Midtown Comics opens boutique in FAO Schwarz — UPDATED

FAO Schwarz is one of the most legendary toy stores in the world, located on NYC’s swanky Fifth Avenue shopping district. And now comics will be added to their product mix, via a boutique operated by Midtown Comics. The mini-boutique will offer graphic novels, hard cover books, apparel, collectibles, and more.

“We are very pleased to be invited to bring our brand to FAO Schwarz, and to share the excitement of the world of comics, graphic novels, and related collectibles with those who might not often come across them,” said Gerry Gladston, co-owner, in a statement.

We don’t have any idea how mini this boutique will be, but we’re sure Torsten will bring back pictures!

UPDATE: Aaaaand here’s a picture, courtesy of Thor Parker:
midtown comics fao schawrtz

More here.

Frank Quitely covers Walking Dead #100

Frank Quitely has provided a variant cover for the landmark issue, which will be released at Comic-Con.


Wimpy Kid #7 will be called "The Third Wheel", gets 6.5 million copy laydown

Whether you call it comics inspired or a comics hybrid, Jeff Kinney’s Wimpy Kid series is one of the most successful book series being published with more than 75 million copies in print. Details on the seventh book have just been announced: it will be called “The Third Wheel” and will find Greg Heffley having even more adventures in middle school—adventures perhaps of a romantic nature, as the title might suggest.

The book is getting a 6.5 million copy print run—the largest of any book announced thus far this year.

A third Wimpy Kid movie will be released this August.

In a major press announcement, Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, reveals today the title, projected first printing, and cover of the seventh Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney. The Third Wheel will have the largest print run of any title in the series to date, with more than 6.5 million copies. It will be the largest printing of any book in 2012. The cover color is chocolate brown, which complements the red, blue, green, yellow, purple, and ice blue of the first six #1 bestselling books. In The Third Wheel, love is in the air—but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?

“Writing The Third Wheel has been a lot of fun because there’s so much humor to be mined in the world of middle school romance. When the dust settles at the end of the seventh book, the Wimpy universe will be changed in a way that will surprise fans of the series.”

Promotions for The Third Wheel begin at BookExpo 2012 on Tuesday, June 5, with a giant billboard for the book facing the Jacobs Javitz Center on 11th Avenue and giveaways of custom designed chocolate bars featuring the book cover. Author Jeff Kinney will be signing the first-ever Diary of a Wimpy Kid calendar, featuring original art by him, on Wednesday, June 6, 2012, from 4 to 5 p.m. Kinney and ABRAMS have also donated to the ABFFE/ABC auction, which takes place Wednesday, June 6, 2012. The highest bidder will win a trip to New York to walk in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Giant Helium Balloon.

The Third Wheel will follow the sales and publicity momentum of next month’s release of the new edition of the Wimpy Kid Movie Diary and the August 3 release of the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid major motion picture, Dog Days.

“This is the most anticipated book of the year, and we know that kids, fans, their caregivers, librarians, teachers, and friends will be clamoring for Jeff Kinney’s new book,” said Michael Jacobs, President and CEO of Abrams. “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, with more than 75 million copies in print worldwide, are the most successful books—for children or adults—out there. We believe that our laydown of The Third Wheel will make this holiday season a great one for booksellers and for kids.”

Books in the core Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney include Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2008), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (2009), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2009), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (2010), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

(2011). Jeff Kinney has also written and illustrated The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary.The series is a fixture on the USA Today bestseller list and the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. It has also remained consistently in the top spots on the New York Times lists since publication of the first book in the series in 2007.

More than 75 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are in print in 35 languages in more than 36 countries around the world. Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, Kinney’s work has been widely praised for its ability to turn reluctant readers on to books. Jeff Kinney was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world. The first movie based on the books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, grossed more than $75 million worldwide in box office sales, and the second movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, was the #1 movie at the box office in its opening weekend in theaters. The book series won Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and Jeff Kinney won a Children’s Choice Book Award in 2012. Books in the series have won numerous awards voted on by students and teachers in schools around the globe. The Wimpy Kid Island, Wimpy Wonderland, on www.poptropica.com, remains one of the most visited on the site.

Reminder: Monday is Eisner voting deadline!

