Radical Publishing announced this weekend that it has launched its new web site!
The site has previews for all of its series, including Hercules, Shrapnel, Last Days of American Crime, and Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency.
Sunday, May 26
Radical Publishing announced this weekend that it has launched its new web site!
The site has previews for all of its series, including Hercules, Shrapnel, Last Days of American Crime, and Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency.
Valerie D’Orazio has a really interesting post about the future of Comic Con, stemming from an e-newsletter by Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics, which I’m going to excerpt here:
Sadly, where this leaves all of us in the comics world is totally screwed. With a reported waiting list of 300 media/consumer products companies lined up for booth space here at San Diego Comic-Con International, the convention feels absolutely no restraint as regards raising booth rent. What does exist is a totally uneven playing field, where mom-n-pop comics retailers, publishers, and creators are now being asked to pay the same cost per square-foot as the international corporate giants. That being the case, it should come as no surprise that we comics exhibitors are rapidly being priced out of our own house. I heard from several comics retailers who have been here at the convention for decades that they are either cutting back for 2010, or completely pulling out of the show… If present trends continue, I predict with more than a small measure of sadness that comics will be a very minor part of this convention within five years.
So is the Comic Con really cannibalizing its roots, in order to draw in Megan Fox and the Twilight cast? I don’t know about that — it’s not that the comics publishers are going anywhere, but that comic book stores are getting hit. Valerie brings up one interesting point — the so-called “fantasy” economy, in which comics fans bucked financial trends by continuing to buy luxury products in skimpy times, came somewhat to a halt at SDCC, with fans spending all they’ve got on travel, and thus hitting every convention they could find in order to make the trek worthwhile. (I know I’ve certainly been in similar straits — when I was covering NYCC in the fall, I was at the point with my bank account that I had to choose rent, or comics. Rent won out.)
But Valerie has this tidbit, which I think really sums a lot of these problems up:
Really, the bigger issue is this: media conglomerates have taken comic book culture and “Andy Warholized” it, presenting us with mass-market, mass-produced, highly vetted versions of that culture’s icons. But not only that, the conglomerates have appropriated the comic book/”fan” community’s mechanism of promotion & dissemination of information: the convention. So that’s the Icons and the Mechanism being appropriated.
And I think that’s the key here — the fantasy economy, even in these times, still exists, and Hollywood wants in. And with more than 150,000 people cramming into the San Diego Convention Center, Hollywood and the Big Two certainly have more weight than anybody else. But the Convention, for many, is a chance to meet and greet, and catch the biggest news firsthand — Hollywood and the Big Two are planting seeds for later purchasing, while the retailers are trying to make sales NOW. And unless retailers can have expansive selections for highly discounted prices, Rozanski may be right. What do you think?
i09 interviewed Marvel producer Kevin Feige on the lineup for the upcoming Avengers film, and while things aren’t set in stone yet, Feige was surprisingly firm about who will make the cut:
I think it’s going to be Iron Man and Thor, Captain America and Nick Fury. I think it’s safe to assume that there will be some members of the Hulk universe in the film as well. In terms of the additional I think Black Widow, sure. The SHIELD organization for sure. What’s exciting, for me, about The Avengers movie is seeing those four characters interact with each other. I think anywhere from the first issues of The Avengers to Civil War the dynamic between Steve Rogers and Tony Stark is just awesome, it’s fascinating. It brings out sides in others that won’t be brought out in the other franchises. Going forward with the mix is a whole other thing, I think it will be cool. So to pile on another 15 or 10, frankly more than four would be too many.
Now, for those of you who might be freaking out at this announcement — “Where’s Hawkeye?!” was probably the first thought that ran through my head — just wait a second. Feige says that Zak Penn is still writing the outline, so the Hulk may or may not be in the film.
