In this week’s News Round-up: Alan Moore launches an app, the latest on the Hachette/Amazon.com dispute, BOOM! Studios and Dark Horse’s Phoenix Comicon plans, and more.
Alan Moore, app developer?
Watchmen and V for Vendetta writer and co-creator Alan Moore is launching a free digital comics development app called Electricomics, in collaboration with software firm Ocasta Studios, photographer and film director Mitch Jenkins, film/TV/web producer Pete Coogan, comics creator and editor Leah Moore, editor Louise Bowan, comics writer Peter Hogan, comics artist Jose Villarrubia, and a research team led by the Institute of Education’s Dr. Alison Gazzard and the University of Hertfordshire’s Daniel Merlin Goodbrey.
Besides Alan Moore, Leah Moore, Hogan, andVillarubia, other comics creators who will be contributing to the Electricomics project include Garth Ennis (The Boys, Punisher), Peter Snejbjerg (Starman, Light Brigade), John Reppion (Damsels, Raise the Dead), Nicola Scott (Secret Six, Birds of Prey), Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil, The Book of Lost Souls), Paul Davidson (2000 AD, X-Club), Todd Klein (Green Lantern, The Omega Men), and letterer Simon Bowland.
Moore, in a press release, described Electricomics thus:
Rather than simply transferring comic narrative from the page to the screen, we intend to craft stories expressly devised to test the storytelling limits of this unprecedented technology. To this end we are assembling teams of the most cutting edge creators in the industry and then allowing them input into the technical processes in order to create a new capacity for telling comic book stories. It will then be made freely available to all of the exciting emergent talent that is no doubt out there, just waiting to be given access to the technical toolkit that will enable them to create the comics of the future.
The 2014 Vancouver Comic Arts Festival
Zedric went up to Vancouver last weekend to take in the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in the city’s Yaletown district. He came back with a two-part column on the event:
- Leaving Proof 226 | Notes from the 2014 Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, Part 1: Wherein Zedric shares his observations on the panels on self-publishing (featuring Allan Stanleigh, Jonathan Dalton, Steve LeCoilliard, and Alina Pete), webcomics monetization (featuring Erin Burt, Sam Logan, Angela Melick, and Sfé R. Monster).
- Leaving Proof 227 | Notes from the 2014 Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, Part 2: Wherein Zedric shares a partial transcript of The “Beyond the Bubble: Writing for Comics” panel featuring Ed Brisson (Sheltered, The Field, Sons of Anarchy), Kurtis J. Wiebe (Rat Queens, Peter Panzerfaust, Debris), and Frank Gibson (Tiny Kitten Teeth, The Amazing World of Gumball).
The latest on the Hachette/Amazon.com dispute
• On Tuesday, ICv2 reported that Marvel titles are now being sold and delivered as normal on Amazon.com, but Yen Press titles continue to be marginalized: many Yen Press titles are now listed as “unavailable” on the e-tailer’s site, with no reasons given for their unavailability. As we previously noted, the sales of Marvel and Yen Press titles have been undermined by Amazon using legally-dubious tactics—including charging more for books published by Hachette, delaying the delivery of orders of Hachette books, and steering users to works by non-Hachette affiliated authors in the site’s recommendations section—as part of its “war” against the Hachette Book Group over failed renegotiation talks (Marvel trades and hardcovers are distributed by Hachette, while Yen Press is Hachette’s manga imprint in North America).
• Also on Tuesday, Amazon finally released a public statement on its ongoing dispute with Hachette (what it calls the “Hachette/Amazon Business Interruption”) in a Kindle blog post. Amazon says it is no longer taking preorders for Hachette titles (which includes manga and graphic novels published by Hachette imprint Yen Press) and is buying less Hachette inventory due to the terms of the contract with Hachette. The post, credited to the “Amazon Books Team,” also states that “we remain hopeful and are working hard to come to a resolution as soon as possible, [but] we are not optimistic that this will be resolved soon.” Publishers Weekly parses the blog post, as well as Hachette’s response to it, in this article.
