Two book covers; Family Man and Octopus Pie

Cartoonists were showing off their upcoming book covers EVERYWHERE this week.

Here’s the cover of the first collection of Dylan Meconis’s historical yet mystical webcomic, Family Man.2010-04-27-Family-Man-Volume-1-Cover.jpg

And here’s a photo of Meredith Gran’s first Octopus Pie collection from Villard, coming in June. The book is shown with a cup of coffee for both scale and inspiration.

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Wall Street cartoons of 1882

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Via Super I.T.C.HThe Deadly Upas Tree of Wall Street by Joseph Keppler, from Puck Magazine August 30, 1882. Click for larger version.

The march of art

In the spirit of cleaning out our email in-box, here is some promo art that came in yesterday that may be of some interest to Beat readers.


The cover for the new edition of Steven Seagle’s THE CRUSADES, now coming out from Image. Cover by Kelly Jones.


A preview of Boom’s new DARKWING DUCK comic. Megavolt, how we missed you!





Two pages from Marvel’s FCBD Iron Man/Thor book, written by Matt Fraction with art by John Romita Jr which is, it must be admitted, very tasty.


A page from Boom!’s Robert E Howard adaptation HAWKS OF OUTREMER by Damian Couceiro.


Aaaaand here’s the cover by Joe Jusko.


A teaser image for Nick Srencer’s new book MORNING GLORY ACADEMY from Image.


Artur Arbit’s poster for an event at Secret Project Robot in Brooklyn.


Did you like this tour through our inbox? IF so we’ll do it more often.

Clowes on tour!


Dan Clowes is on tour this week, D&Q tells u, starting today in Washington DC.

In each city, Dan will be talking with a special guest moderator complete with slide show. (and it’s a great slide show) And in Boston you get to see Ghost World after the event, with an introduction by Dan himself.

05/03/10 | 7 PM
Washington DC
POLITICS & PROSE
With Dan Kois

05/04/10 | 6 PM
Cambridge
BRATTLE THEATER & HARVARD BOOKSTORE
With Hillary Chute

05/05/10 | 7 PM
NYC THE STRAND
With David Hajdu

05/07/10 | 7 PM
Toronto TCAF & TPL
With Mark Medley

05/08/10-05/09/10
Toronto TCAF & TPL

05/13/10 | 7:30 PM
San Francisco THE BOOKSMITH
With Glen David Gold

05/14/10 | 7:30 PM
Los Angeles SKYLIGHT BOOKS
With Dana Gould

05/16/10 | 7:30 PM
Portland POWELLS
With Greg Netzer, Director of Wordstock

06/03/10 | 7 PM
Oakland DIESEL
With Eli Horowitz

06/12/10 | 7 PM
Chicago QUIMBY’S (signing only)

06/13/10 | TBA
Chicago PRINTERS ROW

Iwaoka's SATURN APARTMENTS debuts

Another intriguing looking Viz Signature manga is coming via their partnership with IKKI Magazine, Hisae Iwaoka’s SATURN APARTMENTS. According to the blurb:

Far in the future, humankind has evacuated Earth in order to preserve it. Humans now reside in a gigantic structure that forms a ring around the earth, 35,000
kilometers up in the sky. The society of the Ring System is strictly stratified: the higher the floor, the greater the status.

Mitsu, the lowly son of a window washer, has just graduated. Five years after his father disappears and is assumed dead, Mitsu takes on his father’s occupation. As he struggles with the transition to working life, Mitsu’s job treats him to an outsider’s view into the living-room dioramas of the Saturn Apartments. 

“SATURN APARTMENTS delivers a brilliant vision of a future where Earth is just beyond the grasp of humanity,” says Daniel Gillespie, Editor, VIZ Media. “As Mitsu endeavors to become an adult, he treats us to touching insights on working life, dreams and ambitions, class tension, the value of community and family, and the perplexing loneliness that occurs when people are forced to live on top of one another. It’s a poignant metaphor for urban life, drawn with stunning intricacy and irresistible cuteness.” 

