughts on Stewart on social media. Bill Pearson has also written an insightful obituary over at The Comics Journal, succinctly encapsulating his accomplishments in comics and other media as well as explaining the important role Stewart played in the spread of comics knowledge in his later years through his blog and his tireless efforts writing and editing comics-related entries for Wikipedia.

For those who want to sample Stewart’s brand of elevated comics journalism, The Comics Journal has re-posted an article he wrote in 1981, shortly after legendary comics artist (and subject of Stewart’s intense fascination) Wally Wood committed suicide. A good-sized excerpt from his 2003 book Against the Grain: MAD Artist Wallace Wood (TwoMorrows Publishing) is also available on Google Books.

International comic convention news and updates

Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, has some interesting insights and predictions about what the future holds for “mid-level” comic and pop culture conventions, which continue to grow both in number and popularity. (ICv2)

Akshay Dhar has a comprehensive feature article on last month’s Comic Con India held in New Delhi, complete with dozens of pictures and embedded video. (Bleeding Cool)

Zenescope Entertainment will screen the full-length pilot episode of the mature audiences-rated Grimm Fairy Tales Animated series on Saturday, March 8 during the Grimm Fairy Tales Animated Panel (5 PM, Panel Room #104) to be hosted by Zenescope writer Pat Shand as part of its slate of events and appearances at Wizard World Sacramento (March 7–9, 2014; Sacramento Convention Center, Sacramento, CA).

In addition to the 20 minute episode, the panel will also feature behind-the-scenes footage of Grimm Fairy Tales Animated voice actors Lena Headey and Chris Hardwick.

Zenescope will be exhibiting though the duration of the convention at Booth #605, where it will offer its newest trade paperback releases, high end art prints, hardcover collections, random giveaways, and exclusive comics, including an edition of Grimm Fairy Tales: Code Red #4 with artwork by the ultra-talented Michael Dooney (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) limited to just 350 copies, and only available at the convention. All attendees who purchase the issue will be eligible to win a limited edition art print.

sxswinteractive2014logo Comixology will be sponsoring the Geek Stage from March 7–9 at this year’s SXSW Interactive (March 7–11, 2014; Austin, TX). All events occurring on the stage will be covered on Comixology’s social media outlets. The industry’s leading digital comics distributor will also be giving out a number of free digital comics and graphic novels before and after the events happening on the Geek Stage [Hopefully nothing like last year’s Marvel Comics giveaway fiasco will happen this year—ed.] as well as $150,000 worth of $5 dollar gift credits to purchase comics on comiXology’s Amazon Appstore Android App.

Below is the complete list of comiXology’s SXSW Interactive events and giveaways, per the press release:

comixologysxswpromoimage1Friday, March 7 – 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Saturday & Sunday, March 8 – 9 – 12:00 PM – 8:00 PM
SXSW Gaming Expo – Palmer Events Center, Exhibit Hall 1
900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704

Get a front row seat and hear the latest on comiXology’s social channels throughout the weekend. (Free digital comics and graphics novels too!)

Follow the action on comiXology’s Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook.

Saturday, March 8 – 4:30PM – 5:15PM
SXSW Gaming Expo – The Geek Stage

Free & open to the public! Top grossing digital comics platform comiXology electrifies the SXSW GEEK Stage in this not-to-be-missed event! Join comiXology’s David Steinberger (co-founder & CEO) & John D. Roberts (co-founder) and moderator Chip Mosher as they unveil the next big thing for digital comics and graphic novels.

Saturday, March 8 – 5:00pm to 6:00pm
SXSW Gaming Expo – Near The Geek Stage

Right after the panel, enjoy a Texas-size beer with the comiXology crew as they celebrate another year at SXSW!

Join us at Booth #125 & 127 where we’ll be giving demos of the comiXology platform, and we’ll also be giving away $5 gift credits good for digital comics purchases on the Amazon appstore.

Odds and Sods

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

tombraider012014 Gail Simone originally didn’t want to write Dark Horse’s new Tomb Raider comic, but changed her mind after playing the game, according to her interview with Kristi Turnquist. (Oregon Live)

Kodansha USA to bring Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa’s The Heroic Legend of Arslan stateside. (Anime News Network)

Bandette artist Colleen Coover posts the full transcript of her interview with Paste magazine where she talks about the state of gender equality in the comics industry. (Colleen Coover tumblr)

 Mike Mantlo, brother and legal guardian of Rocket Raccoon co-creator Bill Mantlo, sets the record straight about how, contrary to some of the stories circulating online, the writer was actually well compensated by Marvel and his insurance carriers after the accident that cut his writing and legal career short. (The Beat)

Marvel’s new car-driving Ghost Rider to appear on the cover of Lowrider magazine. (Robot 6) [If nothing else, it marks a bit of a departure for Lowrider‘s usual cover fare (Somewhat NSFW-esque images in that second link, so be forewarned)—ed.]