Odds and Sods
More news links from around the world of comics and more:
• Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston reports that the final work of the late Dave Cockrum, The Futurians Return, will finally see publication with the help of a Kickstarter campaign and comics personalities such as Neal Adams, Walter Simonson, Neil Gaiman, Adam and Andy Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bob Wiacek, Mark Wheatley, and Joe St.Pierre. The graphic novel is a sequel to Cockrum’s The Futurians, originally published in 1983 as the ninth entry in its Marvel Graphic Novels series. Cockrum is perhaps best known in the comics community for his lengthy stints as penciler on Uncanny X-Men and Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as his memorable character design work. Among his many creations are the original designs for the X-Men’s Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Storm, the space-faring pirates the Starjammers, the 1970s redesigns of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and Ms. Marvel’s black “swimsuit” costume. Cockrum passed away in 2006 from complications due to diabetes.
• Harvey I. Barkin, writing for the Inquirer, profiles comics legend Alex Niño and Danny Bulanadi, who were in attendance at the Big Wow! Comics Fest in San Jose. [For more on Niño, check out our retrospective on the influential artist—ed.]
• In the wake of the horrendous killings at Isla Vista last week, comics creator Jesse Fink (Chester 5000, We Can Fix It!) writes on her blog about her experience growing up with an emotionally unstable, woman-hating, self-styled “mens rights activist” father.
• Digital comics distributor Graphicly, once seen as one of the truly commercially viable rivals to comiXology, has shut down. Graphicly users now have 30 days (beginning today) to download the comics they purchased through the site and app before they are deleted forever, but as Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston reports, the Graphicly story doesn’t end there: It seems a number of creators and publishers are still owed money by the company.
• Justin Stroman talks to Jamie Lynn Lano about her time working as a studio assistant to artist Takeshi Konomi (Prince of Tennis). Lano has a memoir, The Princess of Tennis: The True Story of Working As a Mangaka’s Assistant in Japan, available for preorder on her site.
• The Korea Herald’s Sohn Ji-young has written a news-feature on the growing international popularity of Korean “webtoons” (a.k.a. webcomics).
• IGN’s Evan Campbell has a round-up of the latest rumors concerning the reason why Edgar Wright left Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man production.
• ICv2 reports that X-Men: Days of Future Past dominated the Memorial Day weekend box-office in the US and abroad, although the estimated domestic take ($90.7 million) can be classed as a mild disappointment given that analysts were predicting a $100+ million opening.
• Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc., having recently retired its Diamond Digital initiative, is re-entering the digital comics distribution arena in a new multi-year partnership with eBook distribution network firm Trajectory, Inc. There’s no word yet on which comics publishers and what titles will be available via whatever new digital comics distribution service will emerge from this deal.
• Tumblr user polyphoria has a very detailed and informative account of Jeff Smith’s panel during the recent Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
• Comics retailer Brandon Schatz, in a guest article for The Beat, writes candidly and in detail about DC Comics’ lenticular covers, gimmick numbering, and other publisher promotions and how they impact his business.
• Anime News Network is reporting that the long-running One Piece serial in Shueisha’sWeekly Shonen Jump will go on a two-issue hiatus in early June as creator Eiichiro Oda will undergo a tonsillectomy. In a statement posted on Sheisha’s site, Oda joked that “Since I’m having this surgery anyways, I plan to have a bazooka installed on my shoulder.” In a recent survey of publication numbers, One Piece was dubbed the most popular manga of all time, with some 300 million tankobon (digest-sized trade paperbacks) published since 1997.
• Retired English teacher Lourdes Hernandez-Vidal talks about the problems and challenges of writing a historical graphic novel with the Manila Standard‘s Cyril Verdera. Hernandez-Vidal is doing a seven-part serial graphic novel on Andres Bonifacio, one of the tragic heroes of the 19th century Philippine Revolution against Spain. EntitledAma ng Bayan (“Father of the Nation”) and written in correct-but-colloquial Filipino (as opposed to English or what Hernandez-Vidal calls “the Filipino of the academe”), the serial graphic novel’s first chapter (Pagsiklab ng Himagsikan or “Rise of the Revolution”in English) is set for an October 2014 launch.
