The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of March 8, 2014

NEWS Round-up | Week of March 8, 2014
Published on Saturday, March 8, 2014 by
Read about Whilce Portacio’s plans to launch a school and studio in the Philippines, the fallout from Eric Stephenson’s ComicsPRO address, Moyoco Anno’s visit to the upcoming Toronto Comics Arts Festival, and more in this week’s News Round-up.
Fallout from Eric Stephenson’s ComicsPRO address

Image Comics president Eric Stephenson in 2013.

If you haven’t already heard (and if that’s the case, where have you been hiding all week?), Image Comics president Eric Stephenson’s speech at the annual meeting of the Comics Professional Retail Organization (ComicsPRO) generated a bit of an uproar online and in comic book shops, with some comics press outlets, as they are wont to do, seizing on a number of potentially inflammatory remarks and getting a lot of mileage out of the controversy. [Not us, though!—ed.] Anyway, here are links to the speech and subsequent stories that should provide you with all you really need to get up to speed on the story and help you make up your mind as to where you, as a comics reader and fan, stand in all this:

The full text of Eric Stephenson’s speech (Comixverse PDF file)

Dark Horse Comics president Mike Richardson and IDW Publishing CEO Ted Adams respond to Stephenson’s address. (Bleeding Cool)

Comics professionals react to Stephenson’s address on Twitter (Bleeding Cool)

Comixverse editors Troy and Zedric discuss their initial reactions to Stephenson’s speech. (Comixverse)

Zedric shares his further thoughts on Stephenson’s speech. (Comixverse)

Whilce Portacio to establish teaching/working art studio in the Philippines

Speaking of Image Comics, company co-founder Whilce Portacio has recently revealed on Facebook his plans to re-establish a teaching and working art studio in the Philippine capital city of Manila. The Filipino-American artist on titles such as Uncanny X-Men, Punisher, Wetworks, X-Force, Batman, and Hulk first mentioned his desire to return to Manila and start a new school/studio for aspiring comics artists in an exclusive interview with the Comixverse in 2012:


Portacio in 2012.

… because I grew up in the States, [serving as an inspiration for young Filipino artists] didn’t really mean anything to me until I went back [to Manila] for those five years between 1995 to 2000. That’s when I started my school that Leinil [Francis Yu] and Philip Tan came out of. Edgar Tadeo, Gerry Alanguilan, Roy Allan [Martinez], Jay Anacleto: All of those people that came out of that studio school—they bugged me [into starting a school], especially Gerry, just day in and day out, “Help us, help us.”

[It started to mean something to me] only in connecting to them. To this day they call my wife Até (“big sister”), we have that closeness. Being able to have been that bridge to get them into the industry, and see where they go, and see what they’re still like. Me and my wife, we almost feel like their parents, you know?

And the big realization that I did not know until I met those guys was that they didn’t know it was possible. And just that one fact, they kept telling me, day in day out, just that fact that “I’m a Filipino, they’re Filipino” that means they might be able to do it, too. That’s when they all just tried a little harder. And just that one little fact got them to me, and got them to the industry.

At the beginning, I was so surprised because I didn’t know that was what was happening. When I actually had time to think about what I was doing, I understood that it was actually a big deal. And ever since then I’ve been seriously thinking about it. For the last few years I’ve been trying to figure out, blocking some time, and getting money to start up the school again. Because it seems like that’s waning now again, that realization that you can go there and do it. One guy [from my studio school], his dad just drove a taxi. One guy had nothing. One guy was an architect. One guy was from a well-to-do, middle-class family. But you know, most of them were just regular, average, everyday guys who didn’t think they would become anything or anyone but they had this drive and love for comics and just that fact that they knew I did it, and I went to the Philippines and showed them “Hey, I’m not much older than you are, a little crazier maybe, but I’m just like you,” that pushed them to that edge so I’ve been trying to consciously push that with other people, too.

Here is the text of Portacio’s announcements regarding the studio-school’s launch and talent search:

Whilce Portacio is putting together a new kind of art studio to draw comicbooks together as a team. You get regular pay and earn benefits while you learn and develop all the skills you will need to become a working professional in comics. We are looking for artists with as many of the following skills:

  • Figure artist
  • Inker
  • Background artist
  • Colorist
  • Layout artist

We are running a talent search all through the month of March using the following locations as drop-off points for submissions:

  • IAcademy: 6764 Ayala Ave. Makati City c/o Jaeger Tanco
  • Philippine Women’s University: 1743 Taft Ave, Manila c/o Jaeger Tanco
  • Comic Odyssey: Basement 1, Space #128, Robinson’s Galleria, 914-0040

For all inquiries, please e-mail

For the specific submission guidelines, check out the gallery below:

International comic convention news and updates

Adventure Time #25 LSCC variant

‣ BOOM! Studios will make its first trans-Atlantic comics convention appearance at the 3rd Annual London Super Comic Con (March 15–16, 2014; Excel Centre, London, UK). The publisher will be stationed at the Central Publisher Spotlight Arena and featured guests will include Roger Langridge (Snarked), Mike Carey (Suicide Risk), Matt Gagnon (Day Men), and Frazer Irving (Polarity, The Returning), plus sketch artists Wook-Jin Clark (Adventure Time: The Flip Side) and Josceline Fenton (LSCC Exclusive Adventure Time Variant, Regular Show). In addition, a special LSCC variant cover illustrated by Fenton for the Adventure Time #25 anniversary issue will be available for purchase through the convention.

