24seven Vol. II cover released



MOM’S CANCER by Brian Fies has won a Blooker Prize in the comics category. The Blooker Prizes are sponsored by POD publisher Lulu.

A comic book telling the true story of a dying woman’s battle with incurable lung cancer has won the comics prize in the world’s first literary contest for “blooks” or books based on blogs or other web content.

“Mom’s Cancer” by Brian Fies has been named winner of the comics category of the Lulu Blooker Prize (www.lulublookerprize.com) – sponsored by Lulu (www.lulu.com), the self-publishing website and marketplace for digital content, which is used by many comics folks to publish their work. Fies receives $2,500.

The judges – who this year included Arianna Huffington, the noted writer, columnist, broadcaster and blogger – are independent of Lulu.

“The story”, says Fies, 46, from Santa Rosa, California, “describes how a serious illness affects patient and family, both practically and emotionally, in ways that I’ve discovered are very common. Many readers wrote to tell me how surprised and relieved they were to learn they weren’t alone.”
“Mom’s Cancer” began as a serialized Internet comic, with new installments added throughout 2004. Readership grew by word-of-mouth. People who needed the story found it and told their friends about it.

“Mom’s Cancer” had previously won the comic industry’s Eisner Award for Best Digital Comic.

Zach Miller, who won the Lulu Blooker Prize (comics category) last year, with his last comic book, “Totally Boned: A Joe And Monkey Collection, was nominated again this year, for his latest book, “The Definition of Awesome: Another Joe and Monkey Collection”.

The other beaten finalist was Pete Abrams with his comic book, “Born of Nifty: Sluggy Freelance Megatome 01”.

” ‘Mom’s Cancer’ takes web comics beyond science fiction parodies and fan-boy remixes of superhero comics”, says Paul Jones, the academic, Internet pioneer and chair of this year’s Blooker judges, who has also taught a calls on the post-modern comic. “The story-telling is engaging. The story is important, as well as fun, surprising and rewarding to read. Well-drawn and a real winner.”

Platinum’s lack of credit – UPDATE

Tymm Cover1
UPDATE: AS per the comments, Platinum has now added credits for the strip. Kudos to them for doing the right thing right away.

Platinum VP Dan Forcey had this to say in Roman’s LJ comments:

Dave, it’s Dan Forcey here, VP of Content Development from Platinum. I wanted to write you a personal apology here about your credits being omitted on Drunk Duck. It was entirely a mistake on our part and not an intentional omission in any way, shape or form. There was a custom homepage, just like we’ve done with some of our other titles (like the one here: http://www.drunkduck.com/Blood_Nation/index.php) that we had made for this and it somehow got deleted along the way. You can also check it out on our own comics site (http://www.platinumstudioscomics.com/index.php?template=comics&option=com_content&task=view&id=39&Itemid=46) and you’ll see that are proud to have your name associated with this property and proud of the property itself. We actually have a lot of plans for Alien Circus and I apologize, again, for not being in better contact with you about this. This is a mistake on our part that I wholeheartedly apologize for any disrespect that you felt from it. I completely see why you would feel that way and I feel terrible because of it.

Where does Platinum get its “library” that it keeps talking about? Apparently from a lot of material that they bought back in the day which is now being run uncredited as webcomics.

On his LJ Dave Roman writes of one such projects, My big graphic novel that no one knows about.:

So a while back I wrote a 3-part graphic novel series called “Alien Circus” for Platinum Studios that was beautifully illustrated by Luke Weber. It was a big space aventure series that mixed Hamlet with Marsupilami and was a lot of fun to work on. I ended up developing a whole universe complete with tons of creatures, planets, history and plots for potential spinoffs.

At some point Platinum decided to change the name to The Adventures of Tymm and register a domain name for it. But as far as I know they have no plans to actually release it in print.

But I recently found out from a friend that they changed the name back to Alien Circus and it is being serialized on Drunkduck.com (yay!) without any credits for the people who worked on it (boo!)

Ac Samplepage
Boo, indeed. In this day and age, this kind of thing makes us feel a little sick, especially when you look at all the samples in the link: this book has an immediately accessible Euro-influenced look, and Luke Weber should get credit for his work. But as Roman reveals later on, ALIEN CIRCUS was work for hire.

I knew going in I wouldn’t really have any control. I just hoped (and still do) that it would be published in some way shape or form. Even if it’s just on the internet. But I feel like if the graphic novel for kids market continues to expand SOMEONE should consider putting it out in print! I just don’t think it’s a priority for Platinum compared to their more high profile stuff. Maybe I’ll become famous in the next year and they’ll realize what a goldmine they are sitting on ;)

Let’s put it this way: signing away original material as work-for-hire is right up there with sharing needles with AIDS patients, eating blowfish liver, and not wearing a seat belt in a vehicle driven by a New Jersey state trooper our own personal DO NOT DO list.

