Liquid reemerges with graphic novel slate

200912151337You remember Virgin Comics — a celebrity-driven line of periodicals and GNs by such folks as Nicolas Cage, Jenna Jameson, Dave Stewart, and so on? When Virgin broke up a while ago it morphed into Liquid Comics, a smaller company run by Virgin’s principals with similar development goals. Liquid was announced in Sept. 2008 and since then, news about the company seems to have evaporated…but they are still around and now announcing some projects.

Variety reports that Liquid has partnered with L&E Productions to launch Epic Cycle, a new line of graphic novels being developed for “multi-platforms.” L&E’s Eric Eisner, Liquid’s Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra, and Suresh Seetharaman will come up with concepts and hire folks to turn them into graphic novels which can, presumably, be used as calling cards to get movies made.

The first three projects:

• H2O by Grant Calof, about “a global drought that creates a multicountry race to find water deep within the Earth.”

• A THOUSAND ARTS by Stuart Moore, “a kung fu adventure set in the Alaskan wilderness, where a transplanted Shaolin monk battles to protect his cultural heritage.”

• PURGATORY by Ron Marz, about “a rogue professor hired by the Catholic church to prove the afterlife exists” who endangers students during his experiments.

As usual, the superiority of the graphic novel as a medium to show flummoxed Hollywood types what something might look like is an important feature of the line:

“I had been looking for the right partner to develop properties through the graphic novel space, and Liquid reaches an audience without huge costs,” Eisner said. “The primary focus is to create properties with franchise potential, and studio-driven material.”

Devarajan added: “We’ve always looked at Liquid as a great way to incubate properties for films, games, animation and TV.”

The crossover we’re ALL waiting for: Epic Misney

T Campbell and John Waltrip for the Disney-Marvel mishmash of your dreams. And posters ARE available. Get ‘em while you can!

One-day San Diego Pass scramble begins in three…two…

Just as a reminder, one-day passes go on sale for the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con today.

Will they sell out today, tomorrow, in March? We were toying of the idea of a pool in the comments thread and whoever gets closest to the time we post our “SOLD OUT IN SAN DIEGO” announcement wins a stack of books. Who wants to play along?

RULES: The date is the day ALL PASSES ARE SOLD OUT, and I post about it — Meaning ALL FOUR DAYS are sold out. To keep things fair, I won’t monitor this thread at all, and after I post, I’ll get a third party to be the judge of who wins.

I expect Saturday to go pretty fast (because they don’t know) and probably Sunday the last if the past is any guide. However maybe I’m all wrong and no one will buy a pass until the schedule is announced.


UPDATE: This contest ends tomorrow at NOON! he thread will be closed and preserved for all time.

Exclusive: Marvel announces GIRL COMICS

A few months ago Marvel announced that 2010 would see a big push for some events built around women — as characters, as creators, and as readers. Here’s one of the first projects out of the box, GIRL COMICS, a three-issue anthology miniseries much in the spirit of STRANGE TALES, featuring comics created exclusively BY women. And that means writing, lettering, drawing — everything. Contributors include Kathryn Immonen, Marjorie Liu, Devin Grayson, Ann Nocenti, Trina Robbins, G. Willow Wilson, Stephanie Buscema, Amanda Conner, Jill Thompson, Louise Simonson, Valerie D’Orazio, Colleen Coover, Molly Crabapple, Nikki Cook, Ming Doyle, Abby Denson, and Carla Speed McNeil. The book is edited by Jeanine Schaefer, and we’re happy to debut the cover of the first issue, by Amanda Conner, colored by Laura Martin.

The first issue is planned for March to tie in with Women’s History Month — 2010 is both the 30th anniversary of the founding of the National Women’s History Project AND the first appearance of She-Hulk. With all the talk all the time about what women want to read or write or smash, we couldn’t wait to talk to Schaefer and find out where this anthology fits in the scheme of things:

THE BEAT: GIRL COMICS — comics starring girls or comics FOR girls? Given all the hoohah about comics from the Big Two reaching female readers, what kind of content are we looking at?
SCHAEFER: It’s actually comics BY women—and I mean, top to bottom: written, penciled, inked, colored, lettered. The logo is by a woman, all the interior design, production, proof-reading and editing is all by women.

Although some creators have gravitated towards their favorite female super hero, it’s not specifically focused on our female characters, and I’m not trying to generate content that I think will appeal to more women. I don’t want to give away all the stories, but we’re really running the gamut of Marvel characters, from Punisher to the FF to Mary Jane. We’re making great comics by great women, period—when given the opportunity to create a story about whatever they wanted, the pitches I got back from everyone have been hugely diverse in tone and characters. 
That said, I definitely think women and girls will pick this up but not because we’ve hit upon the combination that will make all women like comics. I’m hoping it’ll be encouraging to see so many women who are making their livings in comics, that the idea will be reinforced that comics can be (and already are) as much for them as they are for men.
[Read more…]

Publishing news and notes — update

Marc-Oliver Frisch is now link blogging! He notes that Marvel will be publishing their own bargain-priced, entry-level line of reprints, sort of like DC’s After the Watchmen promotion:

The books mentioned are Matt Fraction and Salvador Larroca’s Invincible Iron Man #1 (which will be free, to kick things off), Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s Captain America #1, Eric Shanower and Skottie Young’s Wonderful Wizard of Oz #1, J. Michael Straczynski and Olivier Coipel’s Thor #1 and, finally, one of the various adult-oriented Punisher comics published under the Max imprint—it may be one by Garth Ennis, or the recent relaunch by Jason Aaron and Steve Dillon.