Creator Iwaoka is a kind of “indie” manga creator, author of the one-shots Hana Boro (Flower Cookies) and Shiroi Kumo (White Clouds), both of which were serialized in IKKI magazine. She was included in the group show “Tokyo Girls Bravo,” curated by Takashi Murakami, which toured internationally. 

You can read a preview at the Sigikki website.

Saturn Apartments 
DOSEI MANSION © 2006 Hisae IWAOKA/Shogakukan

San Diego sweetens the pot for Con by a cool half mil $$$

Oh, San Diego, how you have changed your tune.

Increasingly serious about keeping what they now admit is tens of millions of dollars in revenue to local businesses, and the glamor and publicity that hosting the world’s biggest entertainment marketing event brings, local businesses are throwing in $500,000 to help pay for hotel shuttles to help the city in its bid to keep Comic-con in San Diego.

The money would come from the $23 million a year the city raises from a 2% hotel room surcharge, and be spread out over five years — provided Comic-Con decide to stay through 2015.

At the urging of the San Diego Convention Center and Mayor Jerry Sanders, the board that runs the nonprofit Tourism Marketing District agreed to budget $100,000 annually over a five-year period for Comic-Con, believing that the worldwide publicity the city gets from the pop culture extravaganza pays dividends in marketing San Diego as a tourist destination.

The financial commitment, made during a special meeting Friday, would cover 2011 and 2012, when San Diego’s contract with Comic-Con International expires, plus 2013 through 2015. It is contingent on convention organizers agreeing to stay put for the three additional years.

The con board has been meeting of late to mull competing offers from Anaheim and Los Angeles, but has yet to reach a decision on where Nerd Prom will be hosted in 2013 — and why should they hurry a decision when the longer they wait, the more the city realizes what a good thing they have and keep sweetening the pot? It’s common sense.

The city was already offering free exhibti space in hotels, a much larger hotel block, and a hotel room price cap of $300 in order to keep the con.

Local businessmen quoted in the piece couldn’t be more excited about hosting Comic-Con, despite past claims that the show was not that lucrative for local business, and other disses.

“This was more a sign of respect,” said Bill Evans, a marketing district board member and executive vice president of Evans Hotels, which owns the Lodge at Torrey Pines and the Catamaran and Bahia resort hotels.

“We know they have a lot of other options out there but this is to say, listen, we want to remain competitive, and history will show the TMD’s efforts will be the winning goal. This is not just about downtown. This convention pushes business to every submarket in the county. I think $100,000 per year is a good buy. At twice the price, it would be a good buy.”

The CCI board is expected to reach a decison in about three weeks.

More Shuster Award nominees announced


Additional nominees in the 2010 Joe Shuster Awards have been announced in the Outstanding Canadian Publisher category,as well as the Finalists for the Harry Kremer Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer Award and the Comics for Kids Award. Winners will be announced at a free admission public ceremony in Toronto on the evening of Saturday, June 5th, 2010 at the University of Toronto’s Innis Town Hall, 2 Sussex Avenue. The Master of Ceremonies will be Jonathan Llyr. The presentation ceremony date also coincides with the 6th Annual Toronto ComiCON Fan Appreciation Event at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on June 5 & 6, 2010.


Publisher/Éditeur

- Conundrum Press

- Drawn & Quarterly

- Les 400 Coups

- Kids Can Press

- La Pastèque

The Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Canadian Comic Book Retailer /Le Prix Harry Kremer pour Détaillant Exceptionnel Canadien de Bandes Dessinées

- Another Dimension (Calgary, AB)

The Beguiling (Toronto, ON)

Elfsar (Vancouver, BC)

Fichtre! (Montreal, QC)

Heroes (London, ON)

Comics for Kids / Bandes Dessinées pour Enfants

- Binky the Space Cat – Ashley Spires (Kids Can Press)

Capitaine Static, tome 3: L’Étrange Miss Flissy – Alain M.  Bergeron, Samuel Parent/Sampar (Québec Amérique)

Laflèche, tome 02: Cobequid – Mario Landry, Marcel Levasseur (Boomerang)

- Horus, tome 1 – L’enfant À Tête De Faucon -Johane Matte (Les 400 Coups)

