Not even technical issues can keep us down! Click through to read our Fan Expo Vancouver recap, links to comics news from around the world, word on a couple of promising Kickstarter comics projects, and more.
“I get knocked down, but I get up again… “
We were blindsided earlier this week by technical issues that saw us go off-line for a couple of days, but as you guys reading this can obviously see, we’re back, thanks to the efforts of webmaster Jason Thees and site honcho Troy Osgood. A number of articles—trade and hardcover previews, mostly—seem to have slipped into Internet purgatory while in transit, but we’ll have them up soon enough, and the delay resulted in us combining still-timely elements of what should have been the post-Fan Expo Vancouver News Round-up with today’s News Round-up.
Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 recap
The third annual Fan Expo Vancouver was held over the past weekend at the Vancouver Convention Centre and the Comixverse’s Zedric Dimalanta was there to take it all in. In a Fan Expo Vancouver first, the event was expanded to two-and-a-half days instead of the usual two days to take advantage of the long Easter weekend, running from late Friday afternoon through Sunday. The extension of the festivities helped goose attendance: Organizers estimated that some 25,000 people attended Fan Expo Vancouver 2014, up from last year’s 21,000 and significantly surpassing the inaugural Expo’s total of 16,000.
Despite the increased attendance, crowd control and line-ups for the event were, for the most part, better managed compared to that in previous years, likely an effect of growing organizer experience as well as returning Expo-goers being more savvy in timing their visits to the convention area. That said, there were some organizational hiccups—panel moderators seemed to be in short supply (as an example, a cosplay-themed panel held Friday evening ended up being self-moderated by the panelists), a number of the artists we spoke to were apparently unaware that they were scheduled to participate in sketch duels up until the event start times, and there were the expected round of canceled panels/events/appearances—but on the whole, the show was a great way for comics, pop culture, and cosplay fans and enthusiasts to come together and interact with industry professionals as well as get some good deals on assorted collectibles, media, and “geek chic” fashion.
Below is a list of links to our Fan Expo Vancouver 2014 coverage so far:
- INTERVIEW | Ed Brisson (pre-Fan Expo phone interview)
- Leaving Proof 220 | Fan Expo Vancouver 2014: The Cosplay Question
- Leaving Proof 221 | Fan Expo Vancouver 2014: Sketch Duel Highlights
- INTERVIEW | Philip Tan (live on-site interview)
- INTERVIEW | Mike Del Mundo (live on-site interview)
And we’re not done discussing Fan Expo Vancouver just yet: Stay tuned next week for our article on the highly-instructive and quite candid Image Comics Creators Chat panel that featured Ed Brisson (Sheltered, The Field), Kurtis J. Wiebe (Peter Panzerfaust, Rat Queens), and Brandon Seifert (Witch Doctor, Witch Doctor: Mal Practice) talking about everything from how they got their start writing comics to how to handle revenue splits with artists and collaborators.
And if the above articles aren’t enough for those of you who missed the Expo to get a feel for what it was like, here’s a video of epn.tv‘s Marissa Roberto having fun with Expo guests, cosplayers, and exhibitors on the con floor:
Martian Comics by Julian Darius, Kevin Thurman, and Sergio Tarquini
Closing in on its funding deadline ten days from now is Martian Comics by writers Julian Darius and Kevin Thurman and artist Sergio Tarquini. Check out the cover by Darick Robertson (The Boys, Transmetropolitan) below, as well as an eight-page preview of the issue’s contents [NSFW-ish image warning]:
Co-creator Kevin Thurman will be at this weekend’s C2E2 so if you’re intrigued by what you see in the preview above and you’re attending the convention, hit him up and let him know in person. And of course, if you want to see the rest of the Martian Comics story, visit the project’s Kickstarter campaign to pledge your support.
Penny Palabras graphic novel heads to Kickstarter
Penny Palabras, the comic by writer James B. Willard and artist Patrick Beavers whose first issue we recently reviewed in a First Impressions feature, is going the collected edition route via Kickstarter. Check out the project’s campaign video below:
Head to the Penny Palabras Kickstarter page to see interior page previews, learn more about backer incentives, and to pledge your support. There’s also an embedded video of Beavers explaining his art process for the book over a time-lapse video—good stuff.
Odds and Sods
More news links from around the world of comics and related media:
• The Mark Waid-led Thrillbent comics publishing collective has just launched “Thrillbent 3.0″ with new titles, a new app, subscriptions, and new ways for readers to support the creators and comics they like.
• We’re still a little “conned-out” from last week, but thankfully, The Beat staff have done a good job of listing the major Marvel Comics announcements at the ongoing C2E2 event in Chicago.
• The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award nominees have been announced. Image Comics dominates the Best Continuing Series field with four out of the five nominees—East of West, Saga, Nowhere Men, and Sex Criminals—belonging to its slate of creator-owned titles (Marvel’s Hawkeye being the lone exception). In the Best Limited Series category, Dark Horse Comics holds only a slightly less commanding numbers advantage, with three of the five nominees—47 Ronin, Colder, The Black Beetle: No Way Out—coming from its stable going against The Wake and Trillium, both from DC’s Vertigo Comics imprint. Other observations: Faith Erin Hick’s The Adventures of Superhero Girl is nominated in two categories (Best Humor Publication and Best Publication for Kids ages 8–12) as well as Rob Davis’ adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote (Best Humor Publication and Best Adaptation from Another Medium).
