George Sprott (1894-1975)

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The new comic strip begins in the The New York Times Magazine:
I. George Sprott (1894-1975): Prologue, Oct. 2, 1975
by an artist whose style we can’t immediately recognize. Is it…Steve McNiven?

Also in the above link, the slideshow on comics storytelling featuring Spiegelman, Seth, Sacco and Ware that kicked everything off two years ago.

Linkage: Rosemann to Marvel

Newsarama reports on the latest cross town shuffle with the Phantom Stranger, a.k.a. Bill Rosemann going back to Marvel after a 4-year break:

In October of 2002, Rosemann left Marvel, and by early 2003, had joined CrossGen as Director of Marketing Communications. Rosemann eventually rose to the position of Senior VP – Publishing at CrossGen, and served in that position during the diversification of the publisher’s line to include such titles as El Cazador, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and Abadazad. Amidst the company’s financial troubles of late 2003-2004, Rosemann left the company in April of 2004, and joined DC the following November.

Rosemann was apparently caught in the changes that went through DC’s Marketing Department, and was named Manager, Marketing Communications in mid-June of 2005, however, this move was undone roughly two weeks later, and saw Rosemann return Creative Services by the end of June, 2005.

Rosemann’s move from DC to Marvel comes a little over a month over Editor Mike Marts’ move from Marvel Editorial (X-Men Group Editor) to DC.

Linkage: Spiegelman’s statement

Spurge has the text of Art Spiegelman’s full statement on why he withdrew from the NY run of the “Masters of American Comics.” You should read the whole thing but the short version is he simply didn’t like the way the show was being handled in NYC — split up in New York and Newark — and had always had some ambivalence about the show, leading to his pulling out completely.

Bone World Tour

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Jeff Smith and Bone are going on a true world tour, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway…even the good old US! You can see the complete itinerary in the jump, but over in his blog. Jeff Smith has some thoughts on the tour:

I think we’re ready. I still have a couple of weeks, but it seems like I’m already out of time. A World Tour is one of the most complicated undertakings we’ve ever gotten tangled up in. Vijaya and Kathleen worked for over a year putting this deal together. It’s not just a tour, it’s a publishing venture and a nearly simultaneous release party of BONE in color across Europe. We coordinated gang printings between publishing houses (which involved making sure the brand new translations were complete), book tours & festivals in ten countries, and Steve and I just finished putting together a 40 piece exhibition for the Frankfurt Book Fair and a 33 piece show of original art for Athens.

Many things changed or fell apart completely over the last twelve months, but ultimately all the publishers came through and many festivals invited me to be a guest.

I’m really enjoying the daily blogs of Scott McCloud & family while on their Making Comics Fifty State Tour , so as I travel across the European continent, I’ll take my laptop and digital camera along and blog as I go. I’ll share my run-ins with cartoonists and get-togethers at pubs. I will try to capture the Spinal Tap highs and lows. If we have a good signing, I’ll post it, if we have a disastrous one, I’ll post it. And when I get left at the border between two countries, with no one to pick me up – – I’ll post it.

[Read more…]

New Tolkien!

Well, old Tolkien reallly, according to PW:

Houghton Mifflin has acquired U.S. rights to publish the first complete book by J.R.R. Tolkien since the posthumous Silmarillion in 1977. HM bought American rights to The Children of Húrin from HarperCollins UK, which acquired the project from The Tolkien Estate in a world rights deal.

Húrin, begun in 1918, was reconstructed by Christopher Tolkien, painstakingly editing together the complete work from his father’s many drafts, this book is the culmination of a 30-year endeavor by him to bring J.R.R. Tolkien’s vast body of unpublished work to a wide audience.

HM will publish Húrin in April 2007.

This is interesting. The versions of the tales written in 1918 were previously collected in THE BOOK OF LOST TALES, Volumes 1 and 2 of THE HISTORY OF MIDDLE EARTH. Although Tolkien worked on a longer version of the Narn i Hîn Húrin as he called it, bits and pieces of this were printed in both UNFINISHED TALES and HoME. Christopher Tolkien, now 82 himself, has been laboring over his father’s papers for decades, and the Tokien scholars here at Stately Beat Manor will be very curious to see the results. To our knowledge there is no existing unpublished “complete book” by Tolkien, unless it is C. Tolkien’s redacted version of various texts, some written when Tolkien was recovering from trench fever received in the Battle of the Somme. If this is the case, we hope Christopher doesn’t make another boner like making Gil-Galad the son of Fingon in the published Silmarillion.