– Jellaby, Book 2: Monster in the City
– Kean Soo (Hyperion)

- Nightschool: The Weirn Books Vol. 1-2 – Svetlana Chmakova (Yen Press)

Scaredy Squirrel at Night – Melanie Watt (Kids Can Press)

A Sam & Friends Mystery, Book 2: Lake Monster Mix-Up – Mary Labatt, Jo Rioux (Kids Can Press)

Nominees for the Publisher and Harry Kremer Retailer Awards were selected by the Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association Executive Committee after a careful review of published materials and a retailer review/screening process that included retailer interviews conducted on our website. In order to qualify for the Retailer Award a store must be in business for three years or longer.

Nominees for the Comics for Kids Award were selected by:

- Jennifer Stewart, MA, B.Ed — High School teacher at The Linden School, owner of The Dragon comic shop in Guelph, ON

– Beth Alexander, B.Ed — Elementary teacher at The Linden School

- Diana Pai, B.Ed — High School teacher at St. Clements School

A final announcement will be made in May for the inductees into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame / Temple de la renommée Créateur Canadien de Bande s Dessinées as well as the finalists for the for the Gene Day Award for Canadian Self-Publishers / Le Prix Gene Day pour Éditeurs Direct Canadian de Bandes Dessinées.

Submissions from self-publishers will be accepted until May 10, 2010 for
the Gene Day Award for Canadian Self-Publishers / Le Prix Gene
Day pour Éditeurs Direct Canadian de Bandes Dessinées.

Please visit http://joeshusterawards.com/gene-day-award-for-canadian-self-publishers/ for full details. The winner of the Gene Day Award also receives a $500 Bursary.

The Harry Kremer Retailer Award, is named after the late owner of Kitchener, ON store Now & Then Books. Kremer’s store was one of the first comic book specialty shops in North America and Kremer has a tremendous impact as a retailer, aficionado and patron of the sequential arts. His legacy is seen in the five tremendous nominees this year, some of the best stores in North America, let alone Canada – including stores from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.

While there are at least a dozen great Canadian publishers, the five nominees for this year’s Outstanding Publisher Award all distinguished themselves in ways that our nominating committee felt set them apart. The five nominees include three Quebec-based publishers – three time winner Drawn & Quarterly last year’s winner Les 400 Coups and multiple nominee La Pastèque. Nova Scotia’s Conundrum Press has been distinguishing itself with a series of unique and engaging graphic novels, and Toronto-based Kids Can Press who have been producing a lot of great material aimed at younger readers, as evidenced by the three nominations the company received for the Comics for Kids Award.

This will be the second year for the Comics for Kids Award, an award that we are particularly proud of here at the Awards Association – as it is one nominated by teachers and aimed at identifying books for educators, libraries and parents that they feel are quality material for younger readers (aged 15 years or younger). As educators and librarians report to us, there is a growing interest in quality graphic novels aimed at younger readers and we want to do our part to identify the Canadian-created books that are worthy of their attention.

Actual comic book person meets Obama


While guest appearances in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and SAVAGE DRAGON, among many other comics, helped President Obama become as sure-fire a sales enhancement as a variant cover by Jim Lee, an actual comic book publisher has done them all one better by getting a real life shout-out from el presidente: Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, founder of Teshkeel Comics, was praised in a speech at Monday’s Summit on Entrepreneurship conference:

“I have to say, perhaps the most innovative response was from Dr. Naif al-Mutawa of Kuwait, who joins us here tonight. … His comic books have captured the imagination of so many young people with superheroes who embody the teachings and tolerance of Islam. After my speech in Cairo, he had a similar idea. So in his comic books, Superman and Batman reached out to their Muslim counterparts. And I hear they’re making progress, too.”


According to CNN, Mutawa was “treated like a rock star” with people lining up for his comic book like business cards.

THE 99, an Islamic-themed superhero group is Teshkeel’s best known project, published in several countries in the Middle East and planned for a cartoon and theme park spin-offs.

While this was the closest encounter comics have recently had at the White House, NPR reporter Ari Shapiro was simultaneously trying to stir up comment by passing along a copy of Devil’s Dues’ BARACK THE BARBARIAN to White House spokesman Bill Burton who responded:

“I liked it because it had few words and lots of pictures, which made it easy to understand.”