BOOM! Studios editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon will also participate in a portfolio review on Sunday, March 16, from 2:30–3:30 PM.

In addition, BOOM! Studios will conduct the “BOOM! Studios Presents: We Are BOOM!” panel on Saturday, March 15, 12:45 PM at the Comic Heroes Panel Room, with editor-in-chief Matt Gagnon and surprise special guests.

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience (April 17–19, 2013; Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, UT)  to add a new “KidCon Pavilion”—not intended to be a “baby-sitting area” according to organizers, but as a place “for parents to create some lasting memories with their children” (Deseret News)

Manga artist and fashion designer Moyoco Anno (Sakuran, Sugar Sugar Rune) will be a featured guest at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (May 10–11, 2014; Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St, Toronto, ON; free admission). Anno will participate in various programs at the Festival, including panels, presentations, and signings, with details on all appearances to be announced in late March. (

‣ Organizers for the MoCCA Festival (April 5–6, 2014; The 69th Regiment Armory at 68 Lexington Ave, New York City, NY) reveal key art by Eisner and Harvey Award-winning Saga artist Fiona Staples. (MoCCA Festival tumblr)


300: Rise of an Empire reviews in; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For trailer out

A quick round-up of some of the reviews for 300: Rise of an Empire, the film adaptation of Frank Miller’s as yet-unpublished sequel to 300.

The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky absolutely eviscerates 300: Rise of an Empire in his review, calling it “a rotten power fantasy.”

Here’s what The Orange County Register‘s Michael Sragow had to say about the film: “Murro may believe that he’s directed an anti-fascist movie, but what he’s really made is almost as coercive as fascist melodrama.”

From USA Today‘s Scott Bowles: “… a scene in which Themistokles and Artemisia meet to broker peace but instead break into rough sex draws the necessary R rating—and unintentional laughs.”

From The Globe and Mail‘s Adam Nayman: “Critics who called out 300’s underlying political allegory – the democratic West staving off the Middle Eastern barbarians at the gate – will find more of the same here, as will those who giggled at the original film’s homoeroticism find plenty more well-oiled torsos and basso-voiced speeches about brotherhood and honour.”

From the NY Daily News‘ Joe Neumaier: “In the annals of crazy-bad movie sequels, there’s a special place for those whose stories take place concurrent with those in the original, better movies. You know, the stories that weren’t important enough to tell the first time out.”

So… not a prospective Oscar candidate, then?

[For readers looking for a more historically-accurate comic book depiction of the circumstances surrounding the events depicted in 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire, we suggest the Image Comics miniseries Three (review of the first issue can be found at this link) by Kieron Gillen, Ryan Kelly, and Jordie Bellaire—ed.]

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the sequel to 2005’s Sin City (both films are based on Frank Miller’s Sin City comics), looks like it might fare better with critics, if the new trailer released earlier this week is anything to go by.

Odds and Sods

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

Dark Horse Manga editor Carl Horn gives his take on the current state of manga market, the reasons that led to the drastic decline of manga sales in North America in the early 2000s and its ongoing recovery, and more in an extensive interview. (ICv2)

Former DC Comics president Paul Levitz joins BOOM! Studios. (The Beat)

Anime streaming boosts manga sales, according to VIZ Media’s Kevin Hamric. (ICv2)

Kadokawa’s free ComicWalker app to offer manga titles in English, Japanese, and Traditional Chinese. (Anime News Network)

Comixology gets hacked! (Troy’s tumblr)

Comics educator Christy Blanch talks about—what else?—comics in an interview with Dana Hunsinger Benbow. (Indianapolis Star) [Click here for our retrospective on Blanch’s 2013 Ball State University online course, Gender Through Comic Books—ed.]

Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends reunite in Amazing X-Men #7 (Joe’s tumblr)

Gene Luen Yang (Boxers & Saints, Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Promise) talks about his revival of the Golden Age character the Green Turtle in his new digital comic, The Shadow Hero, co-created with artist Sonny Liew. The Green Turtle was originally the creation of Chu Hing, one of the very first Chinese-Americans to work in the comic book industry. (Publishers Weekly)

(H/T to the A.V. Club) The Digital Comic Museum has archived some 15,000 Golden Age comics, and they’re now available for Internet users to read and download for free.Thrill to the four-color adventures and exploits that led to the outsized moral panic that gave us the Comics Code Authority! Note, however, that these comics feature properties that have fallen into the public domain, so those of you looking for early Batman, Superman, and Captain America comics are out of luck. Or maybe you should take this as a sign to introduce some non-superhero variety in your reading repertoire. (Zedric’s tumblr)

With Warren Ellis returning to Marvel with this month’s Moon Knight #1, Comic Book Resources posted its essential Warren Ellis reading list. But where’s Ministry of Space, FreakAngels, and Excalibur? (Troy’s tumblr)

DC wins copyright lawsuit against Batmobile replica maker. (Robot 6)

‣ In more Batman-related news: Warner Bros. Games has revealed the first trailer for Batman: Arkham Knight, the final game in the Batman: Arkham Asylum franchise. Check it out below:

A compilation of the week’s press releases

Straight from our inbox to your eyeballs, here’s a list summarizing the week’s notable e-mail press releases and assorted notes from our friends at Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, and more:

‣ An early, press-exclusive preview of Angel & Faith Season 10 #1

Angel & Faith Season 10 #1 hits stores on 02 April, 2014 with a cover price of $3.50 and is written by Victor Gischler (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike, Clown Fatale) with illustrations by Will Conrad (Serenity, Nightwing).

‣ Dark Horse and Bethesda team up for three new art books

From the Dark Horse Comics press release:

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve teamed up with Bethesda to create three incredible art books – “The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order”, “The Art of The Evil Within” and “Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives”.

Each hardcover book, packed with art and game design details, will retail for $39.99. The first in the collection, “The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order”, features full-color artwork from MachineGames’ upcoming first-person action-adventure shooter as well as developer commentary from the team. The book spans more than 200 pages and covers all facets of the game’s design, including concept art, character designs, , settings and technology – all of which was inspired by Wolfenstein’s alternate 1960’s setting. Check out sample pages from the book on


“The Art of Wolfenstein: The New Order” will available in North America at your local comic retailer on May 14th and your favorite bookseller on May 27th. “The Art of The Evil Within” and “Dishonored: The Dunwall Archives” follow, with release dates in August and November respectively. Wolfenstein: The New Order has not yet been rated by the ESRB. For more information on the game visit


Four-time Eisner Award winner Steve Rude recently passed along, via his newsletter, an image of his fully painted cover to the April 14 edition of the digital-first Adventures of Superman anthology. Along with providing the cover, “The Dude” will also illustrate a ten-page standalone story written by Jerry Ordway featuring Jack Kirby creation OMAC.



BOOM! Studios declares March 12 as “Ed Brisson Day”

Excerpted from the e-mail sent by BOOM! Studios marketing manager Mel Caylo:

Today, I wanted to call your attention to the fact that writer Ed Brisson (Sheltered, Comeback) will write the next comics story arc for SONS OF ANARCHY, as the series becomes an ongoing series. Initially planned to be a six-issue limited series, fan response for the comics have been so overwhelmingly positive that the decision was made to extend SONS OF ANARCHY to an ongoing series. SONS OF ANARCHY is based on the ongoing FX Network television show of the same name created by Kurt Sutter that follows the exploits of an outlaw motorcycle club in California’s Central Valley. The show’s 7th season is set to debut this year.


Brisson’s run starts with a new storyline in SONS OF ANARCHY #7 that debuts on March 12, following a six-issue story arc by Christopher Golden that got the series off to a great start. Damian Couceiro will continue to provide art. Brisson’s new story arc is set after the events of season three. Here’s a brief synopsis: “Gemma and Tara must keep the peace on the homefront, as Jax, Clay, and their SAMCRO brothers are doing time in prison. The town of Charming is more dangerous than ever with the Sons of Anarchy behind bars!”


Brisson is no stranger to crime fiction, and is also the writer for ROBOCOP: LAST STAND #8 (which goes on sale on the same day, March 12), in which he provides the epilogue to Frank Miller’s story. (As you may or may not know, our ROBOCOP: LAST STAND miniseries is based on Frank Miller’s unused screenplay for the “RoboCop 3″ film.)

In case you missed them…

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

The second part of our First Impressions feature on the comics debuts of February is live. Join Troy and Zedric as they share their reviews and multipage previews of the first issues of Tomb Raider, Undertow, New Warriors, City: Mind in the Machine, The Remains, Wolverine, The Mercenary Sea, Fantastic Four, Vandroid, and Terminator: Enemy of My Enemy. [Click here to read Part One of our comprehensive look at the #1s of February 2014—ed.]

Joe takes a look at “The Beast of a Thousand Bodies” in his review of Mattel’s Modulok.

Troy shares his thoughts on The CW’s Arrow and DC Entertainment’s future plans for primetime TV expansion in this piece, while decrying the announcement of three weekly DC series in another.

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