• It’s not exactly the “Roy Lichtenstein is a thief and a plagiarist” debate, but Bleeding Cool’s Rich Johnston has this little nugget about how a “fine artist” calling himself “benjamin SPaRK” has been signing his name on works that are little more than paste-ups of Dan Panosian’s Danger Girl covers and Darwyn Cooke’s interior art from various comics. Panosian got wind of it and he is not pleased. One of the Bleeding Cool forum members actually contacted SPaRK’s agent to discuss the artist’s appropriation of Panosian and Cooke’s work and has posted their exchange (both in the original French and in English).
• Someone should really tell the folks at the MPAA about the “Streisand effect.” The NY Post‘s Page Six is reporting that the poster for Sin City 2, the sequel to the film based on Frank Miller’s noir comic, was disapproved by the film ratings organization for showing the “curve under breast” and “dark nipple/areola circle” of Eva Green, who plays the role of Ava Lord in the film. What poster, you ask? This one:
The week in press releases
• Les Belles release party: June 5, 2014 at Floating World Comics in Portland
From the press release:
The discursive black-ink brush drawings are a stream of consciousness monologue that traipses around the definition of illustration as a form of commercial dialogue. An experiment in drawing without drawing and of creating spontaneous lyrical forms for their own sake, LES BELLES is a surrealist jaunt into a world of happy accidents, chance encounters and the search for meaning without form.
LES BELLES is strange tea for the eyes. Join us at Floating World on First Thursday, June 5th for a book release party and exhibit of large format drawings that accompany the book.
LES BELLES is available to order here.
- WHO: Chris Taylor
- WHAT: Les Belles release party and exhibit
- WHEN: Thursday June 5th, 6-10pm
- WHERE: Floating World Comics, 400 NW Couch St
Chris Taylor is a Canadian born artist, musician and writer with a nomadic studio called WERK AAN ZEE. He has lived in Montreal, New York and Amsterdam doing creative work for advertising agencies. He is currently hiding out in Portland, OR.
• kaBOOM!’s Bee and PuppyCat #1 sells out, heads to 2nd printing with new cover by Leslie Hung
From the press release:
Natasha Allegri’s charming magical girl series has captured hearts, and KaBOOM!, an award-winning imprint of publisher BOOM! Studios, is pleased to announce that BEE AND PUPPYCAT #1 has sold out at the distributor level and is set for a second printing.
Comic book fans should bear in mind that first printings of BEE AND PUPPYCAT #1 may still be found at the local comic shop nearest you.
Written by Natasha Allegri (ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA AND CAKE) and Garrett Jackson, and illustrated by Allegri, BEE AND PUPPYCAT is based on the Cartoon Hangover short that went on to become the most funded web series project in Kickstarter history. Allegri had built up a big fan-following on Tumblr while working on theAdventure Time cartoon, then created gender-swapped characters, Fionna and Cake, that became so popular, they were put into the show. Her newest creation, BEE AND PUPPYCAT, is a slice-of-life story with a twist, and it has so much comedy and enchantment you can’t help but be swept up.
• BOOM! Studios launches official YouTube channel with “BOOM! Tube”
From the press release:
Award-winning publisher BOOM! Studios is excited to announce the launch of BOOM! Tube, an all-new weekly series from the BOOM! Studios’ YouTube channel dedicated to sharing the latest news on comics, creators, and announcements from the publisher. The series will provide weekly news on the latest titles coming out from BOOM! Studios and its imprints, including Archaia, KaBOOM!, and BOOM! Box.
“This is what we mean when we say, ‘Come innovate with us.’ We’re always looking for new ways to engage with our fans and since YouTube is one of the largest social networks on the planet, this was the obvious next step,” said BOOM! Studios Vice President of Publishing & Marketing Filip Sablik. “BOOM! Tube is a way for us to share our passion for our latest releases, along with what goes on behind-the-scenes, special creator interviews, and a few fun surprises along the way.”
BOOM! Tube will be hosted by Stephanie Hocutt and will feature a rotating cast of guest co-hosts who will come in to offer their unique perspective on the coming week’s BOOM! Studios releases.