But perhaps most important is the SHIELD connection: in Mark Millar’s Ultimates series, Nick Fury brought in four specially-trained members of the SHIELD Black Ops Division — namely Hawkeye, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver — to the team. And that’s also forgetting to mention that in that entire list, there’s exactly one woman — and where would the Avengers be without the Wasp? In other words — if the first X-Men movie can pack together six main characters, I’m feeling confident that the Avengers can at least match that. What say you, Rama readers?
The biggest announcements from San Diego that you haven’t heard yet: Unless you read Invincible Super-Blogger Chris Sims’ con report this weekend. If you haven’t, check it out—it’s one scoop after another!
“I’m of Glasgow stock so I’m pretty good at telling stories, which is a good skill to have in this line”: The Daily Record has a nice thorough feature story on Simon Fraser artist of Nikolai Dante, some Judge Dredd, online comic Lily Mackenze and The Mines of Charybdis and too many other comics to mention.
Update on cartoonist David Rees’ war with Jamba Juice: The company released a statement on the controversy on Friday, in which they specifically do not endorse the opinions expressed in Rees’ work. As Rees notes, this means Jamba Juice has not decided to second his opinion that President George W. Bush is a war criminal.
I hate to use this space for anything approaching self-promotion, but…: Any Blog@ readers who are going to be in Columbus, Ohio between August 1 and August 28 should make sure they stop by the Mahan Gallery in the Short North to check out the exhibition “This is a Comic Book,” which features art by Anders Nilsen, Cole Johnson, John Porcellino, Lauren Weinstein, Matt Furie, Nate Powell and plenty of other great comics artists. And while you’re there, you should also see bout buying a copy of the small run catalog-zine being published for the show, a catalog-zine which features an essay by me (among other, better content). More info on the show here.
I was talking with someone at SDCC about the Heroes panel and all the love that was shared between the show and its fans. And yet the show seemed suspect to me because of how well-financed its marketing campaign is. The first thing she asked me was, “Is that show still popular?” In a nutshell, Heroes was something special when it started out and then it turned into something that, despite all the money thrown at it, lost its way.
Judging by the Nissan Cube giveaways and an elaborate carnival set to promote Heroes at Comic-Con International, I’d say Universal is very serious about promoting the heck out of its once golden property.
Having stood in a hopelessly long line for the two Dollhouse panels, it is interesting to me to consider how much less money Joss Whedon’s creation needed to spend in its SDCC campaign compared to Heroes and perhaps…how much more popular, and better, Dollhouse is than Heroes. From what I could tell, posters were all that Dollhouse needed to get the word out.
It struck me this week that one of my favorite bits of the Phonogram comics is the extra content at the back. I love the glossary of music referenced in the issue, the ramblings, the little view inside of the creators’ heads. I realized that several of my other favorite comics include this bit of backmatter–Local, any number of Warren Ellis books. The Vertigo Voices in the back of the Vertigo books are great fun.
It’s almost like the liner notes on a CD–one of the reasons I still buy CDs in solid format is the little booklet that comes along with it, with lyrics and pictures and other little treats. It’s a reason to still buy the solid artifact. The whole package. In a digital age, when there’s any amount of free media available on the Web, buying something you can hold in your hands has to have extra value. I get annoyed at CDs that come packaged in a simple cardboard folder and go buy the songs on iTunes instead–I don’t need the clutter if it’s not really worth having (I live in a studio apartment!).
The double features in the backs of comics are a great little bit of added value as well. I’m enjoying the resurrection of Manhunter in the back of Streets of Gotham, and the B-sides in Phonogram are fun as well. They can be experiments with shorter stories, or complete in themselves, or just choppier fragments of an ongoing tale, but they’re mostly just an added value to something you’re already buying.
As print becomes rarer, people are going to expect more and more for their money, and they’re going to expect something that won’t be the same in digital form. All these additions are a good start to experimenting with this idea.
Some pictures from the con from our very own Vaneta Rogers — more info to come!
