Marvel’s Next Big Thing: All-New X-Men

It’s time for another Marvel conference call, this time as Brian Michael Bendis and Nick Lowe talk about All-New X-Men #1. And I was there! Read on, to hear about villains, heroes, mutants…. and how I got cut off halfway through asking a question because my house had a power cut! Also: Stuart Immonen art! Truly, this article will have it all.

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DC Month-to-Month Sales: September 2012

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by Marc-Oliver Frisch

One year after the big relaunch, DC wanted to give its superhero line another jolt by borrowing a gimmick from the glory days of 1994 and releasing “zero” issues of all of the “New 52″ titles.

In terms of average sales, this means an increase of more than 1,000 units compared to August. Of course, these are sales to retailers, and increases based on this type of gimmick never stick around for subsequent issues, but the fact that retailers have enough faith in DC to support the initiative to this degree is good news, certainly.

Overall, in the 115 months since March 2003 that we have comparable data on, September 2012 is No. 39 in terms of average DC Universe unit sales (39,408), No. 8 in total DCU dollar sales ($8.7 million) and No. 11 in total DCU unit sales (2.6 million). All of which is, once again, impressive. However, it’s also the month with the 7th-highest number of new DCU titles on sale (67) during that period, so in that context, the high total unit and dollar figures aren’t as spectacular as it might seem at first glance. On balance, though, it’s another more than solid month.

Speaking of the number of new monthly DC Universe titles, this bears repeating: While the official spin is that DC has reduced the monthly number of new superhero releases, the opposite is true. From March 2003 through 2006, the average monthly number of new DCU titles was 47; from 2007 through 2009, it rose to 52; from 2010 through August 2011, it went up to 57. In the year since the relaunch, it’s now approaching 64. In September 2012, incidentally, the number of “New 52″ titles alone was 55, thanks to an overlap of titles that are being cancelled with their replacements.

As I mention above, September was the one-year anniversary of the “New 52″ relaunch, so it’s worth taking a closer look at the longer-term comparisons this month. Given the nature of the relaunch, it goes without saying that none of the “New 52″ titles went up in sales compared to September 2011. However, there are still some clear winners and losers.
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Webcomic alert: Half-Life by Jillian Tamaki

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Actually it’s from Nobrow #7, but Jillian Tamaki’s haunting Half-Life can be read in its entirety. I won’t spoil it, but it is reminiscent of a classic 50s SF film…even if it does go in another, surprising direction at the end.

Via Fleen

Fantagraphics announces two new books by Dash Shaw

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After gaining huge mainstream attention for BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON and BODY WORLD—both formally experimental graphic noels that remained emotionally true—Dash Shaw has kept a low profile in recent years, as he works on multimedia projects, including animation. But Fantagraphics has just announced two new books, NEW SCHOOL and 3 NEW STORIES. Exciting news for a voice that has been expanding his audience.

Details below:

Fantagraphics Books is proud to announce that it has acquired the new graphic novel, NEW SCHOOL, from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw, who previously created the graphic novels BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON (Fantagraphics, 2008) and BODYWORLD (Pantheon, 2010).
To be published in April 2013, NEW SCHOOL is an all-new, 340 page work of fiction that was loosely inspired by Shaw’s experience as a teenaged foreign exchange student. “New School is my most personal book. It’s all true (sort of). I dramatized and changed things to make everything closer to how it felt. The book took years of difficult work to make. Now I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!” says Shaw.

“Dash is one of the most intellectually curious and fearless cartoonists I’ve ever known,” says Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds. “He created one of the past decade’s most acclaimed graphic novels — BOTTOMLESS BELLY BUTTON — and pushed himself to experiment with the form even further in the books BODYWORLD and THE UNCLOTHED MAN IN THE 35TH CENTURY A.D. NEW SCHOOL feels something like the apotheosis of all three of those books. It’s a major work by a cartoonist in full control of his still-flowering potential.”

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NEW SCHOOL stars a likeably earnest if naive young man, Danny, who was raised on ’90s pop culture like Jurassic Park and X-Men. Danny’s story starts when his brother Luke fails to return from a trip to a remote island where he was hired to teach English to the employees of a new amusement park called ClockWorld. Built by wealthy industrialists but staffed by island natives, ClockWorld is an ambitious theme park that recreates historical events from throughout history.

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Danny is given the charge of bringing his brother home, and is initially overwhelmed by his new and exotic surroundings. His initial infatuation quickly shifts to disillusionment, and his sense of “being different” grows to alienation, especially after he discovers that Luke has made a new life, new family, and even a new personality for himself on ClockWorld. How Danny and Luke’s relationship resolves is the heart of NEW SCHOOL. NEW SCHOOL is at once funny and deadly serious, naturalistic and fantastic, easily readable while wildly artistic, personal and political, familiar and completely new.

Shaw adds, “I love Gary and Eric and Jason and the people at Fantagraphics. New School is extremely important to me and I know they’ll do a stellar job with it.”