To Do, 10/12, London: Alan Moore signs Lost Girls!

200609181024Not really, because there won’t be any copies to sign…

To celebrate the release of Lost Girls, London England’s Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) and the Blackwell chain of bookstores are presenting an exclusive “Lost Girls” event with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie on October 12th. Alan and Melinda will be in conversation with comedian, broadcaster and comic fan Stewart Lee. Details are as follows:

— Thursday, 12 October @ 7pm
— Venue: Logan Hall, Institute of Education,
20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL, England
— Tickets: £8, Concessions: £6
— To book tickets call 0845 456 9876 (from the US: 011-44-845-456-9876) (lines are open Monday – Friday, 9:30am to 6:00pm London Time) or visit Blackwell, 100 Charing Cross Road, London WC2H OJG, England (Nearest tube: Leicester Square or Tottenham Court Road)

Please note that even though we will be unable to sell copies of Lost Girls at this event (due to the UK/EU distribution issue listed below), this will still be a very rare opportunity to see Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie in person, and hear what they have to say about the creation of Lost Girls. — I’m flying over for the event too!

In a further LOST GIRLS update, Chris Staros writes:

Top Shelf recently received correspondence from the Great Ormonds Street Hospital (the owners of Peter Pan in the UK/EU), and as a result, UK/EU distribution of Lost Girls has been delayed until the matter is resolved. It has been a very cordial exchange, and one we are glad to participate in. As soon as the matter is resolved, we’ll make a formal announcement about it, but this may result in the book being delayed for the UK & EU markets until 1 January 2008. In any event, if that ends up being the case, Top Shelf will probably release a special UK Edition (1st printing) at that time.

More — much more — on finding LOST GIRLS in this interview with Staros at CBR.

Supernatural law marks 1-year anniversary on the web

With a press release!

Batton Lash’s online version of his long-running comic book series Supernatural Law celebrates its first anniversary on September 19. It was one year ago that Lash took the plunge to put his characters, Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre, online. Since that time he has written and drawn three full-length stories in full color, all appearing at, as part of Webcomics Nation.
Unlike several other longtime self-publishers who have started to put their work on the web, Lash is still continuing to put out his print comics, with the most recent issue having been published in August (Supernatural Law #1 at the Box Office). Both the print and online series combine humor and horror as attorneys Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd represent monsters and the supernaturally afflicted.
“I am committed to the print medium, and I love the comic book format,â€? says Lash, who has been publishing Supernatural Law under the Exhibit A Press imprint since 1994. “But I also know that the comic book specialty market is becoming more marginalized and more limited in what it offers, and I wanted to reach a wider audience.â€?

[Read more…]

SPX TV commercial

There is apparently a TV commercial for this year’s SPX (Small Press Expo) running on local Washington TV stations. And here it is!

Meltzer king of all media

200609180315Brad Meltzer has achieved what we suspect is an unprecedented double — topping the NY Times Bestselller list AND the Diamond chart in the same month. Congrats to Brad. He’s also in the midst of barnstorming the US in a major book tour. You can see his upcoming appearances (today TWO appearances in Chicago) in the jump.

Warner Books (the publisher of David Baldacci and Nelson DeMille) and DC Comics (the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman) announced today that novelist Brad Meltzer has become the first author to top The New York Times Bestseller List and the Diamond Comic Distributors Top 100 Sales Chart simultaneously. Meltzer’s new thriller The Book of Fate—which debuts atop the New York Times list on September 24—features a decade-old presidential crossword puzzle, a disturbing secret buried in Masonic history and a 200-year-old secret code invented by Thomas Jefferson. Issue number One of Meltzer’s Justice League of America, which tells the story of the re-formation of the world’s greatest superhero team, anchored by Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, is the overall top comic book in both dollars and units the Diamond Comic Distributors Top 300 Sales Chart for the month of October.

“There’s one name on the cover of every book, but only a fool thinks it’s a one-person show,â€? said Meltzer. “Warner built this. DC Comics built this. And most important, they built it together.â€?