Oh dear.

Kibbles 'n' Bits — 4/28/10

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§ Jog reviews Daniel Clowes’ first original graphic novel

:

Oh, comics and literature. I think the wider critical/(sub-)cultural conversation has packed lit comics stereotypes into a firm enough state by 2010 to wonder freely if Daniel Clowes isn’t on some level fucking with us by devoting this, his first-ever original graphic novel, to the seriocomic travails of an anxious schlub shuddering down a life’s path mined with those transient epiphanies that tease our appetite for wholeness. Clowes’ especial variation is twofold. First, titular Wilson rockets past depression and self-delusion into stretches of bona fide sociopathy, sending boxes full of dog shit to ex-relatives and appearing maybe half-aware at best of how his confrontational rants against absurd modernity and human avarice cause him to register.


§ Hillary Chute interviews the man in Time Out New York

What do you think about the fact that you’re always being accused of having misanthropic characters, especially, say, in Ghost World? I would hope that if you really read the work carefully, that wouldn’t be all you took away from it. Because certainly that’s not my intention. And I often don’t see the parts that people find especially grim and depressing. I usually find whatever I’m doing to be funny. And often I’m surprised when people say, “I was so depressed for two weeks after reading that comic.” Not me. When I work, my wife hears me upstairs laughing at my own stupid jokes. [Laughs]

201004281300.jpg § LINK OF THE DAY MUST READ! Over at Trouble with Comics Guest Reviewer Month Andrew Farago uncovers the secret history of the Sanford & Son Saga

Winter 1993: Ratings skyrocket during the controversial “Death of Fred Sanford” story arc that spans the entire CBS Thursday night lineup for seven weeks.

Spring 1993: Fred Sanford returns during the controversial “Death of Bubba” story arc. Ratings continue to rise.

§ Johanna Draper Carlson gathers evidence on WB’s lack of interest in making direct-to-DVD movies starring female characters, based on this interview with Bruce Timm which has many interesting tidbits:

We were actually working on something a couple years ago that was planned to have an R Rating. It was a very popular book, I’m not allowed to say what it was, but it was before Watchmen came out. Everyone at WB was happy with it, the plan was to go ahead full force, and then Watchmen came out and tanked. The Marketing people and the exec’s said no, no more R Rated super hero films, especially not anything animated, and just like that the project was gone. That’s not to say it won’t ever happen, I’m sure at some point it is a possibility.

§ Everyone has linked to Charles Hatfield’s negative review of BLACKEST NIGHT so we will too:

What is most frustrating is that, as I follow the story’s dotted line, I cannot make out any sense of progress, or of narrative way stations or stops reached along the way. Everything seems to be taking place in a very short time and a very constricted span, despite multiple clues that it is supposed to be taking place over a long period and on a vast, cosmic scale. I cannot grasp the significance of what is happening and the story’s premise remains soupy and uncertain under foot, like quicksand. Again, there are gaps that seem to want to be filled by tie-ins — and apparently we are now above such hand-holding devices as editorial notes, sign-posting, and expository dialogue, things that would make all this confusion easier to process. I’ve guess we’re supposed to assume that we’re too grown up for that.

§ Over in the Washington Post, Ezra Klein adds “retconning to the political glossary. (Thanks to WIlliam Turner for the link)

§ Clifford Meth talks about Gene Colan and his current health issues and an ongoing benefit to help the artist through a rough patch.

§ KC Carlson explains How to Meet Artists Without Being Talked About Afterwards

1. Be normal. Or, failing that, at least act normal.

It gets even better from here.
§ In 1999 Rick Veitch predicted 2011 pretty well

§ The saga of a Beanworld tattoo

Casting Call: Comic Book Fans REPRESENT on morning TV


Comic book fans, have you always wanted to represent our clan in the best possible light? Well here is your chance. A Major National Morning News Show is looking for comic book fans to fill their plaza on the morning of Free Comic Book Day. They encourage all ages and would love if people came dressed in costumes. If you are interested and want to attend, please contact press@ freecomicbookday.com with the subject line labeled Morning Show.