This Monday, June 4 is the deadline for Eisner Award voting! All the info you need is in that link, while the voting link is here.

The following working comics industry professionals are eligible to vote in the Eisner Awards:
• Comic book/graphic novel/webcomic creators (writers, artists, cartoonists, pencillers, inkers, letterers, colorists)
• All nominees in any category
• Comic book/graphic novel publishers and editors
• Comics historians and educators
• Graphic novel librarians
• Owners and managers of comic book specialty retail stores

The Eisners will be handed out on Friday July 13th during Comic-Con International.

CRASS HINT: Be sure to pay special attention to the Best Journalistic Presentation category and do what you know is right.

Webcomics format examined by Ellis and Waid

This webcomics thing is heating up!

Actually, what’s heating up is that a new population of webcomics immigrants is moving to this new land and trying to learn the customs and shortcuts of the new society. And the natives—creators who came of age with the web as their native platform—are probably rolling their eyes and going on with business.


Warren Ellis muses on the two-tier format that the immigrants are adapting:

What else do we notice about these three screens?  Two-tier storytelling.  Isn’t it strange how all three teams have gone to two-tier, independent of each other?

Maybe not.  You’ve cut the print page in half.  If you want each screen to make sense as a discrete entity, you have to respect the cut.  If you want each screen to contain enough information to make it worth reading, you need a strategy to maximise your panelling.  And if you want to be able to stretch out and get a big picture in there while still maintaining storytelling coherency, you’ve kind of got to go wide on the page.

¶ Meanwhile, George Gustines at the New York Times has also discovered webcomics, via Mark Waid’s various enterprises.

When reading a traditional comic, the eye cannot help taking in the whole page at once. The digital format and the pace of the Infinite Comic can lead to more surprises. As each successive panel appears on the screen, each tap or click can reveal a new caption, subtly change an illustration or replace it entirely. Focusing and blurring effects can heighten the reading experience or simply allow one to appreciate the artwork, which is richer and more vibrantly colored than the printed page.

Mr. Waid, a celebrated writer for Marvel, DC Comics and small publishers, noted that there were compromises in making digital comics. The Web may be infinite, but the borders of monitors, tablets and smartphone screens are not. Even on an iPad, the “canvas” is about 20 percent smaller than the standard comic book page. But “the trade-off is international distribution,” Mr. Waid said, “as opposed to having to rely on niche hobby shops scattered across the nation.”


On the Scene: Phoenix Comicon as seen by a librarian and her 10-year-old daughter


by Merideth Jenson-Benjamin

This Memorial Day weekend, downtown Phoenix was invaded by the nerdy, as the 10th Phoenix ComiCon was held. This con, which saw more than 30,000 people over four days, has grown exponentially over the last several years. It, like most “comic book” conventions, has become a celebration of all things geeky, and featured programming tracks for comics and superheroes, anime and manga, science fiction. It is the highlight of the year for many in the geek community in Arizona.

I had not attended Phoenix Comic Con for several years, and for the first time I attended with my daughter. Mari, age 10, is a veteran of San Diego Comic Con, but had never experienced a smaller, local convention. Although she’s been reading comics since she was old enough to know what a book is, she is just starting to explore the comics landscape on her own, getting a feel for the different types of comic art and stories. What follows is a conversation we had about our Phoenix Comicon experience.

Mom: So, Let’s talk about Phoenix Comic-Con. This was your first local con, and my first one in a long time. How did you feel about it?

Mari: It was fun! I had a really good time.

Mom: I thought it was fun too, but I had a few issues.

Mari: Me too.

Mom: What did you think was the best thing about the con?

Mari: The exhibit floor. Because there were a lot of vendors and artists that I had never seen before, and it wasn’t too expensive.

Mom: You bought a lot of art prints. Why did you choose to do that?

Mari: I want to be an artist, so I bought a lot of art that I liked and thought was interesting.

Mom: Did you have a favorite artist there?

Mari: I really liked Freddie Williams II and April Reyna. I bought prints from both of them. A Wonder Woman and a Harley Quinn. They were both really nice and talked to me for a while.

Mom: I liked Artist Alley too. I had really nice conversations with Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, and with Randy Millholland from Something Positive.

