FLASHPOINT is DC's latest game changer

DC has released am image (click for larger) to mark the release of FLASHPOINT #1 today. You need to be a bit more versed in DC lore to know how entirely shocking this image is, but there is a monkey, and that’s always good. There are also different versions of Batman, Wonder Woman, and so on. Alternate universe, ho!

What we do know: FLASHPOINT, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Andy Kubert, kicks off tomorrow, featuring the Flash and ushering in a slightly …”Different” world for DC. Which we’ve seen before but you know…it always works for a new generation.

Retailer Larry Doherty of Larry’s Comics in Lowell, Mass, himself no stranger to attention, went on yesterday’s “#comicmarket” retailing discussion to say that FLASHPOINT will be the book of the summer. Selected tweets:

allot of "smart" ideas in main story @TimAtMoreFun BUT the last page is the holy shit moment that #comicmarket has been waiting for in 2011. my “gut” said Flashpoint was going to blow. My “eyes” showed me I was wrong. publishers HAVE to get us advance looks. The amount of positive buzz that the last page of Flashpoint is going to generate tomorrow will carry the #comicmarket through the summer. Age of Apocalypse: were ALL the mini series good? Hell NO! Main concept was killer! Flashpoint will be same. have had calls, emails, DM’s all day asking if my entheuaism is genuine. Seems to be working for me. Were your customers happy with Fear Itself? Mine were barely. Flashpoint will hook them for at least the core series.

So there you go — buzz enough for ya?

Revealed: Who really got Osama


Click for the larger version. Also notice how they ran out of time on some of the photoshopping.

Via Dave G.

Cartoonist Justiniano charged with possession of child pornography

Some stories you just don’t want to write up.

Connecticut-based cartoonist Josue Rivera, who works under the pen name Justiniano, has been arrested and charged with first degree possession of child pornography after a thumb drive he supplied to a funeral home was found to have images of child porn on it.

Rivera, 38, had apparently meant to supply a slide show of a recently deceased friend that would be played at a funeral. Instead, workers were shocked to find child porn — including an image that is believed to be Rivera’s niece — on the thumb drive.

Authorities found more illegal images on Rivera’s home computer, finding 135 files of suspected child pornography. The Child Recognition and Identification System has identified 35 children in the files.

Under the name Justiniano, Rivera has worked on books from DC and Chaos, including a Doctor Fate mini-series, 52 and REIGN IN HELL. He was slated to be a guest at this month’s Big Apple Con.

That probably won’t happen now; Rivera is being held on $100,000 bond.


Grant Morrison to write ALIENS VS DINOSAURS

Hollywood is a tough place. Grant Morrison may be a god of comics — the most inventive superhero idea smith since Kirby, even — and his new book about superheroes called SUPERGODS just got a starred review in Publishers Weekly. He’s been out in Hollywood for a few years, working on such advanced ideas as WE3 and Sinatoro, but we’ve yet to se ean actual Morrison movie. his new screenplay has just been announced, one with a pretty good chance at being produced, it seems, and it’s called DOMINION: ALIENS VS DINOSAURS. It doesn’t get any simpler than that. Barry Sonnenfeld is developing the story as both a graphic novel and a movie, in conjunction with Liquid Comics.

The graphic novel will chronicle a secret prehistoric world war battle. When an alien invasion attacks Earth in the age of the dinosaurs, the planet’s only hope is the giants that roam the planet with, it turns out, a lot more intelligence than previously realized. Sonnenfeld, Rifkin and Devarajan will produce, while Liquid cofounder Gotham Chopra will be executive producer. WME will package the film.

The graphic novel will be published later this year in print and digital formats. Artwork will be done by Liquid’s Mukesh Singh, who teamed with Morrison on 18 Days. Morrison’s repped by ICM.

Hey, it’s a living. And the concept art is nice!

And knowing Morrison, the Aliens will all be worshipers of Shiva while the Dinosaurs have nano-brains implanted in their thumbs. Or something like that.

Cartoonists go goo-goo for Gaga

NY Magazine recently commissioned a bunch of designers to reimagine the mistress of all the surveys, Lady Gaga, just in time for her new album’s release. While it’s hard to out-weird someone who wears a meat dress and goes to a Mets game in her underwear, several cartoonists gave it a shot, including Ariel Shrag, David Reese, Tim Hensley and Mike Keefe.

We’re especially fond of the Mike Keefe scorpion. He tagged it ““Sexy, dangerous, and a little bit creepy.”


Vanessa Davis wrote: “More than just a new look for Gaga, I think we just want to see more of Gaga. How can we get more Gaga?”