Tuomas Holopainen, keyboardist for the popular Finnish prog-metal band Nightwish, to create a concept album based on Don Rosa’s graphic novel The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuckSet for an April 15 release, Music Inspired by The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck will feature an album cover illustrated by Rosa. (A.V. Club) The Eisner, Harvey, and Haxtur Award-winning Rosa publicly announced his retirement from professional comics work last year, stating that the licensing system used for his Disney comics work, which allowed licensees to use his name and work with minimal financial considerations and creative input, “broke [his] spirit.”

Barnes & Noble, the main brick-and-mortar retail outlet for original graphic novels and trade/hardcover collections of comics in many areas underserved by local comics shops, has posted a $63.2 million profit in the quarter that ended January 25. Good news, considering that it posted a loss of over $3 million in the same period last year. (ICv2)

The Indian comics industry continues to grow, with some observers currently valuing it at over $100 million, according to this piece by Anupriya Kumar. (Reuters)

 Marketing materials for the film adaptation of the graphic novel Noah to come with a lengthy disclaimer telling viewers that artistic license has been applied to its interpretation of the Biblical story, after lobbying by the National Religious Broadcasters organization that Paramount Pictures make it clear that the film is “an imaginative interpretation of Scripture, and not literal.” (A.V. Club) [Are they worried that viewers will mistake it for a documentary?—ed.]

Written by acclaimed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan, The Fountain) and screenwriter Ari Handel (The Fountain) with art by Niko Henrichon (Pride of Baghdad), the Noah graphic novel was originally published in French in 2011 by Franco-Belgian comics publisher Le Lombard. The English language edition of Noah, published by Image Comics, is set to hit stores on March 19, 2014. The film adaptation of the graphic novel is set to go on wide-release on March 28, 2014 and stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins,Emma Watson, and Ray Winstone.

‣ runDisney announces an Avengers-themed half-marathon scheduled for November 16, 2014 at DisneyLand Resort in Anaheim, California. There will also be superhero-themed kids’ races and a 5K event the day prior to the half-marathon. (Runner’s World

A compilation 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 more:

CAPS to launch eBay auction to benefit Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai and his family

From the Dark Horse Comics press release:

caps auction banner2

CAPS will be auctioning this rare original drawing of Bone by creator Jeff Smith who teamed his character up with Stan Sakai's Usagi Yojimbo.

CAPS will be auctioning this rare original drawing of Bone by creator Jeff Smith who teamed his character up with Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo.

On Thursday, March 6, 2014, Southern California’s CAPS, the Comic Art Professional Society, will launch an ongoing series of eBay auctions of original comic art. Its goal is to raise funds for medical care for Sharon Sakai, the wife of respected cartoonist and longtime CAPS member Stan Sakai, creator of the samurai rabbit USAGI YOJIMBO. Sharon has been battling a debilitating brain tumor for some time; after an extended hospital stay and convalescence, she is currently at home, but her condition requires 24-hour care and medicine that costs more than the Sakai’s insurance covers. 100% of the proceeds of these auctions will go directly to Stan and Sharon Sakai to help pay their ongoing medical expenses.

The CAPS auctions will be conducted through beginning on Thursday, March 6, with a new set of auctions every following Thursday. Each auction, sold under the seller name of “CAPSauction”, will be ten days in length with twenty to forty items in each set of auctions. The donations of original artwork and collectibles (including newly created art unique to this event, vintage comic book pages, comic strips, illustrations, animation art, limited edition statues, and IDW Artist’s editions books) number over three hundred with new items arriving every day.

Known for his exquisite work with female characters, J. Scott Campbell created this wonderful ink drawing to benefit Sharon & Stan Sakai in the CAPS auction.

Known for his exquisite work with female characters, J. Scott Campbell created this wonderful ink drawing to benefit Sharon & Stan Sakai in the CAPS auction.