Drawn & Quarterly has announced that they have gotten the rights to Dan Clowes’ original graphic novel Wilson. This will be the first of his books not to be serialized in Eightball.
The book follows a “modern egoist,” as he tries to make his way through the world despite his outspoken and often oblivious behavior.
“As a long-time fan of Eightball, it is thrilling to be able to publish Dan,” said Chris Oliveros, Drawn & Quarterly Publisher and Editor-in-Chief in a release. “Wilson is signature Clowes as the cartooning is seamless. It is funny, poignant and leaves an indelible impression on the reader. Wilson will take his place right alongside Enid Coleslaw, David Boring, and Dan Pussey.”
From Lan Pitts, whose Blog@ account is on the fritz, with a little input from me:
News coming straight from the DC panel: we have James Robinson’s Justice League team that will star in his upcoming run on the series. “The team will have Mon-El (assuming a “super”-mantle), Dick Grayson Batman, Donna Troy and Hal Jordan The other characters are a mystery”, says Robinson. “Though one of the ‘mystery’ members is Congorilla.” Presumably, another is Dr. (Kimiyo) Light, given that Robinson also said that “You’re going to see the female Dr. Light face off against Black Lantern, bad Dr. Light.”
Interesting concept, I must say. Especially since Robinson also said he has plans for old school League “mascot”, Snapper Carr. That has me at all levels of excitement. (more…)
Blair Butler (of G4′s Attack of the Show) is, according to her website, a comedian. She’s also, according to DC Comics’ The Source blog, “Booster Gold’s #1 fan.” And as of next month, she’s a DC Comics covergirl.
This weekend at San Diego, copies of the t-shirt worn by Butler will be available to fans at San Diego and while I challenge the claim that she’s the book’s #1 fan (raise your hand if you’ve been doing a monthly column dedicated to commentary on the comic for almost two years), I tracked down Booster Gold writer Dan Jurgens to talk about the finally-revealed cover to next month’s issue.
Why Butler? A number of fans asked in the comments section of the blog post that revealed this cover to those of us outside San Diego. “Why not?” Dan Jurgens asked back. “She’s a fan who has fans and that’s a good combo that makes for a great and unique cover!”
In terms of how–and if–Butler plays into the ongoing story of Booster and the Teen Titans fighting the Black Beetle in the 1980s, Jurgens answered that Butler’s station as Booster’s #1 fan plays “a slight role” in Booster Gold #23, but that readers would have to pick up the book to see what that role was.
Most readers will be familiar with Brian Andersen’s self-published comic, So Super Duper. The superhero parody follows the exploits of Psyche, a flamboyant character who everyone knows is gay except for himself. It’s been published online and in print and, in its most recent and probably most-seen incarnation has been reproduced a page at a time on the Blog@Newsarama. As a creator and a small publisher, though, Andersen has a number of projects out this weekend in time for Comic-Con International. He sat down with us to discuss them.
There was so, so, SO much more to our conversation, but in the interest of keeping it San Diego-centric, I’ve trimmed to just cover the material that’s hitting this weekend. Another interview or two will probably roll out over the next couple of weeks looking at Andersen’s in-depth perception on gender and sexuality in comics, and the future of webcomics versus traditional publishing. To check out more from Andersen himself, click on his Blog@ link above or surf over to his site for more information on all the books he writes, draws or publishes. (more…)
Wow, this is pretty low even for the kinds of things we’ve already seen floating around Comic-Con.
I know all about the “booth babes” and my own feeling on the subject is pretty much meh. Maybe I’ve just been inured to the use of women’s bodies to sell things, and I’m used to the idea that comic conventions are “for the boys” even though I’ve been fighting that notion in this here blog. It’s kind of funny to me, too, that “booth babes” are still used to lure fanboys, who then turn around and complain about Twilight fangirls squealing over Robert Pattinson. Still, way to take the whole idea to a new low, EA Games. Rewarding guys for committing “acts of lust”? With no definiton on what that entails?