Tim Hensley (Wally Gropius) offered a cleft palate: ““Lady Gaga obtains a cleft lip from a cosmetic surgeon to spread her message of universal tolerance. What if you could change the life of a diva?”

But Jim Lee’s has gotten the most exposure, even though it is perhaps the least daring: “My goal was to showcase what made Lady Gaga so creatively dynamic—from her music to her costumes to her hair to her flair for theatrical performances—and interpret her as a thoroughly modern and contemporary superhero. Part otherworldly, part vixen, part Lady Darque, my take on Lady Gaga showcases the eclectic elements which define her talent and style.”

Given Lady Gaga’s endless invention, we might see any of these — or all of them –before the tour is up.

Did the Spider-Man musical humble Bono?


A newly family-friendly and sense-making version of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark opens on Broadway tomorrow, and its faithful Boswell, Patrick Healy, has the new storyline for the creators. The new version of the show, as rejiggered by director Philip William McKinley and writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa includes MORE Green Goblin, MORE Mary Jane, Uncle Ben and Aunt May, FIVE MORE flying sequences, MORE songs, and LESS Arachne.

The experience seems to have been an unusually humbling one for the normally egotistic Bono, who co-wrote the songs and shared the blame when it went far off the rails.

“What was not right about it was a catalog of commonplace problems — story knots, bad sound and finally a failure to cohere, meaning that the whole was not greater than the sum of the parts, as wonderful as some of those parts were,” he emailed Healy. “In ‘Turn Off the Dark’ 2.0, the myth of Arachne does not overpower the reason people are there to discover what makes Peter Parker a superhero, which in the end turns out not to be his spider senses, but his personal integrity and especially his humility — something I hope all of us in this process have learned from.”

That’s about as close to an “I was wrong” as you’re likely to set from the international superstar, so enjoy.

With the show shorn of all the psychodrama about female creativity, the producers hope that it will actually appeal to theatergoers as a Broadway show and not as a train wreck.

Mr. McKinley, a theater and circus director whom the producers hired to replace Ms. Taymor, said in an interview that he had been struck by survey research — which big-budget Broadway musicals sometimes undertake — indicating that the musical held “enormous potential appeal” for people of all ages.

“Our motivation for doing ‘Spider-Man’ 2.0 is its potential for becoming a real family event,” said Mr. McKinley.

It’s a sad state when creators of this calibre have to listen to a focus group to tell them what’s working and what isn’t, but hubris will do that to ya. The original Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark was crazy and inspired and unforgettable, but ultimately a failure. The new one will probably be much more ordinary…and more successful.

The new opening date for the Spider-Man musical is June 14.

Kupperman's next book to be about Mark Twain


Fans of the curious antics of Michael Kupperman have been enjoying his “Mark Twain meets Einstein” adventures on his blog for a while, but it turns out that it’s turned into a book, Mark Twain’s Autobiography, 1910-2010 which will be published in August from Fantagraphics. The cover hasn’t been released yet but a few preview images have.

Speaking of Kupperman, the long out of print TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE #1 is available again for a limited time. Please consult a doctor before purchasing to make sure you are healthy enough to laugh uncontrollably for a moment or so.

Lots of TCAF audio and photos now available

Jamie Coville has his usual massive photo dump for TCAF, with over 250 photos of all the great people there. That’s organizer Chris Butcher and Usamaru Furuya above.

Coville also recorded several panels and here they are!

David Boswell Spotlight (38:51, 35.5mb) – 
David Boswell talks about his career and a lot about his most famous creation Reid Fleming: The Worlds Toughest Milkman. Boswell explains how and why he got into doing comics, some of the inspiration behind Reid Fleming, why what was originally supposed to be a one page joke became an ongoing comic. Boswell spoke about the making of the Graphic Novel reprinting the Reid Fleming stories and what went into it. He goes into the new Reid Fleming Graphic Novel that’s currently being created. He also talks about the proposed Reid Fleming movie, the script he wrote and the big name actors that attempted to get it made and more. The panel was moderated by Tom Spurgeon

Telling True Stories (45:55, 42.0mb) – This panel includes a number of non-fiction writers spanning from autobiographical, history to biographies on other people. On it are David Collier, Tory Woolcott, Jim Ottaviani, GB Tran and Zach Worton. The panel was moderated by Greg Means. The group talked about writing about people who are alive and would likely read the work vs. people who are dead and gave reactions that they’ve received from family members to their subjects. They talked about how their behaviour changes when they are regularly doing autobiographic comics, also how they depict themselves in their works. Just about everybody admitted to fictionalizing their work in some manner and went into the how and why of doing that. Researching their topics was also discussed.