Contributors include:  Adam Hughes, Alex Maleev, Arthur Adams, Batton Lash, Darwyn Cooke, Eric Powell, Jan Duursema, Jerry Ordway, Jordi Bernet, Matt Groening, Michael Allred, Mike Mignola, Paul Gulacy, Sanjuliàn, Scott Shaw!, Jim Steranko, Tim Sale, William Stout, Bill Sienkiewicz, Cameron Stewart,  Dan Brereton, Daniel Parsons, Dave Gibbons, Dean Yeagle, Doug Sneyd, Dustin Nguyen, Bill Morrison, Tone Rodriguez, Sergio Aragonés, Fabio Moon, Francisco Francavilla, Gene Ha, Geof Darrow, Gilbert Hernandez, Jack Davis, James O’Barr, Kevin Eastman, Jeff Lemire, Jeff Smith, Kazu Kibuishi, Liam Sharp, Tom Richmond, Michael Jantze, Olivia, Oscar Martin, Paul Chadwick, Richard Corben, Tom Mandrake, Walter Simonson, Charles Vess, Dan Spiegle, J. Scott Campbell and many more.

Many of the pieces featuring Usagi Yojimbo will appear in a new oversized hardcover book from Dark Horse, THE SAKAI PROJECT: ARTISTS CELEBRATE THIRTY YEARS OF USAGI YOJIMBO, which will be released on July 23, 2014. All proceeds from this book will go to Stan and Sharon Sakai. Much of the custom Usagi Yojimbo art created for this book will also be sold as a part of CAPS’ online auctions. These fund-raising auctions will be promoted through, and the CAPS – COMIC ART PROFESSIONAL SOCIETY Facebook page where you will be able to see updated information such as when certain pieces will be auctioned.

Taken in 2004 during healthier days, Stan & Sharon Sakai visiting the ancient aqueducts of Segovia, Spain.  photo credit: © 2004 Stan Sakai

Taken in 2004 during healthier days, Stan & Sharon Sakai visiting the ancient aqueducts of Segovia, Spain. photo credit: © 2004 Stan Sakai

Dark Horse releases early, press-exclusive preview of Blackout #1 by Frank Barbiere, Randy Stradley, Colin Lorimer, and Doug Wheatley

Blackout #1 hits shops 26 March, 2014 with a cover price of $2.99. First announced last year at NYCC, this new series features the eponymous character created by Dark Horse comics founder/president Mike Richardson which debuted in last May’s Dark Horse Presents #24. The miniseries follows directly from the events shown in Dark Horse Presents, and will find protagonist Scott Travers—who possesses the Blackout suit that allows him to “travel through this parallel [‘Blackout’] dimension… [giving him the ability to seemingly] disappear or appear out of nowhere”—dealing with the repercussions of his previous adventures.

Kel McDonald to release Misfits of Avalon graphic novel digitally—for free—in lead up to the October 2014 release of the Dark Horse Books print edition 

From the press release:

kelmcdonaldavalonKel McDonald (Sorcery 101, Fame and Misfortune, Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales) is bringing her young adult graphic novel series Misfits of Avalon to Dark Horse this fall, and starting today, McDonald will release the book online for free!

McDonald will release her graphic novel digitally on her website,, at the rate of one page a weekday until the release date in bookstores.

“I think part of what makes Misfits of Avalon special is that it is taking the magical-girl genre, which is very focused on the feminine, and combining it with girl characters who don’t entirely fit what we think of as girly,” noted author Kel McDonald.

In Misfits of Avalon, four modern-day, misfit teens are reluctant recruits to save the mystical isle of Avalon. Magically empowered—and chained to the task—by a set of rings and directed in their mission by a tight-lipped talking dog, they must stop the rise of King Arthur. But as they struggle to get used to their powers and each other, they’re faced with an even greater challenge: the discovery that they may not be the good guys in this story…

McDonald’s long-form, ongoing web comic, Sorcery 101, is about a chain-smoking sorcerer learning magic from a bigot vampire. It’s a mix of comedy and drama, and new material can be seen every Monday.

Misfits of Avalon is on sale in comic shops everywhere on October 8 and bookstores on October 21!

Read the exclusive interview with Kel McDonald on Publishers Weekly.

Dark Horse announces Toshiro, a new “steampunk horror” graphic novel by Jai Nitz and Janusz Pawlak

From the press release:

toshiropromo1Genres collide in an adventure where steam-powered tanks clash with katanas in the new graphic novel Toshiro from writer Jai Nitz (Dream Thief) and artist Janusz Pawlak!

“Toshiro bends and blends genres to make something altogether new. Janusz and I wanted to play with Victorian steampunk, alternate history, Lovecraftian monsters, and the magic of Tezuka’s Astro Boy to tell a story,” said Jai Nitz. “We wanted to wear our influences on our sleeves, but do the hard work of creating something new. I think this book will appeal to any fans of adventure.”

The mechano-samurai Toshiro travels a Victorian clockwork world, battling horrors too dark for mankind. With his mysterious partner, the world-famous adventurer Quicksilver Bob, Toshiro must face Earth’s greatest foe yet: the soul-stealing, zombie-creating jellyfish from beyond. Janusz Pawlak’s jagged inks and moody watercolors create a world of dread and mystery.