So now the girls standing around awkwardly at various booths are not only going to be stared at and groped a few times, they’re going to have boys trying to do so and document it on photo to try to win a chance to–hang out with more girls?
Sounds like EA Games needs a quick lesson. Hey guys? Women aren’t like your video games or comic books. We’re people, too. We get to choose with whom we commit “acts of lust,” and sometimes we don’t like it on camera. We certainly don’t like being bought and sold for the price of a video game.
Someone keep these guys away from the Twilight fans, please.
Also, if I never hear another joke about a “chest full of booty” it’ll be too damn soon.
(thanks to Blog@’s own David Pepose for setting me off on a rant at 9:30 on a Saturday)
“DeCarlo’s book seems out of place in today’s marketplace simply because kinky illustration has lost its footing in the mainstream American marketplace”: Noah Berlatsky recently re-posted a review of Fantagraphics’ 2005 collection The Pin-Up Art of Dan DeCarlo, which makes for a very interesting read. Berlatsky’s focus isn’t so much on the quality of DeCarlo’s work—it’s DeCarlo’s after all, which is really all the review one needs—as much as how dated that work from the 1950s reads today, and how much our ideas of what’s sexy and what’s funny and what’s acceptable have changed over all that time.
“Food and manga, then, are a perfect pairing — at least in Japan”: San Diego’s Union-Tribune takes a very interesting tack on their requisite comics coverage this week, discussing food-oriented manga and whether the genre, which is huge in Japan, will be able to make it in the U.S. market. Viz’s Oishinbo, being the most popular food manga in Japan, is apparently being seen as a test case of sorts. Extra points to the Union-Tribune for a great headline.
For a split second, I thought this io9 article was about Benedict XVI: “Pope Talks DJing, Comics And Eternal Experiences”
“The van Gogh of the Gross-Out”: Check out this New York Times article about Basil Wolverton, occasioned by a career retrospective of the influential Mad artist’s work at the Barbara Gladstone Gallery this summer.
Having just invented fire and domesticated dogs, the cavemen of B.C. wrote books about combining the two, apparently: The comic strip B.C. raised some hackles with a joke about setting a dog on fire (?) the other day. This is significant because usually when B.C. pisses people off, it has something to do with religion.
“’Watchmen’” is my candidate for the smartest, deepest, most intriguing superhero movie ever”: I know they say there’ s no accounting for taste, but…wow. This Robert Butler fellow really loved Watchmen. Or he never saw any other superhero movies. Either way, here’s a pretty positive review of the movie, and a helpful little rundown of the various way in which you can watch it now that there are several DVD versions available.
“DC Comics’ Johns: Green Lantern Could Rival Batman, Superman”: Not to be disagreeable or anything, but no, no Green Lantern couldn’t.
Matt Brady officially becomes the last person on the Internet to read Final Crisis, writes about it: The Matthew J. Brady who is an entirely different person than the Matt Brady of Newsarama fame just read the trade collection of Final Crisis, and it sure sounds like a different experience than reading the individual issues. His review is well worth a read though, coming as it does from the perspective of someone who heard about the book for months upon months before getting a chance to read it himself.
Here’s a taste:
Eh, it’s a fun book, and I’m glad I read it, but thank god for the public library, because if I had actually paid for this, I probably would have been pissed and highly critical of any incoherence, perceived or otherwise.
Friday at San Diego Comic-Con was a full day for me. Here is a quick run-down of what’s been going on lately from my vantage point:
It’s the announcement that rocked the con — Marvelman has returned.
And he belongs to Marvel.
But despite the myth that’s swirled around this British superhero, what’s the reality? Indeed, most comics fans under the age of 30 probably haven’t ever read a Marvelman comic. Well fasten your seatbelts, readers, because we’re gonna Dial H — for History!