The Doug Wright Awards (1:25:50, 78.5mb) – 
The awards were hosted by Don McKellar
Among the presenters are: Erin Karpluk, Mark Medley & Michael Redhill

The ceremony was as follows:
Introduction of nominee’s and sponsor appreciation by Brad Mackay
Pigskin Peters Hat/Award: Spotting Deer by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
Best Emerging Talent: Alex Fellows, Spain and Morocco
Seth interviews Giants of the North Hall of Fame inductee David Boswell, who is then inducted by Chester Brown
Best Book: Bigfoot by Pascal Girard (Drawn and Quarterly)
Closing by Brad Mackay

Usamaru Furuya Spotlight (1:03:41, 58.3mb) – 
Manga creator Usamaru Furuya is interviewed by Chris Butcher on this spotlight. Chris starts off by explaining how Furuya’s work was translated to English 10 years ago and it was among the only book that dealt with the Japanese youth culture of the time. Through an interpreter, Furuya answers questions about why he has changed his style from project to project, his breaking the 4th wall in earlier works and letting the readers know what is going on with him as he’s drawing the story, his work on a Japanese Earthquake and how it relates to the catastrophe that had recently occurred in Japan. He also answers questions from the audience about his work and the Internet.

Cool images of Thor are all around us!

Since everyone is still talking about Thor, there are, naturally, many Thor images floating around out there.
Jashar Awan did this swell illo for this week’s The New Yorker and sent it to us. Thanks Jashar!


Ken Taylor did a very striking Thor poster as part of the Alamo Drafthouse’s series of alternative movie posters, which you can purchase in the link.


Stussy is selling a second series of Marvel T’s, including a Thor shirt, and that is pretty cool. But when you find out that Thor was drawn by Gary Panter this becomes an ultra cool must-have double-dresser item!

BTW, other artists in the Stussy series include Will Sweeney, David Shrigley, Bill Plympton, John K., James Jarvis, Todd James, Mister Cartoon, and Noah Butkus.

Need more Thor? There is a F*** Yeah Thor tumblr that should fulfill all your other Thor needs for now.

More '90s comics videos: 1990 retailer roundtable

If you didn’t get enough of ’90s style hairdos in yesterday video epic, via Very Fine / Near Mint, another classic ’90s video of a retailer roundtable on the cable access show The Chronic Rift. Three NYC-area retailers discuss advance reorders and the impending marriage of Superman. Of the stores mentioned, only Hanley’s of Staten Island is still around.


Kibbles 'n' Bits — May 10, 2011

§ Headline of the day: Woman Goes To Court With A Monkey In Her Bra

201105100312.jpg§ Big news: it’s Chester Brown Week at The Comics Journal! They kick things off with the longest, most comprehensive Chester Brown interview yet, as conducted by Sean Rogers. The piece contains many insights on Brown and some of the book’s more disturbing passages:

Well, there are going to be people who don’t like the work and shouldn’t be doing it. The woman who pulled the hair over her face, she shouldn’t have been doing it [laughs]. She couldn’t emotionally handle it, apparently. So, I mean, I felt bad for her. But anti-prostitutionists seem to think that’s how all prostitutes feel. I certainly wanted to acknowledge that some of them do feel that way, some of them can’t handle the work, some of them shouldn’t be doing the work.

and some great Dave Sim stories, too.

Well, he disapproved of paying for sex. He thinks women shouldn’t have jobs. He wants them at home getting pregnant and raising children, not out in the world having jobs. And so prostitution, for him, is just another job that keeps them away from their real role in life. That’s why he disapproves of it. So I was considering having us talk about all that kind of stuff. But at a certain point I decided not to put him in there, which turned out to be a good idea once our friendship fell through. Then I would have felt funny about getting his permission for depicting him in the book.

§ ALSO THIS WEEK, at TCJ, Joyce Farmer steps into the Diary Spot with lots of Carol Tyler anecdotes in the first installment:

To compensate for my refusal to drive Sunset Blvd., We went east on Wilshire Boulevard from La Cienega to Carol’s downtown hotel. Highlights: the former Orbach’s at Wilshire and Fairfax, now part of the Los Angeles County Museum complex; the La Brea Tar Pits; the Folk Art Museum where Carol leaped at the opportunity to photograph a colorful political mural for her daughter. She met a person there, a bodybuilder, who seemed to have connections in the entertainment community, i.e. Hollywood. I hope he doesn’t disappoint. Then on through the Miracle Mile; the beautiful Wiltern Theater, now a venue for rock concerts (there was a long line at the ticket window); the big beautiful old synagogue on our left; the former Ambassador Hotel, now a school; Bullocks Wilshire, now a law school; MacArthur Park; and the many art deco apartments and hotels which are still grand in their way. Wilshire Boulevard really is a treasure, I hope Carol had as much fun seeing it as we did.