• Former Dark Horse editor and current “all-purpose editorial mercenary” Rachel Edidin shares her thoughts on Amazon.com’s acquisition of comiXology, taking particular issue with how a recent Business Insider report and ComicsPRO’s press release responsecharacterized the deal in overwhelmingly negative terms and lionized the current direct market print comics distribution model. An excerpt:
Is the concern is a distribution monopoly? If so, the direct market is in no position to criticize: over the last 15 years, Diamond Comics Distributors has consumed almost all independent print distribution in comics, and dictates practices and policy to retailers and publishers alike. The idea that print comics are somehow more independent than their digital cousins—or a scrappy underdog fighting the good fight against evil corporate profiteers—is frankly ridiculous.
No idea has proven more damaging to the comics industry than the myth that creators work for love and not money. It’s a philosophy that has justified exploitation of creators and theft of intellectual property. It’s allowed the entire industry to pass the buck for its failures—from publishers to retailers, and retailers to—for decades. And it’s why the comics industry lingers in a frozen adolescence, clinging to a shrinking target audience like a sea captain railing at the storm—when the real problem is the rotting wood of his own hull.
• Isabel Greenberg, creator of the Eisner-nominated (see link above) graphic novel The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, is one of the featured artists at Somerset House’s Pick Me Up Selects 2014 exhibition (April 24–May 5, 2014; Strand, City of Westminster, London, UK). Pick Me Up Selects 2014 features international rising stars of the graphic arts world specially selected by an industry panel and each artist will be producing new, exclusive work for viewers to see and buy at the exhibition. (SomersetHouse.org)
• Jeff Smith’s all-ages serial graphic novel Bone is among the top ten most banned library books of 2013 for “political viewpoint, racism, violence.” Smith was stunned when informed of the news, stating that he “had no idea what these people read.” (CBLDF.org) [No, this is not a joke or a fake news story. I had to make sure I wasn’t reading an Onion article myself—ed.]
• Gene Luen Yang came away a big winner at the Los Angeles Time Book Prizes, with his two-part graphic novel Boxers and Saints (First Second Books) winning top honors in the YA Literature category, which is normally dominated by prose works. Ulli Lust’s Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics Books) won the prize in the graphic novel category. (The Beat)
• Comic Book Resources contributor Janelle Asselin gets threatened with sexual assault by irate male comics fans on Twitter after she criticizes the portrayal of the women on the cover of Teen Titans #1. (Gimp Nelly tumblr) [WTF guys?—ed.]
• Mark Millar and Leinil Francis Yu’s Superior to be adapted into a major feature film by 20th Century Fox, with X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass director Matt Vaughn attached as producer. The Captain Marvel (the “Shazam!” version, not the Marvel Comics version) pastiche marks the fourth Millar-owned comics adaptation to involve Vaughn in production. Vaughn is also directing and co-writing the screenplay for the film adaptation of The Secret Service (by Millar and Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons) and Vaughn’s company MARV Films is developing a film adaptation of American Jesus (by Millar and Peter Gross). Other Millar comics projects reportedly in various stages of development as films include Starlight (created with artist Goran Parlov), Nemesis (created with artist Steve McNiven), and Kindergarten Heroes (created with artist Curtis Tieg).
• Marvel Comics’ Senior VP of Publishing and long-time senior editor Tom Brevoort admits that the publisher may soon hit the point of diminishing returns with its cycle of title relaunches and renumberings (via The Beat). Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston avers that this may already be happening in his analysis of sales trends of titles that have been relaunched in the past two years, noting that many readers probably take an impending relaunch as a reason to stop collecting a comic rather than to continue buying it in its relaunched/renumbered form.
• Kodansha sells 1.4 million copies of Attack on Titan, Vol. 13 within the first week of going on sale in Japan, putting it in a good position to sell out of its 2.75 million copy print run. All in all, the series has now sold over 30 million copies of its volumes in Japan, making it only the third title to do so behind Naruto and One Piece.
• Crunchyroll adds Moyoco Anno’s popular Insufficient Direction to its manga-streaming service. The manga, which is also available in an English print edition published by Vertical, Inc., will go live on Crunchyroll beginning today, at 4 PM PDT. (Anime News Network) Anno will be a featured guest and speaker at this year’s Toronto Comics Arts Festival (May 10–11, 2014; Toronto Reference Library, Toronto, ON; free admission).
• Researchers from the UK and Belgium have found that the brains of skilled visual artists have significant structural differences compared to the brains of those less skilled in representational drawing tasks. Using voxel-based morphometric analysis, the researchers found that of the 44 study participants (21 art students and 23 students in non-art disciplines), those that scored highly in tasks that measured representational drawing skill had higher grey matter density in the left anterior cerebellum and the right medial frontal gyrus—areas of the brain that are associated with fine motor control and procedural memory—than those who did not fare as well in the tasks. In addition, those study participants who had received formal artistic training (the art students) had higher grey matter density in the precuneus—an area of the brain associated with visuospatial mental operations—than those participants who did not receive artistic training. These findings suggest that while “artistic ability” may be innate in one sense, training can influence the development of certain artistic skills such as the ability to visualize imagery as reflected in structural changes in the brain.
• The Jem movie, based on the cartoon created by veteran comics and TV scribe Christy Marx, has been cast and is beginning production. Nashville‘s Aubrey Peeples will fill the title role. Controversy grew around the film adaptation last month, when Marx publicly aired her grievances about being kept out of its production and development.