On sale June 4 in comic shops (Diamond code FEB140081) and June 17 in bookstores everywhere! Preorder your copy today!

Dark Horse announces new Emily and the Strangers miniseries for June

From the press release:

After a successful Kickstarter campaign raising more than $64,000 to produce an animated Emily and the Strangers music video, Emily creator Rob Reger returns, with cowriter Mariah Huehner (True Blood, Angel) and artist Cat Farris, for a brand-new Emily and the Strangers miniseries full of evil record companies, stray cat struts, science, and music!

EMILYATSBTR_01_FC_FNLEmily—and her new band, the Strangers—won the battle of the bands and received a record contract with Awesomely Awesome Records, but can the girl who just figured out how to get along with her friends manage dealing with a major corporation? And what’s the deal with the legions of stray cats around town?

Emily is not your average thirteen-year-old girl. Princess pink is her worst nightmare . . . She wears the same black dress every day . . . She loves math and science as much as playing music and skateboarding. Her best friends are her four black cats.

After twenty years as the hero for outcasts, Emily the Strange still promotes the ideals of “Be yourself, think for yourself, do it yourself.” Emily is so anticool, she’s cool . . . A subculture of one, and a follower of no one but herself.

There is also an Emily the Strange feature film currently in development at Universal Pictures, with a script written by Melisa Wallack (Mirror Mirror)!

Read the exclusive interview with Rob Reger and Mariah Huehner on Geek & Sundry!

Emily and the Strangers: Breaking the Record #1 is on sale June 25!

The Emily and the Strangers Volume 1: The Battle of the Bands hardcover is available May 14 in comic shops and May 27 in bookstores everywhere! Preorder your copy today!

Fairy Quest, Vol. 2: Outcasts fully funded on Kickstarter, Jenkins and Ramos announce stretch goals

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

Veteran comics creators Paul Jenkins (Wolverine: Origin, Deathmatch) and Humberto Ramos (The Spectacular Spider-Man) are excited to announce that the $60,000 Kickstarter campaign to publish a beautiful hardcover of their FAIRY QUEST VOL. 2: OUTCASTS fairy tale—the second volume in their epic Fablewood saga—has been successfully funded with three weeks still left to go. In response, the pair has announced a series of Stretch Goals that will add extra content to the book should the various milestones be met.

  • Fairy_Quest_Stretch_Goal_Graphic_3$60,000 – Now that this goal has been met, every backer who has contributed at least $30.00 will receive a free PDF of the completed FAIRY QUESTS VOL. 2 OUTCASTS book.
  • $75,000 – At this milestone, a custom tip-in bookplate will be added for everyone who has pledged $30 or more. The bookplate will feature a “handwritten” thank-you note from Paul that will not be available once the book comes out in wide release.
  • $90,000 – Fairy Quest is one book from the larger world of Fablewood. This ongoing saga chronicles the giant, uncharted forest where all of the stories that have ever been told live side by side, occasionally crossing the Genre Borders and interacting in a unified world. Future stories in the series are already underway, and the entire Fablewood Saga is planned to be published initially via Kickstarter. As thanks for getting to 150% of the original goal, pages of black-and-white art and background text on the Fablewood universe will be added to each Deluxe Edition of FAIRY QUEST: OUTCASTS.
  • $105,000 – If 175% of the original goal is met, bonus material from the $90,000 stretch goal will be added to EVERY copy (both the regular and deluxe editions) pledged during the raise.
  • $120,000 – In the event 200% of the original goal is met, pages listing the name of every backer from the FAIRY QUEST: OUTCASTS campaign will be added to every hardcover copy pledged.

“Humberto and I are so stoked about the early success of FAIRY QUEST: OUTCASTS’ funding via Kickstarter,” said Jenkins. “It proves to me that for the right projects, Kickstarter is not just a viable outlet, it is the preferable way to initially publish. We have always stated proudly that we consider our backers to be our co-publishers. And now we can proudly state that once again, our publishers have stood behind us and supported us!”

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?

Click here to go to the Fairy Quest, Vol. 2: Outcasts Kickstarter campaign page.

BOOM! Studios releases “visual teaser” for an upcoming, as-yet unannounced project:


[It should be easy enough to figure out what this is going to be about, even for readers who didn’t grow up in the appropriate decade (also, that’s some poor trigger discipline)—ed.]