And yet people STILL do it. Why? We asked Roman, who is no stranger to creator owned projects like AGNES QUILL and QUICKEN FORBIDDEN, and he explained:

Well since I was already familiar with WFH contracts from working at Nickelodeon Magazine I knew what I was getting into. I was still pretty young when I started the project, so I was just happy to get paid to write stuff in comics. I don’t really regret it, especially considering how many people do comics for no money at all. And honestly Lee Nordling was always good to me and really supportive of the project. I really only became frustrated by Platinum after I saw what a great job the artist did. It scares me to think how much other material they are sitting on.

Here we should remind people that Nordling developed material at Platinum over a seven year period. In other words, when Roman came up with ALIEN CIRCUS, webcomics were in their infancy. Nowadays, creators don’t seem to have the same urgency to be “happy to get paid to write stuff in comics” since they can reach as large an audience as the print world via the web, even if there is no pay involved.

Any way, we cry shenanigans on Platinum. A quick look at a few comics on Drunk Duck showed none of them had any credits. Since they own the material lock stock and barrel, running it uncredited just seems positively medieval in this day and age.

Can this man save print?

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As you may have heard by now, Tim Leong’s COMIC FOUNDRY magazine has been rejected at Diamond for being in B&W and having a high price point, although other B&W magazines about comics have the same price point.

Now we’re not trying to pick on Diamond; they do a fabulous job and part of that job is keeping the entry point high. Of course, they’ve made a few mistakes along the way, but these have been quietly corrected — or sometimes not so quietly, in the case of Dan Nadel and House of Sugar, the last two products to go public after rejection. This isn’t the cry for a lynch mob; it’s a look at the point we find ourselves at.

Tim showed us the mock up for the magazine the other day and it was smart, sophisticated and modern. Instead of being a dense package of interviews with comics historical figures — a format which we very much like and value — it was a clever, topical look at the medium, kind of like…a real magazine, with features, FOB and BOB sections and all that other stuff. There was one photo layout in there which could have been in Men’s Health or Complex or any of the actual print magazines that Tim works for in his day job — it was clever and a LOT of work.

Now, we’re friends with Tim, and we’ve often tried to dissuade him from sticking with the dying world of print, but a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do — it’s the medium he loves and works in. And you know, we don’t think that print should go away. If there is room for magazines that focus on cars, and rifles, and black women’s butts (actually there seem to be a lot of those these days) there could be a magazine that focuses on comics as a facet of the entertainment business, not as a hobby.

But it is tough out there — the recent reshuffling and rebranding at Wizard Magazine, the category leader, shows that. The men’s magazine field has been considerably winnowed in recent months, and launching a new magazine these days is perilous. But surely there is room for Comic Foundry. The emerging medium needs a new magazine of record. If there isn’t room for something this sharp, we’re all in trouble.

PS: WE’re not the only ones who feel this way, as Top Shelf’s Brett Warnock throws down:

Tim’s content and design feel more to me like a “real-world” magazine, with sharp, staccato content mixed with a handful of lengthier articles and interviews, ala Wired magazine. And his editorial tastes are superb. This is the ONLY magazine on comics that i feel would appeal to the nascent populist comics readers, new to the medium. They might buy the magazine at a Border’s and then pick up a graphic novel there as well. But if and when said reader evolves into a passionate fan, they will eventually find their way to a full-service comics shop (one supplied by Diamond), where the product selection is far-superior than a chain bookseller.

In fact, i’m such a fan of this magazine, that Top Shelf actually gave serious consideration to publishing it. In the end, the main thing holding us back, was our commitment to Jon Cooke’s Comic Book Artist, and we felt we couldn’t give to the proper support to two mags at once.

UpFronts: Heroes spin-off, THE IT CROWD

The nets are announcing their fall schedules this week, and although we still don’t know for sure about VERONICA MARS (although it looks bad), we do know that HEROES is the show everyone is imitating, and it even get s a six episode spin-off mini-series, just like in the comics.

Perhaps the biggest news from NBC was the announcement that it would, in effect, spin off “Heroes” into a second series called “Heroes: Origins,” a limited-run, six-episode drama that will introduce a new character each week and incorporate an online element that will allow “Heroes” fans to vote on which of the six new characters on “Origins” will be added to the original series. As a breakout freshman hit, “Heroes” has reshaped NBC’s thinking in several ways. By increasing the number of episodes to 24 this season, and adding six episodes of “Heroes: Origins” to the schedule next year, NBC gets 30 total episodes and makes a significant attempt to keep viewers from scattering during the inevitable rerun period. (“Origins” will air on Monday nights when “Heroes” takes a break.)

