Archie drops the Comics Code…Wertham dead forever

After yesterday’s news that DC Comics was dropping the Comics Code, leaving Archie the last surviving member of the Comics Code Authority…comes word that Archie has also dropped the Code, starting with books on sale in February. The move will have no effect on content:

But Pellerito said Archie’s decision has nothing to do with content, and there will be no editorial change when the code leaves the front of the Archie books.

“The code never affected us editorially the way I think it did other companies,” he said. “You know, we aren’t about to start stuffing bodies into refrigerators or anything. We have to answer to Archie fans.”

Currently, everything Archie Comics publishes is “all ages.” And Pellerito said that, if Archie comic ever skews to an older audience, the publisher will let the readers know.

Archie had made the decision to drop the code a year ago, but only announced it when asked in the wake of the DC announcement.

Thus ends the last clinging particle of darkest days in comics history, an era that did its best to choke the life out of an artform — but didn’t succeed. Created in the paranoid days of the commie scare — a period much shorter in its reign than the current post 9/11 world — the Comics Code was for a time a very real chain around the neck of the American comics industry. It wasn’t until the underground comics and alternative publishers of the ’70s that it became clear that comics without the seal of approval would find an audience without scarring the nation forever. And the nation is all the better for it.

Good-bye, and good riddance. Let the code live on only as a zuvembie, shambling through history.

Dark Horse promotes Hahn and Marshall


Sierra Hahn and Dave Marshall have been promoted to full editors at Dark Horse Hahn has edited many media tie-ins and original series, while Marshall has focused more on Star Wars material. Congrats to both.

Dark Horse is pleased to announce the advancement of both Sierra Hahn and Dave Marshall to full-time Dark Horse editors.

Sierra Hahn began working in comics in 2005 as a publicity coordinator for DC/Vertigo. Two years later she transitioned into the editorial department at Dark Horse Comics, assisting on such titles as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Umbrella Academy, and Beasts of Burden. In the last year she has edited a vast array of books, including the Eisner-nominated anthology MySpace Dark Horse Presents, Joss Whedon’s Dr. Horrible, Janet Evanovich’s Troublemaker, and Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother.

“I’m honored and grateful for the promotion. The year 2011 promises to be amazing for Dark Horse as we celebrate twenty-five years in groundbreaking comics publishing! I love my job, this medium, and the talented folks I work with every day,” said newly minted editor Sierra Hahn.

Dave Marshall began his career in comics in 2002 with an internship at Wizard magazine, which led to an internship at Dark Horse. He moved across the country to Portland, Oregon, in 2005 and joined the Star Wars team as an assistant editor. He became an associate editor in 2008, taking over Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic with issue #31. After seeing that series through to its end at issue #50, Marshall launched two more Star Wars titles, The Old Republic and Knight Errant, and brought the highly successful video-game tie-in series Mass Effect to Dark Horse in 2010.

“The opportunities Dark Horse has provided me these past six years have been far beyond the dreams of even my twelve-year-old self,” said editor Dave Marshall. “I’m eager to repay those opportunities by bringing great titles and great talent to our corner of the funny-book world for many years to come.”

Tonight to do: Brett-a-palooza at the Golden Apple, LA

Last year, writer Brett Lewis, author of the astonishing WINTERMEN, was attacked and suffered a life-threatening head injury. With the help of friends, family and his own colossal stubbornness and fighting spirit, he’s still around to make us laugh and think. To celebrate his return, the Golden Apple is holding a party, and if there is ONE THING we would love to go to LA for, this would be it.

Friday Night 1/21 7-9pm
Golden Apple Comics

Comic Writer Brett Lewis almost died…But he didn’t…LET’S PARTY!!
During his 1 year absence, he penned the Wintermen GN, Fallout Toyworks,
HALO GN & more….

Come to Golden Apple between 7-9pm on Friday 1/21
to hear his amazing story and have FREE BEER with Brett.

Russ Cochran Publishing in trouble?

From what we’re hearing it’s going to be a rough year in the business end of comics– the herd will be thinned. And here’s one that’s lagging behind as the hyenas circle: Russ Cochran is one of the survivors of the pre-direct market days as an independent publisher, specifically known for his extensive reprinting of the EC comics long before classic comics reprints were commonplace. His publishing company was purchased by Diamond in 1993, and formed the foundation of much of the Gemstone line of EC and Disney reprints. While Gemstone’s actual publishing has been shut down (after running up hefty printing bills), Cochran continues to put out his own line of EC reprints, licensed through the Gaines Estates. However, according to a recent mailer, even that modest business is in trouble:

I’m going to have to be completely honest with you now. My business, which has been in existence since 1971…that’s FORTY YEARS…is in financial trouble, and unless something changes soon, I will be closing my doors before 2011 is over.

I’ve already had to terminate my oldest employee, Chris Rock, who was with me for 35 years. Chris worked on all the EC projects with me, he went to NYC with me to photograph the EC art for the EC portfolios, and it was very difficult for me to tell him that he was being laid off. This leaves only two other employees, Angie Meyer and Judy Goodwin, and right now my monthly sales through my website, eBay, and Amazon are not enough to cover their salaries.