Okay, now, people…this is your chance! Only wear a costume that really fits you! And guys…please wear a support garment.

Full Bleed Stumptown 2010: We got a theory about magic and miracles

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by Matt Maxwell for Comics Beat

I’ve probably started my last three Stumptown reports with this, but I love Portland and the Stumptown Comics Festival. You could rightly say that it’s because Stumptown was the first show that I actually set up at, back in 2007 (has it only been two and a half years of being on the other side of the table?). You could, but I’m not sure how accurate that is. Comparing the Stumptown show of 2007 (in chilly October) to that of 2010 (in springtime cool April) is a tricky thing. The show has grown and been managed in such a way as to make the two very different.

2007 yielded decent attendance for an independent comics show, though that was often long periods of quiet punctuated with silence. Sure, part of that was the fact that I was just selling a mini/ashcan preview then. Nobody else seemed to have any complaints about the size/speed of the show and I didn’t have anything to compare it with, though I remember it not being particularly busy most of the time (a good starter show, as opposed to jumping in with both feet to say Wonder-Con or the like.)

Things have steadily grown since then. Last year, there was solid attendance and a great vibe on the floor, people eager for the opportunity to get something to read, not to keep with the weekly jones or getting sketches from someone just because they drew Batman once. There were plenty of people who worked on superhero/front of the catalog titles (like most of Periscope studios and guys like Randy Emberlin and Joe Quinones). Though for all those faces, there were a bunch of folks from the Portland comics scene who didn’t set up. Even managed to pull in a lot of talented artists from out of the area like Paul Pope, Hope Larson (at least I think she’s from out of town), Tom Neely and Dean Haspiel.

I’ve never been to a MoCCA show or SPX to compare, but Stumptown felt more like a small national gathering of artists than it has in the past. Not that there wasn’t plenty of Portland flavor there; there was. And I have to say, I like Stumptown far better than I’ve liked APE of late. I’ll admit that part of this is the fact that STRANGEWAYS generally shows poorly at APE, which is much more into the DIY and indie crafts side of things than my work. As I said above, folks at Stumptown just want something to read. They don’t care if it came from a gal Xeroxing and stapling at Kinko’s or if it came on pallets from Quebecor. They’re eager to read.

That and the show seems to be drawing more new visitors every year. I’ll just judge by my experience selling MURDER MOON. First year, the book’s been out for a couple months, but like most indie books, doesn’t make much of a ripple in the DM. That weekend, in Stumptown in 2008, I sold ten percent of my initial order to Diamond. Not bad. In 2009, I sold nearly double that. Now this is for a book that’s already been to the show once and has been out for a year. And I sold almost twenty percent of my order to Diamond. In Wonder-Con in 2009, I sold more than thirty percent of that initial order. At this point, convention sales have far outstripped my sales into Diamond.

Now, this year at Stumptown, I did about as well as I did the first year that MURDER MOON was on sale. Which seems unusual. You’d think that everyone who wanted the book would have seen it last year and picked it up. So either people’s tastes are changing (sure, I’d buy that) or more people are coming to shows like Stumptown (I’d bet that) or maybe serializing online has helped expose the book (and anyone who’d seen it online already had it, but that was an extreme minority—most folks didn’t read any comics blogs or sites, but many read webcomics.)

So yeah, I did well. Made table and most of the airfare (and paid for a nice dinner out.) Realistically, I’m trying to make table (as are most smaller publishers; I’d bet that Fantagraphics, Oni and Top Shelf had considerably higher goals). Word from the floor seemed to be that most people were pretty happy with things, I didn’t talk much to any of the larger publishers to get a feel for that (other than to ask Brett Warnock about the MARSHAL LAW collection). Most of the individual artists seemed satisfied with things.

The show itself seemed better organized than in years past (and this is not a passive-aggressive way of saying the show was badly run before, because it wasn’t.) There were some odd wrinkles with my table, but those were all smoothed over in pretty short order. I didn’t attend any of the programming, but by the same token, I didn’t hear any complaints about how things unfolded either.