Mari: When can I read Something Positive?

Mom: When you’re in high school.

Mari: You said the same thing about Sin City!

Mom: Exactly. Did anything bother you about the exhibit floor?

Mari: There were a lot of erotic pictures and artists. It bothers me that artists draw girls, even the heroes, as such hootchies. I mean what they do is none of my business but, there were lots of little kids there. And the Events guide had Lady Death on the front of it, and she barely has any clothes on.

Mom: You know I’ve been to so many cons that I don’t even see the cheesecake art anymore, so it’s interesting that it bothers you. Do you think that the sexy art is why a lot of girls don’t like comics?

Mari: Yes, I would agree to that, I mean, there are lots of sexy girls in anime, even shojo, but it’s cute and kind of safe feeling. It’s made for girls, and the sexy comics’ art doesn’t feel like it is.

Mom: I think we should mention that there wasn’t a lot of “comics” in our comic con. We spent a lot of time in Artists Alley, but, we didn’t go to any of the big comics panels.

Mari: Yeah, why not?

Mom: Well, because I think a lot of the featured artists and writers like Garth Ennis and Brian Pulido make comics that I am not comfortable with you reading, because you’re 10. And, you weren’t interested in the DC panels on the New 52 and Flashpoint, mostly because I don’t think you know what they are.

Mari: The New 52 is where they put Wonder Woman in stretch pants, right?

Mom: Yes, among other things.

Mari: Nope, not interested.

Mom: If I had one complaint to make about the con, it would be about the panels.

Mari: Me too! Nothing we went to started on time.

Mom: I know. That was really frustrating.

Mari: And, a lot of people on the panels seemed really unprepared or just brought what they had done before. For example, the panel about Drawing Out the Dragons with James A. Owen? He gave that exact same talk at my school last year.

Mom: I have heard him give that speech before also.

Mari: And he didn’t even teach us how to draw dragons, until the very, very end!

Mom: I did notice that a lot of panelists seemed unprepared.

Mari: And it seemed really unorganized. Like, people needed laptops that weren’t there, or they couldn’t get the video to work right, or the sound was wonky.

Mom: Now, we should mention that the people we talked to who went to the big panels – William Shatner, the Star Trek: The Next Generation Panels, Jon Berenthal — were very impressed. And I know they were very popular.

Mari: I don’t know who any of those people are.

Mom: Which is why we didn’t go to them. What was your favorite panel?

Mari: The Steampunk Fashion show, but that started late too.

Mom: That was very cool. Steampunk was very popular at the con.

Mari: Because it’s awesome. Although, it gets boring trying to explain what it is to people.

Mom: Anime and Manga were also very popular. We didn’t go to a lot of those panels because you are not really into manga.

Mari: Anime and manga seem a little cutesy to me.

Mom: I think you’re at a weird age for manga and anime. Not really old enough for the teen focused stuff and you’re too old for the titles for younger kids.

Mari: That’s probably true. And I don’t like romance, and anime and manga is FULL of it.

Mom: Some of it is. Now, did anything else bother you about the con?

Mari: Well, yeah, but it didn’t really have much to do with the con. More with you.

Mom: Me?! What did I do?

Mari: Nothing, but teenagers kept screaming your name and coming up to hug you.

Mom: Well, they’re kids I know from the library.

Mari: I know that, but they would yell across the convention center or attack you in the hallway! It was a little embarrassing.

Mom: There were a lot of kids I know there, and I think that is the best thing about a local convention like this. It gives a people who are really enthusiastic about comics, or anime, or zombie killing a place to go to share their enthusiasm. All of the kids I talked to were having the best time ever, just hanging out, wearing costumes, hugging strangers. It was very cool to see all that nerd-dom in one place.

Mari: Yes it is. And I totally want to go back next year.

Mom: You got it.

[Photo from the Phoenix Comicon Flickr set.]

Merideth Jenson-Benjamin is a Teen Services Librarian in Glendale, Arizona. She is the co-author of Collections for Teens: Manga and Graphic Novels from Neal-Schuman Publishers/VOYA Press.She also reviews for Voice of Youth Advocates and natters on her blog, Merideth Says (http://meridethsays.blogspot.com)

Mari Benjamin is the child of geeks. She wants to be a cross between Jill Thompson and Nick Fury. Her goals in life are to win an Eisner Award and boss people around. And wear cool black leather clothes.