I’m hoping to get permission from the Gaines Estate to continue publishing the EC ARCHIVES series, but unless this comes soon, my publishing days will be ended. With no new products to offer you, all I can do is to offer special deals on the items I do have in inventory. I would rather sell them to you, my faithful customers, at a lower price than to wholesale them to dealers and booksellers.

There are indeed some good deals. If you were thinking of buying some Cochran projects, now might be the time. In addition to the EC books, he also published well regarded volumes on classic musicians Les Paul and Chet Atkins. Cochran also sells very rare comics art by Herriman, Caniff and others of that caliber, like the already-sold Charles Biro BOY page above.

Marvel releases Formic Wars a day early to ComicsPRO

Marvel and the retailing community sometimes have a love/hate/love relationship, but here’s news that they are strongly supporting members of ComicsPRO, the retailer advocacy organization, by releasing Orson Scott Card’sFORMIC WARS: BURNING EARTH #1 a day early on Tuesday, February 15th to ComicsPRO member stores. Participating stores will also sell an exclusive poster. The regular sale date is Wednesday, 2/16.

While this may not sound like the biggest deal, from the outside it looks like a show of support for ComicsPRO and another incentive for retailers to join a more proactive organization to face the challenging times ahead.

In anticipation for the biggest sci-fi release in decades, Marvel is proud to announce that Formic Wars: Burning Earth #1 (of 7) will be on sale February 15th, at select ComicsPRO retailers! The long awaited and highly demanded prequel to sci-fi pioneer, Orson Scott Card’s, legendary Ender’s Saga is finally here and Marvel wants fans nationwide to celebrate a day early! Co-written by Card and Aaron Johnston with art by Giancarlo Caracuzzo, Formic Wars: Burning Earth is the untold tale of mankind’s fateful first clash with the bug-like alien race known as the Formics…and the battle that ultimately sets Ender Wiggin on his quest to quell a galaxies-wide genocide. Mark your calendars and be the first person on your block to get the dynamic first issue, a Formic Wars: Burning Earth limited-edition cover print featuring the variant artwork of superstar Bryan Hitch – only at participating ComicsPRO retailers. Fans will also have a chance to shop through some great sales and stock up on great Ender’s Game collections! And that’s not all! Both Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston will be on hand at Chapel Hill Comics in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for a fan signing!
“We’re thrilled at the opportunity to work with ComicsPRO, the largest organization of professional comic shop retailers in the world, to expand outside the super-hero genre and bring in new readers who have been waiting for this epic story to be told,” explains Senior Vice President of Sales, David Gabriel. “With these outstanding retailers and the popularity of the Ender’s Game brand, it’s a surefire hit!”
Stay tuned to for a complete list of retailers participating in this momentous occasion as the true origins behind the Hugo and Nebula-award winning saga that redefined science fiction are revealed! The story that Orson Scott Card fans have waited years to hear has finally arrived in Formic Wars: Burning Earth #1 (of 7), hitting select comics shops on February 15!
Plus, don’t miss the continued adventures of Ender in Orson Scott Card’s Speaker For The Dead #1 (of 5) — on sale January 26th —or in the graphic fiction adaptations of Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow, now available in hardcover collections at comic shops and book stores nationwide!

ComiXology and ICv2 team for retailers

201101211156.jpgHere’s one of those announcements that looks super vague on paper but given the people involved, you know it will yield some results. ComiXology and Milton Griepp’s ICv2 are teaming up to help develop tools for retailers. ICv2 is, of course, best known for its sales estimates and business news. Although the leader in the digital comics space, comiXology has also developed a number of services for retailers, including their “pull list” — it’s not hard to see how that might work with ICv2 to give us some kind of useful metrics. Griepp is on the board of comiXology.

comiXology announced today a strategic agreement with ICv2, the #1 source for business information in the comic industry. ICv2, led by CEO Milton Griepp, will work closely with comiXology to further develop, manage and expand its relationships with brick and mortar comic book retailers as new programs and technologies are introduced to help retailers prosper.

The relationship will also build on comiXology Retailer Tools, which have been growing sales and improving the operational efficiency of local comic stores since 2009 with their online pull list management software and free cover gallery for any Website. The Retailer Tools includes the widely used comiXology Pull List App, enabling fans to pre-order comics for pick up from their local stores through the app. ICv2 will be handling sales, marketing, and customer service for The Retailer Tools.

“From day one, we always understood that the brick-and-mortar retailers are the backbone of the comic industry community,” said David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology. “Making them stronger businesses creates a greater opportunity for us to collaborate and grow the comic marketplace together. Milton’s insight during his term on our board has been a huge asset to us and we are glad to partner with him to advance our retailer relations and technology.”

comiXology recently launched a new Pull List Email format, empowering retailers to attract new customers by directing consumers who aren’t already connected to a retailer towards an established comiXology retailer.

“What attracted us to comiXology was the vision of a platform for fans, retailers, and publishers that enhances sales of all comics, both physical and digital,” said Griepp. “ICv2’s long experience with the retailer community, combined with comiXology’s unique platform, offers huge opportunities to grow the business at a time of dynamic change in the industry.”