¶ Speaking of Thor, it’s confirmed that Matt Fraction will be writing the book, with John Romita Jr on the art.

GB: Tell me a bit about Thor and how you viewed him as a fan – was he a key character for you growing up? MF: There was one run– Walt Simonson’s– that I thought hung the moon but, weirdly enough, the character wasn’t a favorite particularly beyond what Walt did. And then, as an adult, a few years ago, I was at a friend’s house and saw a Kirby/Giacoia original Thor page on his wall and… and it was like an array of lock tumblers just clicked into place in my head. Like — the art, the character, the myth, the potential — the whole thing came to me in a weird revelation. I got obsessed with the character because for the first time I felt like I figured out, I sort of innately understood, just what you could do with Thor. How big it was, what the potential was, what the book was really, or could really, be about. For the first time I knew what Thor meant. Believe it or not, this is just one of several completely insane-sounding stories that have happened to me regarding Thor since I fell into the big guy’s orbit. I’ve reconciled myself with just buying the ticket, taking the ride, and sounding like a mental patient until I’m done.

Dec09 Slobs And Nags 1

Dash Shaw has been chosen as one of 12 filmmakers for the January 2010 Sundance Screenwriters Labs, a prestigious program that helps young filmmakers develop the scripts for their projects. Previous particiants include Quentin Tarrantino, Darren Aronofky, etc etc. Shaw’s project?

Dash Shaw (writer/director) / Slobs and Nags (U.S.A.): Told with hand-drawn animation, a disconnected family is thrown into chaos when the scientist father loses the test subject of his experiment with appearance-altering technology.

Shaw’s animation for The Unclothed Man in the 35th Century A.D. on IFC have been well received, so a full length animated feature would be…full of possibilities.

UPDATE: Shaw talks about the project on his website and reveals that Frank Santoro is contributing on the art end. This gets better and better! Above, a cast drawing.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 12/15/09

§ Headline of the day! Cartoonist to Perform With Human Woman in Festival, Okay now, before you think this is a great day for cartoonists as they graduate from holding hands with a Cabbage Patch Kid, to maybe sitting side by side with an American Girl, to practicing small talk and saying “I’ll hit you with a text later, okay?” with a Real Doll, a cartoonist has made it to the final plateau…but, no, Human Woman is the name of an Icelandic band, and controversial, taboo busting cartoonist Hugleikur Dagsson will be collaborating with them. A seasonal sample of Dagsson’s art above.

§ Comixtalk presents its annual roundtable on webcomics, this time with Gary Tyrrell, Delos Woodruff, Shaenon Garrity, Fesworks, Derik A. Badman, Brigid Alverson, Larry “El Santo” Cruz, and Johanna Draper Carlson, Among other important topics, they really, really seriously talk about the impending death of the floppy.

You know, I remember when comics cost 12 cents, and floppies were the only format. (*Reaches for cane to beat some sense into the young’uns.*) That model worked because comics were a mass-market medium. Now comics cost $4 and can only be bought in special, inconveniently located stores. That’s fine if you’re marketing to the base, but you can’t bring in new readers if no one knows your product exists. That’s why I’m intrigued by Boom! Studios’ move back to the newsstand, which seems to be doing well. Put comics in front of the kids and they will buy them, especially if they are already familiar with the property (i.e. Toy Story, Wall-E, etc.). It’s not really an issue of technology, it’s distribution and marketing. I really think serendipity drives a lot of leisure purchases, especially where kids are concerned.

Cruz: I’m surprised it’s lasted in this format as long as it has. Paying close to $4 for what’s essentially something that’s Part 1 of a, say, 6 part story? Which you end up having to wait for the payoff over 8-10 months or so? That’s ridiculous. This is why everyone’s gravitating to the trade paperbacks: you get the entire story without the waiting period and its costs less. I think the death of the “floppy” comic is not only inevitable, but it’s also a good thing.

§ ICv2 continues its newsmakers interview series with Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson, Part One and Part Two:

Some people have said it’s bringing new people in. Let me say something. In 1988 when we did Aliens and it sold a bazillion copies we were told that’s bringing new readers in. You can jump forward to when the Sin City film came out and we sold a bazillion copies of Sin City and they said that’s bringing new readers in. And then 300 which I’m told has generated more income than any graphic novel ever, where we sold hundreds of thousands at thirty bucks a pop. We’re told it’s books like that that bring new readers in. How long they last I can’t tell you. There are books that almost act as phenomena in the comic business and they bring readers in. Then it’s the job of the publishers and retailers to create material that continues to bring them in.

[Read more…]

GOSSIP GIRL manga previewed

We reported recently on the upcoming Yen Press manga-daptation of GOSSIP GIRL, the immensely popular TV show and book series. Well, Splash Page has a preview of the comic, written and illustrated by HyeKyung Baek starting in the January issue of the Yen Press anthology magazine. We’ll be watching the sales on this one closely.

18 Days of Christmas: Alex Robinson

A page from Alex Robinson’s adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s A KIDNAPPED SANTA CLAUS, one of three delightful gift books published by HarperCollins this winter.