Despite the name, Marvelman was never created as a Marvel Comics character. Created in 1958, Marvelman was initially devised as, well, a legal loophole — a humble beginning that is only made more ironic for the years of legal limbo in which the character would fall. For you see, Marvelman’s first alter ego was none other than… Captain Marvel.
Let’s rewind. You might know something about Captain Marvel. Created by Fawcett Comics in 1939, Billy Batson, young boy, meets the wizard Shazam, and is given strength, invulnerability, speed, and flight. He also looked exceedingly similar to Superman — and you better believe the fledgling DC Comics didn’t like it. Lawsuits were filed, and Fawcett eventually capitulated to the leaner, tougher company.
Enter Len Miller. Owner of L. Miller & Sons, Limited, Miller reprinted all of Fawcett’s comics in the U.K. And needless to say, he saw an opportunity here. The deal was that Captain Marvel, believe it or not, was definitely raking in the money, even horning in on Superman at the top spot in the 1940s. So when Fawcett couldn’t print Captain Marvel, Miller instead sidestepped the issue by hiring creator Mick Anglo, who created the character of Marvelman under their own individual imprint in the U.K. — a character stylistically similar to Captain Marvel (a young reporter named Micky Moran gets atomic-based powers from an astrophysicist, requiring him to say “Kimota” rather than “Shazam”), but far enough (and blond enough) away geographically that the lawyers wouldn’t touch him.
And like all atomic weapons, Marvelman blew up. The Captain Marvel stand-in not only sold hundreds of issues, but launched spin-offs Young Marvelman and Marvelman Family — with Marvelman and Young Marvelman nearly hitting 350 issues each. But all good things must end: Anglo left the company in frustration in 1960, and Miller’s company eventually folded in 1963, as Marvel Comics and DC began dueling it out in the glory days of the Silver Age.
In the coverage of the Superman panel yesterday, Newsarama reported that Geoff Johns had hinted strongly at a desire to use Kid Flash, Red Robin and Wonder GIrl in his Adventure Comics run as well as Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. My first thought on hearing about this was that it raised a number of questions–not just in terms of storytelling, but in terms of office politics.
Even if Johns himself hadn’t referred to them as the “Good Teen Titans,” one has to wonder how getting Young Justice back together would impact a floundering Teen Titans title, stocked with B-listers and supported by a franchise partner-book in The Titans that’s one of the worst DC is currently publishing. Incoming writer Felicia D. Henderson, a Hollywood transplant with no comics pedigree and some fans already skeptical about her hire, might not appreciate the implication that hers are the “Not-Good” Teen Titans, either.
This, mingled with the fanboy-bashing PS at the end of Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #5, seems to indicate a rather cranky week from the normally genial Johns, too. With a reputation as one of the nice, easy-to-work-with guys in comics, it’s a little surprising to see him taking potshots at fans AND one of his company’s tentpole books in the span of 48 or so hours (granted, he wrote Legion of Three Worlds months ago, but you get the idea).
A debate about “female power icons in pop culture”?
With Signourney Weaver on a panel with Eliza Dushku, Zoe Saldana, and Elizabeth Mitchell of Lost? All it would need would be Sarah Michelle Gellar and I’d be in heaven.
From the Guardian, some highlights from the panel.
“Science fiction is an investigation into what it is to be human,” she said at one point. “A lot of the roles I have played, they’re not trying to create a female action figure – they’re trying to create a fully-functioning human being; a character comes first.”
“It’s about how long I have to stand fighting a room full of men about why I should do a fight scene in trousers, where I’m required to run across a floor and leap on to a moving elevator,” she argued, “They’re confused because they’re convinced I should be just as good at doing that in a leather miniskirt and Gucci boots.”
“I asked Joss for the most kick-ass multi-dimensional character he could think of, and he delivered … this character, it’s just a lot like me.”