• Here’s a preview gallery for Dream Thief: Escape #1 (Dark Horse) by Jai Nitz and Greg Smallwood, on sale June 25th. Retailer FOC is Monday, June 2. The first Dream Thief miniseries was one of our favorite titles of 2013 (click here to read our review of Dream Thief #1).
• BOOM! Studios reveals Phoenix Comicon guest list, exclusives
From the press release:
Award-winning comic book publisher BOOM! Studios announced today it will exhibit at Phoenix Comicon at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona, during the weekend of June 5-8.
BOOM! can be found at booth number 559 and will host the following creators all weekend:
- Marc Andreyko (NIGHTBREED)
Michael Moreci (CURSE, ROBOCOP)
- Chris Miskiewicz (THOMAS ALSOP)
Shaun Manning (INTERESTING DRUG)
- Ian McGinty (ADVENTURE TIME: CANDY CAPERS, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Zack Sterling (ADVENTURE TIME OGNs v1, 2 & 3)
- Missy Pena (BRAVEST WARRIORS, AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL)
Aubrey Aiese (ADVENTURE TIME, LUMBERJANES)
- Hannah Nance Partlow (ADVENTURE TIME: CANDY CAPERS (NOTE: Saturday only)
In addition, the BOOM! Studios booth will host the following creators on Friday and Saturday:
- Eric M. Esquivel (LOKI: RAGNAROK & ROLL, ADVENTURE TIME, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Christopher Golden (SONS OF ANARCHY) (NOTE: Friday only, 3-4pm)
Phoenix Comicon exclusive variant covers of CLIVE BARKER’S NIGHTBREED #1 illustrated by Tony Harris (Ex Machina, Iron Man) and BEE AND PUPPYCAT #1 illustrated by Anissa Espinosa (BRAVEST WARRIORS) will be available for purchase at the booth while supplies last.
• Here’s a preview gallery for Emily and The Strangers: Breaking The Record #1 (Dark Horse) by Rob Reger and Mariah Huehner, on sale June 25th. Retailer FOC is Monday, June 2.
• Dark Horse Comics releases Phoenix Comicon schedule
From the press release:
Join Dark Horse Comics for our first visit to Phoenix Comicon! We’ll be at booth #535—handing out giveaways and offering free signings with comics creators! Come check out our comics, books, and products for sale—including an exclusive Phoenix Comicon comic!
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
(Certain restrictions may apply. All events are subject to change.)
Thursday, June 5
- Star Wars: Rebel Heist #1 Phoenix Comicon Exclusive Adam Hughes Cover Variant goes on sale!
- Price: $5.00
- Total quantity available for sale at the show: 1,000
- Limit: 10 copies per person, per day
- Note: Most copies will be released for sale on Thursday, but a set quantity will be set aside for sale on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings.
Below are featured comics and the writers and/or artists who will be signing them. Free comics, prints, or posters will be available at each signing while supplies last. Comics will also be available for sale, availability pending.
Friday, June 6
- 11:00 a.m. ELFQUEST Richard Pini (writer) and Wendy Pini (writer/artist)
- 12:00 p.m. CRIMINAL MACABRE Christopher Mitten (artist)
- 1:00 p.m. MASS EFFECT: FOUNDATION, X Tony Parker (artist), STAR WARS: REBEL HEIST, STAR WARS: DAWN OF THE JEDI, GHOST Dan Parsons (artist)
- 2:00 p.m. BAD BLOOD, WITCHFINDER, B.P.R.D. Tyler Crook (artist), GRINDHOUSE Alex de Campi (writer)
- 3:00 p.m. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Amber Benson (writer/actress)
- 4:00 p.m. THE FIFTH BEATLE Vivek J. Tiwary (writer)
- 5:30 p.m. CONAN THE AVENGER, BRAIN BOY, THE COMPLETE SILENCERS, ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! Fred Van Lente (writer)
- 6:00 p.m. THE STRAIN Mike Huddleston (artist)
Saturday, June 7
- 11:00 a.m. ALIENS: FIRE AND STONE Chris Roberson (writer) *Free print! Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 on sale September 2014.