Garth Ennis returns to Avatar Press’ Crossed for special 50th issue


Regular cover by Christian Zanier

Preacher and The Boys creator Garth Ennis returns to his signature horror series, Crossed to celebrate the fiftieth issue with an original “patient zero” story arc.  Five years ago Ennis changed the landscape of horror comics with a new series that pushed the boundaries of grueling horror beyond anything previously seen.  In the pages of Crossed he populated the world with maniacal killers that live only to perpetrate the worst atrocities possible upon the uninfected.  This recipe is not for the faint of heart as each subsequent issue of the series visits a world where survival most likely means a sadistic death by torture is in your future.  Crossed: Badlands is the ongoing bi-weekly series which gives other handpicked creators an opportunity to tell tales of misery in Ennis’ unique world.  Now in celebration of the landmark fiftieth issue of the series, Garth Ennis will reveal some clues about the origin of the Crossed virus.  Fans of extreme horror will have a special treat in the pages of “The Thin Red Line” arc which premieres on “C-Day,” March 26 in comic shops worldwide.

In addition to the regular cover by Christian Zanier, Crossed #50 will also feature multiple variant covers by Zanier, including two incentive covers:

Mark McKenna’s Combat Jacks #2 just needs a little more Kickstarter love to push through

Artist Mark McKenna has been working in comics for almost three decades and he has been credited in over 500 publications from Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and more. The second issue of his personal comics project, Combat Jacks, needs just a little more love on Kickstarter with just a week to go in its funding period. Note that the comic features the official likeness of 1980s martial arts movie queen Cynthia Rothrock(!) in a leading role.

Click here to go to the Combat Jacks #2 Kickstarter campaign page.

Ant creator Mario Gully launches Kickstarter campaign for Dirty Bones

From the press release:

Comic veteran Mario “OMG” Gully launched his latest comic book on Kickstarter this week. Written and illustrated by Gully and colored by Thomas Mason, Dirty Bones is the story of a dog named Rover who’s caught up a world of organized crime and forbidden love. With incentives including signed printed copies of the comic book, posters and commissioned art, Gully aims to raise $50,000 to complete the artwork and get issue #1 on the stands.


“This is my first big project since I created ANT. I’m a much better artist and writer than I was a few years ago, and Thomas is just killing on the colors,” says Gully. “ANT was my Off the Wall album. Dirty Bones is my Thriller.”

At the center of this epic tale is Rover – an ex-gangster who gave up his life on the streets to embark on a quest of self discovery while standing against the segregation between the mutts and the pedigrees. Rover quickly finds out that life in the city has changed as Dirty, the notorious “Big Dawg”, has taken control of New Bark City by force, while fighting a vicious turf war with Madam Kitty for ultimate power.

“We’ve put a lot of energy into creating the best possible Dirty Bones preview and incentives for fans, collectors and retailers,” says Gully. “I can honestly say this is the best project I have ever been a part of.”

Click here to go to the Dirty Bones Kickstarter campaign page.

Bronco Ink Publishing closing in on Kickstarter funding goal for its English language-edition of Krantz, the Argentinian comic once banned by the Catholic Church

From the press release:


Original cover image

Bronco Ink Publishing, LLC is proud to present the first English-language collection of KRANTZ, Horacio Lalia and Jorge Claudio Morhain’s time-travel epic originally published in Revista Skorpio!

Originally banned by the Catholic Church and never before available in English, KRANTZ is the story of Ross Krantz, a time traveller trapped in the 16th Century after preventing a brutal Protestant massacre known as the “Night of St. Esteban”. With the help of Nostradamus, Catherine de Medici, and other legends of the Renaissance, he must find a way home without rewriting history in the process!

Editor-in-Chief, Scott O. Brown, is enthusiastic for this project: “We believe in and have supported Horacio’s work whenever possible over the last decade. And Jorge is a powerhouse writer deserving a wider audience. Their KRANTZ is a great comics collection for science fiction fans, history buffs, and lovers of classic bande-dessinee style comics. If GAME OF THRONES or DA VINCI’S DEMONS strike your fancy, then KRANTZ is right up your alley.”

Click here to go to the Krantz Kickstarter campaign page.

In case you missed them…

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

In Part One of our First Impressions coverage for February, Troy and Zedric share previews and reviews of the first issues of The Fuse (Image Comics), Turok: Dinosaur Hunter (Dynamite Entertainment), GoGetters (Monkeybrain Comics), Loki: Ragnarok and Roll (BOOM! Studios), The White Suits (Dark Horse Comics), The Punisher (Marvel Comics), Revenge (Image Comics), X-Force (Marvel Comics), and The Adventures of Apocalypse Al (Image Comics). Stay tuned for Part Two, coming next week.

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