“My roles have been far more adventurous, far more interesting, once I moved beyond 30; my roles are juicer, and sexier, and more powerful – we’re allowed to do all those things, be all those things, once we pass 30.”
Anyone at SDCC and catch this panel?
Written by Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo
Christian Beranek and Tony DiGerolamo have both been to San Diego Comic Con and lived to tell the tale. Many times, in fact. After reading a piece by Ignition’s Bon Alimagno about whether or not a publisher should attend San Diego they decided to chime in with their thoughts…
TONY D: Bon Alimagno’s recent article about why his company isn’t going to San Diego this year was pretty much right on the nose.
CB: If I had all those Vampirella comics in my office I wouldn’t leave either. But yes, great article.
TONY D: Yeah, I agree about 90% with it. SD is crazily expensive to do and for the most part, you’re going to get lost in the shuffle. But there are some cost cutting measures when you’re doing something guerrilla style that will allow you to make money and contacts.
CB: Tony D and I have a survival guide we’d like to share a few pearls of wisdom from. Now, you’re not going to get the full skinny, just a taste. We’re saving the rest of the details for when our book advance comes in. Tony, when is that agent calling us back?
TONY D: It kind of depends upon what rung of that ladder in the comic book biz you currently perch. Vampirella has been around for decades, so fans expect a fairly decent sized booth. But if you’re already small, there’s some appeal of that to fans. And with the sheer number of people in attendance, you can make some sales.
CB: I stress that you’ll make some sales. The convention is mind-blowingly overwhelming for even the most hardy of attendees. In addition, SDCC used to be known for being a place you could move some books, but it isn’t a pure comic show anymore. It hasn’t been for many years. Many people are there to see actors from their favorite films, such as Twilight. And who can blame them, those vampires shimmer in the light! They’re beautiful.
In last week’s Agents of Atlas #8, the team raids a desert monster-factory where some mad scientist-types have been capturing drifters, cutting them up, and reassembling their parts into various hideous monsters (which all escape when they capture a drifter who turns out to be Dr. Bruce Banner.
Here’s a panel of one of the many monsters they encounter, as drawn by pencil artist Carlo Pagulayan, in the act of killing one of the evil doctors who made him/it:
Something about that particular monster looked awfully familiar to me.
Here’s my twentysom-year-old Mattel Masters of the Universe figure Modulok, which came in a box full of 22 changeable parts that you could assemble into a thousand different evil warriors (one, possibly two at a time, anyway), in the act of eating Dr. John Henry “Steel” Irons (the closest thing to a doctor toy I have):
Of course, all four-armed, three-legged monsters look the same to me.
Aint’ It Cool News has a rumor that, if it comes to be, will likely spell the culmination of all things Smallville:
That Clark Kent may very well wear the Superman costume — or at least “a” Superman costume — in the Season 9 premiere, in an episode titled — what else? — “Superman.” AICN’s Hercules got the following e-mail from a conventioneer:
Warner bros reps are grabbing random people at the show and giving them a sneak peek at the new Superman costume for Smallville Me and friends were grabbed by one girl (details below) and taken to a room (down the stairs next to the giant starbucks) and shown it.
it’s gobsmackingly awesome! no spandex it looked like leather, its one suit, the top is blue at front and back, red on sides and arms, the trousers are blue at the front and back, red at sides. the superman symbol on the chest protruding out, its red. no cape. it was on a stand we could walk around.
There were no photos allowed, but the lady (name Rosie, slightly bigger build, brown hair) said we could tell others at show, to build hype. They’re showing random people the suit throughout today, tomorrow and Saturday, and sunday Tom Welling is flying in just to wear it when its unveilled at for Smallville presentation on sunday.
Herc eventually got confirmation from another source of his, Richerways, who also confirmed that the cape is not present, at least with the display at the convention.
Could this be the rumored “Metropolis” spinoff that AICN posted about earlier? And what does this say about the “no capes, no flights” rule that the series began with? What do you guys think?