- 12:00 p.m. GRINDHOUSE Alex de Campi (writer)
- 1:00 p.m. THE STRAIN Mike Huddleston (artist)
- 2:00 p.m. NEXUS Mike Baron (writer)
- 3:00 p.m. CONAN THE AVENGER, BRAIN BOY, THE COMPLETE SILENCERS, ACTION PHILOSOPHERS! Fred Van Lente (writer)
- 4:30 p.m. THE FIFTH BEATLE Vivek J. Tiwary (writer)
- 6:00 p.m. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Christopher Golden (writer) and Amber Benson (writer/actress)
Sunday, June 8
- 11:00 a.m. GRINDHOUSE Alex de Campi (writer)
- 12:00 p.m. BAD BLOOD, WITCHFINDER, B.P.R.D. Tyler Crook (artist)
- 1:00 p.m. BALTIMORE Christopher Golden (writer)
- 2:00 p.m. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Amber Benson (writer/actress)
Friday, June 6
- 3:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m. Spotlight Panel: Fred Van Lente (North 128b)
Fred Van Lente has done it all. With work ranging from semieducational funnies to superhero reboots, he is widely regarded as one of the most unique voices in modern comics. Did we mention zombies? He’s done that too. Now, join us for a look back at his storied career so far, as well as a glimpse into what’s next for comics’ rising star, with announcements and more!
Saturday, June 7
- 12:00–1:00 p.m. ElfQuest: The Final Quest (North 129a)
For the last 35 years, Wendy and Richard Pini have delighted fans with one of alternative comics’ most rich and storied worlds. Now, in partnership with Dark Horse, the Wolfriders embark on the “Final Quest,” to fulfill a destiny over three decades in the making!
- 3:00–4:00 p.m. Drawing on Your Nightmares: Modern Horror in Comics! (North 129b)
One of the cornerstones of the Dark Horse publishing line since the early years has been an original take on the horror genre. Now, join us for a look at what’s to come in this year’s lineup with a cast of writers and artists who are poised to thrill you and chill you. Christopher Golden (Baltimore), Chris Roberson (Aliens), Alex de Campi (Grindhouse), Tyler Crook (Witchfinder), Mike Huddleston (The Strain), and Christopher Mitten (Criminal Macabre) are joined by Dark Horse’s own Aub Driver for a discussion on “bringing scary back.”
- 3:00–4:00 p.m. The Fifth Beatle (West 211)
The Fifth Beatle is a graphic novel about the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, written by Vivek Tiwary. Vivek talks about the graphic novel (a 2014 Eisner Award nominee) and the upcoming movie based upon it.
Sunday, June 8
- 12:00–1:00 p.m. 30 Years and Counting: Comics Classics in the Modern Age (ElfQuest: 1978; Nexus: 1981, Groo: 1982) (North 128b)
In the late 1970s and early ’80s, some of the most inventive and inspired alternative comics found a place on shelves. ElfQuest offered a unique vision of black and white fantasy, while Nexus gave readers a version of the superhero idea more rooted in science fiction than capes and cowls. Meanwhile, Groo the Wanderer took a humorous take on the sword and sorcery genre, popularized by the likes of Conan the Barbarian in the previous decade. Over 30 years later, we pay tribute to some of comics’ longest-running ongoing collaborations for a discussion with the creators themselves! Join Richard and Wendy Pini (ElfQuest), Mike Baron (Nexus), and Mark Evanier (Groo) as they share the secrets to the success of a few of comics’ most revered story lines!
In case you missed them…
• Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers.
• Joe takes a look at the Wasp action figure from Hasbro’s Marvel Infinite Series.
• Zedric reviews MPH #1, WEIRD Love #1, Nailbiter #1,Madame Frankenstein #1, the Jack Kraken one-shot, and more in the latest First Impressions.
• Brooklyn-based comics creator Jerome Walford talks about his recent Glyph Comics Award win, his art process, the new Nowhere Man Kickstarter campaign, and more in an exclusive interview.