The aisles themselves got downright busy on Saturday, plenty of dodging and jostling. Though it never turned into a stampede or impassible hallway blockages like even Wonder-Con suffers from in the high-traffic areas now (which made my poor showing there this year even more frustrating). Plenty of people who were there to see simply everything, not just heading to, say, the celebrities to shell out fifty bucks for an autograph. No, I can’t begrudge folks making a living, but that sort of thing takes a huge bite out of people’s wallets, leaving them less cash to spend at other dealers (and I know, none of those people want a weird western anyways).

Though I still can’t get people to go for a Five Minute Story. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. Perhaps the market was simply not meant to go that way. It’s too daring, too bold. Or too abstract. The whole idea of a sketch is an instant art piece that anyone can just look at and enjoy. A Five Minute Story takes a moment or two to absorb (which is why you writers out there shouldn’t try to get anyone other than an artist to read your scripts, because they won’t.) Maybe I should just put up a sign that reads FREE SKETCHES and then do it and hand it back to people to see their reaction. Yeah.

However, like most years, Sunday was a lot slower than Saturday. I mean, not Easter at Wonder-Con slow, where I threw in the towel after a few hours, but not as busy as Saturday by a long shot. That’s okay, gave me a chance to walk around a little bit and actually talk to people. Well, a bit more. I ran out of stock on Saturday afternoon at about 4pm (shades of last year!) and was able to get a copy of the new HENRY AND GLENN minicomic from Tom Neely’s table, as well as the collection of horror-mag-inspired covers he did (which was one of the prettiest things at the show.) Also picked up one of the TALES OF THE UNCANNY preview books, looks promising but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t wishing for more TYRANT or a print version of Steve Bissette’s current digital comic: KING OF MONSTER ISLE. Oh, and the collected version of THE ENGINEER, which I half-collected in singles and am looking forward to finally reading. Even got a sketch from Paul Pope and had a chance to chat with him in a civilized, non-insane setting (which simply doesn’t happen on the floor at say SDCC.)

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I suspect a lot of the Sunday crowd was sleeping off Saturday, though I’m not sure how many folks were at Cosmic Monkey that night. I mean a lot were, but I’d say that three quarters of them were exhibitors and artists rather than straight-up comics fans. Missed the awards show, kudos to the nominees and winners. But I did stick around for the Comic Art Battle and juggaloo Jeff Parker who played the role to a T. But I have to say, Carla Speed McNeill full-out took Colleen Coover down in their one-on-one caricature battle (sorry Colleen!), but evidently the crowd didn’t see it the same way I did. All involved made for great entertainment, and not a self-loathing moment in the whole night. Fuck that self-loathing shit.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk a bit about my erstwhile hosts in Portland, those being the folks behind Periscope Studios, most notably in my case misters Parker, Lieber, Tobin and Hahn, and non-mister Coover (who even drew something on the iPad, though it was clear that a stylus would have made the whole process easier.) Periscope is a true studio in that everyone is bouncing ideas off one another, arguing about buttoned shirts versus tied shoes and laughing at interns who manage to get chili sauce in their eyes, then subsequently arguing whether tequila or milk would be a better solution to that particular ocular invasion. And the studio doesn’t seem quite so cramped now that they’ve kicked out the tenant next door and blown the wall out. Downright roomy. For now. But if it keeps growing at the rate it has been, they’ll be looking to absorb more floorspace before they know it.

As for the Persicope reaction to the iPad, generally positive, but perhaps not as an art tool, just yet. However, people were impressed that they could read a page at a time without any eyestrain (and not just any page, but a Bronze Age Marvel page, back when they knew how to cram stuff in – hope that Tom Orzechowski got paid by the word and not the page back then). And no, I’m not a paid Apple shill, though frankly, I oughta be, bringing a thing like that into a studio of twenty or so artists/interns/creative types. Though I maintain that it’ll be the knock-offs following in Apple’s footsteps that really change things around for the broader populace. But I’ll serve my role as early adopter quite happily. In my off-time, I finished up reading Jack Kirby’s run on KAMANDI and blazed through all of the Starlin WARLOCK (which at moments is still breathtakingly innovative and unlike anything in the mainstream today, even thirty years later, even if it is too emo by half.)