“The appearance of THE BOOK OF FATE as the #1 title on the New York Times fiction bestseller list only days after its publication is not only a testament to the book’s broad appeal and Warner’s strong marketing campaign, but also indicates how the core audiences for both Brad’s novels and his comic books have coalesced into a groundswell of interest and enthusiasm for all things ‘Meltzer,’â€? said Jamie Raab, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Warner Books.

“It’s exciting to see this convergence of events, which demonstrates the cross-marketing potential of readers of comics and novelsâ€? said Paul Levitz, President & Publisher of DC Comics. “We’re thrilled for Brad, and hope this spurs more people to sample the creative worlds of comics and graphic novels.â€?

[Read more…]

Linkage 9/18

Joe Illidge looks at HEROES and wonders about the racial message the program is sending.

Busy, busy Mike Catron has video from the opening of the “Masters of american Comics” exhibit at the Jewish Museum. (Top link.)

Kyle Baker has a blog.

This blog covering bookplates looks at the bookplates of cartoonists. We know that doesn’t make much sense. Click on the ink and you’ll see what we mean.

200609180338James McAvoy talks about his upcoming role in WANTED the film based on the mark Millar/JG Jones comic:

“I’ve heard of the comic, I hadn’t read it,” he said to us. “It’s a Glaswegian writer [Mark Millar] that did the book. I’m a bit of a sci-fi fan, though I never got around to reading it. The thing that really turned me on and got me really excited first of all was Timur the director, ’cause I’d seen ‘Night Watch’ and shortly after, I saw ‘Day Watch.’ I was blown away by the first one and then even more blown away by ‘Day Watch.’ I’m such a sci-fi nut, and it’s kind of wish fullfillment to play that kind of part, but I’m not going to try to get all buff for it. I’m going to try to make him a real guy. I know that’s not revolutionary and that’s been done before in this realm, but it’s not done all the time.”

“It’s difficult because the character has been based so obviously, at least visually on Eminem, I feel like I need to get away from that, because I feel that’s something I’ll never achieve,” he confessed.

Thong Girl invades Tennessee mayor’s office

In Gallatin, TN It’s Thong-Girl to the rescue:

Imagine Gallatin being taken over by dastardly villains determined to wipe out country music and a scantily clad crime-fighting superhero named Thong Girl coming to save the day.

Scenes from “Thong Girl 3: Revenge of the Dark Widowâ€? depicting the risqué superhero — who flies and shoots laser beams from her buttocks — have been filmed in Mayor Don Wright’s office and more scenes are being planned elsewhere in the city.

When asked about the movie, the mayor admits he gave filmmakers permission to use his office, but he hadn’t seen a script and didn’t know the movie involved Thong Girl.

“They told me it was a film about a superhero woman and there was no nudity or any kind of offensive stuff in the film,â€? Wright said.

Right, Laser beams from the buttocks are as All-American as apple pie.

Comics and their cachet

A poorly formatted Art Spiegelman interview nonetheless captures the spirit of the times:

Q: How has the world of comics changed since you entered?

A: Well, I would say while America has been going into an absolute nose dive and turning to (expletive), comics have been doing great, much to my happy astonishment . . . and I would say, during the last few years, more so than ever. Comics have just been kind of upgraded in their cultural status.

Q: They’re more respected as a form of literature now.

A: Yeah, when I was first being a cartoonist, I would really hesitate to tell people what I did. It certainly didn’t win me any points with the girls, I’ll tell you.

Q: And now it’s got cachet . . .

A: It’s got cachet! It’s like being a small-scale rock ‘n’ roll star.

“Male cheerleading coach jumps at chance to change stereotypes”

We just can’t improve on the Express Times’ own headline as one brave man combined gymnastics and a Spider-man costume to pave the way for tolerance and find happiness as a male cheerleader:

Brian Kovacs, a comic book geek, always liked Spiderman. He saw the superhero’s high-flying moves and thought it would be cool if he could do that.

So he took up gymnastics and learned how to tumble. He bought a Spiderman outfit and prepared for the talent show at Stroudsburg Area High School.

Then a roundly teased sophomore, he went on stage in full Spiderman garb with Spiderman theme music playing and put on a show of somersaults and back flips and handsprings.

The crowd was impressed, particularly Steve from German class. “Did you ever think of becoming a cheerleader?”

The rest, as they say, is history. Or perhaps the sequel to NAPOLEON DYNAMITE.