200705160140THE BIONIC WOMAN is also coming back but frankly, we were much more excited to hear that there will be a US edition of The IT Crowd:

David Guarascio and Moses Port (Joe’s brother) will serve as executive producers on The IT Crowd. The original British series centers on three IT workers who are generally despised by the rest of the workers at Reynholm Industries in London and yet are crucial to keeping the company running smoothly. The Channel 4 series was quite a success across the pond, so naturally NBC wants to try and duplicate that success here.

The hopeful news is that Richard Ayoade will reprise his role as Moss in the US version. (We’ve been fans since GARTH MARENGHI”s DARKPLACE.) Of course it won’t be as funny as the UK one, but we’re sure Ayoade’s Asperger’s-impaired IT guy will strike a chord with anyone who has ever struggled to find the new archives for their Outlook.

Cannes news and notes

Well it’s that time of year: another super glamourous Cannes Film festival is unspooling, and soon pictures of George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie standing on the red carpet will remind us once more of their godly beauty and our own insect-oid squalor. A few cartoon types have slipped past the cordon, however. One of the films with the most buzz is the animated PERSEPOLIS it seems, and a French trailer has been released just in time.

The Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud film “Persepolis,” from Satrapi’s popular graphic novels about coming of age in Iran, is a French production that bills Kennedy as associate producer. The animation film, with a voice cast led by Catherine Deneuve and Chiara Mastroianni, is one of the events of the festival. The “talent” will climb the red carpet in full regalia.

Following on the worldwide 300 phenomenon, The Spirit film will be one of the marquee pick-ups for overseas. The domestic distributor has just been named, bringing the Frank Miller project that much closer to reality:

Lionsgate has acquired domestic and U.K. distribution rights to “The Spirit,” a live adaptation of the classic Will Eisner comicbook series. Frank Miller wrote the script and will direct.

Deal marks the start of a multipicture pact under which Lionsgate and Odd Lot Entertainment will co-finance and co-produce together. Odd Lot partners Gigi Pritzker and Deborah Del Prete are showing a finished script by Miller and will broker overseas territories during Cannes.

News and notes

§ The Oklahoma Cartoonists Collection (OCC) recently has added 1,000 newly donated comics related materials, including works by noted Oklahomans Kate Worley (Roger Rabbit, Wonder Woman), Sam Cobean (New Yorker cartoons), Doug Marlette (Tulsa World editorial cartoonist), Al McWilliams (Blazing Combat), John Romita (Spider-Man), and Al Capp (Lil Abner comic strip parody of Dick Tracy).

Most of the materials were the donations of Jon Suter, a former librarian at East Central University in Ada who is credited as being among the earliest major collectors of comic books and strips in Oklahoma and by Michael Vance, a Tulsa writer of comic strips and books.

§ According to GamersHell.com:
The U.S. will be the first country to experience Manga Fighter
OnNet USA and OnNet Korea today announced they have reached a licensing agreement for Manga Fighter to be released in the US in the second half of 2007. Manga Fighter is a Massively Multiplayer Online Shooting game (third person shooter) with a twist. Players will join other combatants in a 3D manga-style world and will have the choice of multiple modes of combat and character customization. The game style allows for fast and intense combat, but with a fresh manga-style look.

§ Interesting story on real life robots on the battlefield Via Kottke.

“Get over my hotness, Alba pleads”

“I have my own fashion style and do not try to fit in. I don’t have my breasts under my chin, I’m not showing butt cheeks, nor much legs. I don’t go for the trendiest look.”

Jessica recently claimed she wants to be a “serious actress”, and does not want her movies to be all about “me in a bikini”.

Odds, ends

§ Get well even quicker to Polite Dissent’s Dr. Scott who suffered a heart attack but is out of the hospital and feeling better.

§ Get well soon to Kaja Foglio who is in the hospital.

§ Austin Trunick has joined DC’s publicity department, filling the position recently vacated by Sierra Hahn.

§ We hear the press room at San Diego has been relocated to the Omni. Ironic considering the fact that we got a room at the Omni this year so we would be closer to Hall H.

§ We are going to weigh in on the latest gender crisis, but we’re taking our time because we’ve been through this so many, many times before.


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What we’re listening to:
Novelty Waves from the album “Patashnik” by Biosphere

Also playing: The Klaxons (these guys do NOT sounds like the Stone Roses), Simian Mobile Disco, Röykspp, and the Spider-man 3 soundtrack, which we may even write about some day.