Have to say, the studio experience makes me wish I didn’t live out in the sticks, but then I wonder how much work I could get done in that kind of environment. I suppose the novelty would wear off and pretty soon I’d be back to my surly, sit-in-a-corner-type-self with my head down and trying to ignore the constant stream of distractions. But it sure is nice to visit once in a while.

And I do wish every city was as interested in comics, much less just getting something to read, as Portland seems to be. Granted, my sample set is skewed. But I’ll take it where I can get it.

[Matt Maxwel’s complete Stumptown Flickr set can be found here. ]

Turtles — true and false

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Yesterday the above, somewhat disturbing photo, swept through the internets like a virus, with the breathless question : is this a leak from the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie?

Turns out the answer is: No. Latino Review, which first circulated the photo, says that it’s just a class project from one of makeup master Tom Savini’s students.

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However we are happy to report that THIS is the real deal: PIZZA TIME! a TMNT ‘zine coming soon from Koyama Press. The above is Jon Vermillyea’s drawing, and it is not disturbing at all.

Audrey Hepburn — the best sketchbook subject ever?

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Jamie S. Rich’s sketchbook might say yes. The above is by Mike Allred, proving that many Mike Allred characters have a family resemblance to Audrey Hepburn.

Iconix buys Peanuts for $175 million

Iconix, the world’s second biggest licensing company, has acquired the licensing rights to E.W. Scripps (aka United Media’s) comic strips, including Peanuts, Dilbert, Get Fuzzy, and many, many others, it was reported today. The price was $175 million. As we reported a few months ago, Scripps, had put its lucrative licensing business on the block, given the problems in their other segments, including the newspaper business. The deal will be a joint venture with the family of Charles Schulz, continuing to get a share of the licensing income from a previous deal.201004271400.jpg   

“The deal may not necessarily transform Iconix but it will certainly diversify the portfolio of the company,” Lazard Capital Markets analyst Todd Slater said.

Iconix, which will fund its share of the acquisition with its existing cash balance, said the deal is expected to generate about $75 million in royalty revenue and add 12 cents to 15 cents a share to its earnings, annually.

The company had said last August it planned to spend $300 million to $600 million over 18 months on acquisitions.

Iconix started life as Candies and currently is best known for licensing such brands as London Fog and Joe Boxer. Last year, its licensing revenue was $6.5 billion, so they are certainly aware of the power of building strong brands. The United Media comic strips are their first foray into character licensing, however.

Peanuts retail sales are estimated at $2 billion annually — this is a huge brand.
As we noted when we wrote about the potential sale, Scripps is selling off a lucrative business that has almost no operating costs, (a strategy Marvel has ridden to the top), a somewhat surprising move given the softness of some of its other businesses — i.e. the newspapers that once carried comic strips.

Online media stuff

§ Super-team: Blogging stars Graeme McMillan and Kevin Melrose are heading up the new Comic Book Resources entertainment news spinoff, which is called, unbelievably, Spinoff Online. So far, nothing too earth shattering, but with two excellent writers on board, it’s surely worth a bookmark.

§ Broken Frontier, the long-running comics news site, has launched a weekly comics newsmagazine for iPad version, called The Frontiersman:
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The Frontiersman is the first digital comics magazine to launch on iPad. Created by the team behind premier comic book news site Broken Frontier (www.brokenfrontier.com) and developed in association with web agency Netlash (www.netlash.com), The Frontiersman is released weekly on Tuesdays.

It’s actually a pretty good idea. The guys at Broken Frontier, led by Frederik Hautain have been in the game a long time, with a lot of bumps in the road, including a brief period when they were purchased by Platinum. It’s good to see they are hanging in there.

Gorillaz secret guest stars

Reader Maclaine Diemer alaerted us to this new Gorillaz video which, in addition to being just excellent, features a couple of guest stars. One is obvious — the star of many comic-bookical movies. The other — appearing at around the 4:00 mark — could be an homage to another well known character? Since this is the first part of an evolving story, perhaps this mysterious figure will be back in future installments. To be continued.