HABIBI drops September 20, 2011

Craig Thompson is the Terence Malick of comics. Eight years after BLANKETS pretty much set off the whole literary graphic novel goes mainstream movement, HABIBI, his 600-page exploration of Islamic culture, will finally be released on September 20th.

The book will be $29.95 — 672 b&w pages — clothbound hardcover with stamped gold foil, and look something like the mock-up above. On the right are a handful of cover ideas that didn’t make the cut. Thank you ALL for your New Year’s greetings and your continued patience in this long, drawn-out process. Thank you for not giving up on me after so many years. Looking forward to meeting and catching up on the upcoming tour.

Thompson has been teasing a few images and pages on his blog for the last few years…what’s been seen looks lyrical and lush.

According to Random House’s page for the book, it will also be released as an ebook.

Will this be the most talked about graphic novel of 2011? It will certainly be in the running!

The Forlorn Funnies Store


Paul Hornschemeier has just opened a web store which includes things like this creepy Lidsville cover. You will buy things. His LIFE WITH Mr. DANGEROUS is coming out from Villard in May.

Land o' links — 1/21/11

§ The Spider-Man musical has an ending! And it’s in a “triumphant manner.” Spoiler there, guys.

The new finale includes a freshly conceived flying sequence in which the character Peter Parker/Spider-Man is airborne, flying around the Foxwoods Theater in a triumphant manner, according to a member of the production team. This person spoke on condition of anonymity because the producers did not want details of the finale given away.
A spokesman for the production, Rick Miramontez, would only say on Wednesday night that the new ending involved “an airborne finale moment that will be familiar to Spider-Man fans around the world.”


§ Paolo Rivera’s dad is now inking for him, and the results are pleasing.

§ One of those nano-cent-per-word articles at eHow answers How Much Money Can a Good Comic Book Artist Make? :

Many factors go into determining a comic book artist’s salary. If the artist is the writer, he may receive more money. However, the major difference in salary is the popularity of the comic book. According to the business journal “Portfolio,” top artists can earn approximately $1,000 per page of artwork. Best-selling comic books are typically released monthly and are usually 22 pages. So, a top yearly salary can reach $264,000, though “Portfolio” indicates a cap at around $250,000 a year for top artists.

Next: how much money can a BAD comic book artist make?

§ Molly McIsaac picks some manga to watch in 2011.


§ As the Comics Code Authority fades forever into obscurity, Scott Edelman publishes a letter by Gerry Conway to the then-head, the feared Len Darvin.

§ We left Shaenon T. Garrity’s picks for best comics criticism out yesterday. Here it is.

§ Speaking of which, the judges worked on the list for a solid year. Dear god.

§ The title says it all: ‘Steampunk Palin’ Comic More Insane Than You Imagined.

§ Unlikely team-up: Beat contributor Jen Vaughn happened to be in Dallas and happened to take a picture of Brad Meltzer at a signing. BTW. Meltzer’s TV show Decoded is now airing on the History Channel, and it’s all about secrets and mysteries. Good stuff.

§ There are many works by Daniel Clowes that would make fine movies, Chris Arrant tells us.

§ Finally, an email we just got tells us that “EXCITEMENT BUILDS FOR NEW ORLEANS COMIC CON.” Alright now.

Tumbling Tumblr blogs: Moebius art

quenched consciousness is devoted to panels from the great French cartoonist Moebius, without whom there would be no HEAVY METAL, Lt. Blueberry, TRON, ALIEN, and many other wondrous things. He’s a key influence in the “global fusion” style of comics that is all the rage these days so you’d better get acquainted if you aren’t already.

[Via TCR]

Wagon Christ is back in March

The first new Wagon Christ album in 7 years (!) is due March 14th: Toomorrow. Wagon Christ is also known as Luke Vibert, aka Rephlex, Amen Andrews, Kerrier District and many other things. If there is one artist that is a constant soundtrack for work at Stately Beat Manor, it’s Vibert — his music is melodic, cheerful, unobtrusive and always giddy. If Raymond Scott, Henry Mancini or Esquivel had been acid disco/IDM DJs they would probably have been Vibert. (He actually made an album with Jean Jacques Perry.) He favors chunks of chords pounded on the organ, so it always sounds like you are in some hip roller rink. Although Wagon Christ is his best known avatar, based on the description, I doubt Toomorrow will sound much different than Rhythm or We Hear You, his last two albums as Vibert, which sound like Irving Berlin drum ‘n’ bass.

He has no webpage, no Facebook, no Twitter. As far as I can tell, he hasn’t done an interview in four or five years. He never comes to the US to DJ, (although he did once, five years ago, and I went.) He is a total mystery to me. He has nothing to say for himself but hours and hours of music that make you laugh and feel good.

I actually wrote this post just to see if I could embed this mp3. And I can! Enjoy!

Wagon Christ – Manalyze This! by Ninja Tune & Big Dada

PS: here’s the website for cover artist Celyn Braizer’s website — a video is in the works!