Team Cul De Sac Auction Goes Live!


Richard Thompson and his charming Cul de Sac comic strip have numerous fans in the comics community.  So, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his personal friend Chris Sparks started educating himself on the disease and the best ways to help. His research lead him to create Team Cul de Sac, a division of Team Fox and The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

Many of you have heard about and seen Bill Watterson’s painting of Petey Otterloop (scroll down if you haven’t).  What many have overlooked is that numerous cartoonists, both from comic strips and comic books, have created original artwork to benefit Team Cul de Sac.

A benefit book (seen above) will be published by Andrews McMeel in June, and the art is currently being auctioned by Heritage Auctions, with final bidding Sunday, June 10 in Dallas.  All 148 lots can be viewed online, and if you register, you can bid on the artwork.

This is an incredible auction!  Not only is it for a great cause, but you’ll find original artwork here from many artists!  Yes, Bill Watterson is known for being a recluse, never showing his paintings to anyone, but many other comic strip creators rarely attend comics conventions or do sketches.  I’ve selected some of the more interesting pieces and posted them below, but please visit the Heritage Auctions website and place a bid!  If you can’t afford the original artwork, click on the book link above and order a copy of the hardcover.  There’s a Google Preview available, which shows the artwork in color, along with the a foreword from Richard Thompson, and a profile reprinted from the Washington Post.

Go read the comic strip for free! It’s as good as Calvin & Hobbes, but different.  Or, if  you like your comics the old fashioned way, buy the books!

Bill Watterson
R. Sikoryak

Stephan Pastis

Patrick McDonnell

Roger Langridge

Karl Kesel

Dave Kellett

Jim Davis

Danielle Corsetto

Jerry Borgman and and Jerry Scott

Sergio Aragones

Lynn Johnston

Gotham Preacher takes to the streets of Brum to spread the gospel according to Batman

We’re not quite sure who this nutter is, but he knows his Batman. In this video, he’s taken to the streets of Birmingham, UK to comfort those who have walked in the valley of the shadow of Arkham.

It definitely makes sense, once you put it all together. Maybe this Batman religion thing could catch on, right, C. Nolan?

via Oh my geek!

Claws Are Out for The Eagle Awards

Last week’s Eagle Awards were notable for both an uncharacteristic lean towards mainstream titles, and for a Scarlet Witch-esque announcement made by MCM Expo convention-runner Brian Cooney at the ceremony that from now on, there would be no more Eagle Awards.  It was widely reported that the ceremony – the longest established comic book awards show in the world, having first started in 1977 – would be replaced by a new show called ‘The MCM Awards’.

This came as a surprise to many people, but not least to Cassandra Conroy, the Chair of The Eagle Awards, who this week issued a press release contesting Cooney’s claim:

The Eagles are neither dead nor morphing into anything else. MCM Expo is in no position to announce, imply or indicate otherwise. In fact no third party can casually discard what my father has developed over the past 36 years.

Conroy made it clear in the release that neither her nor her father Mike Conroy, who founded the awards, were actually in attendence at the ceremony this year, ominously hinting that the pair had boycotted the event;

in response to actions that are now being reviewed by my lawyer.

First Brett Ratner leaves the Oscars, and now this. The Conroys go on to clarify that;

The Eagles will continue to soar into 2013 and beyond. We’ll be announcing further details of our plans for next year in the near future.

In response, the owners of the MCM Expo (and co-claimants of the Eagle Awards) have said that Cooney’s announcement was more an announcement that, from MCM’s perspective, the awards were done with forever. They view the MCM Awards as a replacement for the Eagles, rather than a spiritual successor or continuation, and are looking to launch in 2013. So, if the Conroys can regain their full claim on The Eagle Awards, it’s likely that they’d also be hosting a ceremony next year.

Remembering that we also have the Hugos, Stan Lee Awards, Eisners, and Harvey Awards – among others – then it looks like 2013 is looking to be an excellent year for people who like seeing Paul Cornell in a smart suit.