§ They like us! Scholastic Education president Margery Mayer has words of advice for parents whose kids don’t read:

I gave him the same advice that I give everyone. Let a child read what they want to read, even if it’s just comic books or graphic novels. Don’t pass judgment. Reading is reading. And if you allow a child to read what he or she wants, chances are good that they’ll continue reading into adulthood.

And it works!

§ At least one Borders, outside St. Louis is turning into a Book-a-Million.


§ Tim Callahan conducts a multi-part interview with Walt Simonson who’s getting some attention of late thanks to the Thor Moment.

One of the great things about Ragnarok is, as a story, if you read the Elder Edda, and you see that story in verse, in Viking verse, it’s a great story. It’s one of the great stories, I think, in Western literature. It’s very powerful. And since comics — American mainstream comics — are really ongoing, communal efforts, where different writers and artists come on but the title goes on, they take different colorations over time. Batman has not been the same guy, really, since the 1940s, but…he’s the same guy. That’s kind of true for Thor and other characters as well.

BTW the THOR OMNIBUS continues to sell well on Amazon.


§ ICv2 reports on a new brAnd of gaming event called Epic Con, run by Cryptozoic Entertainment, which will be held this year in Las Vegas and Philadelphia/

Each Epic Con will include a Darkmoon Faire, an event for players of Cryptozoic’s World of Warcraft TCG. But Epic Cons will also include gaming from other companies, including Magic: The Gathering, Ascension, Settlers of Catan, and more.

Cryptozoic is also inviting retailers and other game companies to exhibit. Cryptozoic President and CCO Cory Jones explained the strategy. “The hobby gaming space is too small not to support any group or company spending time and money to grow the category as a whole, and as you can see with the types of games we will be supporting and the types of partners stepping up to be represented, we are totally committed to this vision,” he said. 

§ Speaking of games, that security breach of the Sony Playstation network is a HUGE freaking deal that Sony president Howard Stringer is just now owning up to:

“I know some believe we should have notified our customers earlier than we did. It’s a fair question,” wrote Stringer, “As soon as we discovered the potential scope of the intrusion, we shut down the PlayStation Network and Qriocity services and hired some of the best technical experts in the field to determine what happened. I wish we could have gotten the answers we needed sooner, but forensic analysis is a complex, time-consuming process. Hackers, after all, do their best to cover their tracks, and it took some time for our experts to find those tracks and begin to identify what personal information had — or had not — been taken.”

§ Toykopop’s digital remains are quickly being erased.

§ A brief, cryptic profile of Comic-Con International headquarters:

Organizers of the four-day convention work most of the year out of three unassuming and unmarked office buildings in the heart of this East County suburb. They declined this week to allow interior photographs of the places and asked that the addresses not be published.

Bletchley Park, it’s in Bletchley Park.


§ Matt Seneca has a tl;dr post about something that looks very interesting, and when we have enough time, we will read it, promise:

Basically, for me making written criticism of a visual medium is always going to have some feeling of artifice to it. The comics criticism I enjoy reading is usually historically based, or it addresses some aspect of the “world of comics” that goes beyond the work on the page. I can see everything in the comic for myself, and explaining it out in words when it’s all right there gets more and more tiring unless those words are really really good. You ever read something like Dostoyevsky and wish you could understand the original Russian? Or Baudelaire in the original French or whatever? Writing book reviews and close readings feels like working as a translator — certainly a worthy endeavor, as well as a craft of great subtlety and value — but it gets to a point where I want to use comics to talk about comics.


§ At MTV Geek, Brigid Alverson profiles manga-ka Natsume Ono who is appearing today at Kinokuniya Books in Manhattan:

Two things knit her work together. One is her style, which is instantly recognizable even though she varies it from book to book. The simple lines and areas of unmodulated black and white in not simple give way to a more complicated and detailed style in her later books, but Ono is always recognizable as Ono. One of her trademark features is her characters’ wide mouths, often a simple line that turns up for a smile, down for a frown. She can actually express an amazing array of emotions with that single line, but at the same time, it gives her characters a uniform look.