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Additionally, Fantagraphics will also publish in April an all-new comic book by Shaw titled 3 NEW STORIES. This stand-alone work will feature three all-new, full-color short stories that explore varied dystopian societies. From a Sherlock Holmes-style investigator who must complete his high school degree to filmed “voluntary” nudity to prison camps full of jaded children, Shaw pens each story with his signature style and unique spin, all in 32 pages.

Currently Shaw is working on a feature-length animation called “Shell Game”, complete with his complex live-painting style and poetic sensibilities. He recently directed an animated music video for Sigur Rós, which is now available to watch online.

 

What’s next for New York Comic Con

By most accounts, this past New York Comic Con was a success, giving fans access to all kinds of stars, comics and otherwise, and presenting a news fusillade on many topics. It was also crowded, congested and teeming with people. Crowding has been a serious issue at NYCC ever since the very first one, which was shut down by state troopers and left many people who had purchased tickets stuck outside. Since then the madding hordes have ebbed, but mostly flowed. Crowd control was pretty horrible in 2010, and got a little better in 2011—but my witnesses say it was back to 2010 levels this year.

While I missed the Saturday logjams, reading about them online presented such a vivid picture that I almost think I really WAS there. Gary Tyrrell has an excellent account. Bear in mind, this guy works as an EMT, so he’s pretty level-headed. [Read more…]

Rob Liefeld announces he uses Facebook

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In a rush for an attention getting headline, instead of checking with the most accessible comics pro on Twitter, another site this morning announced Rob Liefeld was retiring from comics, after seeing a Facebook comment

Ethan, I am retired from comics but you have my blessing, it would look great if you drew it


Upon awakening Liefeld tweeted:


So some time off to spend time with his family then. We won’t get rid of Rob Liefeld so easily.

On the Scene: Stephen Kroninger, the Man with the Serious Scissors

No, he’s not secretly Edward Scissorhands, but if he were, that might make his job a lot easier. The New York Comics and Picture-Story Symposium hosted a talk by award-winning illustrator and photo-collage artist Stephen Kroninger on the 22nd of October at Parsons The New School, moderated by Columbia University’s Ancient and Medieval, as well as graphic novels librarian, Karen Green.

Kroninger, who has been working in New York since 1978 is the author/illustrator of several children’s books, but is perhaps best known these days for his photo-collage illustrations that have appeared in Time Magazine, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Newsweek, as well as featuring in a one-man show at MOMA in 2007. His earliest work as a cartoonist and illustrator for the Village Voice, among other newspapers, belies his comics roots, roots which continue to influence his oeuvre. Kroninger’s collage art, which he describes as “drawing with scissors” is innovative and distinctive, and he has recently completed a large work featuring Grand Central Station. His presentation on the 22nd took his audience behind the scenes of his production process and the highly personal brand of “storytelling” that he pursues.

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Multiple Warheads launches 4-city tour

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Brandon Graham is hitting the road behind the first issue of MULTIPLE WARHEADS, his loopy, memorable comic about organ smuggling that’s already getting rave reviews.

The tour kicks off in Anaheim, California at Beach Ball Comics on October 24, treks to Texas for a signing at Austin Books on October 25, lands in St. Louis for a signing at Starclipper on October 26, and wraps at Chapel Hill Comics in North Carolina on October 27. (See below for complete schedule details.) 

All four stores on the tour will have an exclusive edition of the 48-page, full-color MULTIPLE WARHEADS #1 with wraparound variant cover by Graham, for $3.99.

Beach Ball Comics
 Wednesday, October 24, 2012 
5:00 pm until 7:00 pm 
3024 W Ball Road Suite G 
Anaheim, CA 92804 
(714) 826-6127 
@BeachBallComics
www.cornerstorecomics.comhttp://www.facebook.com/events/384321781637008/

Austin Books 
Thursday, October 25, 2012
4:00 pm until 7:00 pm CDT 
5002 North Lamar Boulevard 
Austin, TX 78751
(512) 454-4197 
@AustinBooks
www.austinbooks.comhttp://www.facebook.com/events/370404009700444/

Starclipper 
Friday, October 26, 2012
6:00 pm until 9:00 pm CDT 
6392 Delmar Boulevard
 Saint Louis, MO 63130
(314) 725-9110 
@Starclipper
www.starclipper.comhttp://www.facebook.com/events/482181911812107/

Chapel Hill Comics 
Saturday, October 27, 2012 
5:00 pm until 7:00 pm EDT 
316 W Franklin Street 
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
(919) 967-4439
@chapelhillcomic
www.chapelhillcomics.comhttp://www.facebook.com/events/283670415066127/

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 10/24: Can you do the Catwoman?

§ Comics are heating up across the nation!

In Elmira, NY! The Elks Club will be majorly involved.

It’s taken four months of intense planning, but what is being touted as the biggest comic book convention the Southern Tier has ever seen is happening Saturday in Elmira. Some of the bigger names in the comic book industry, with artist Mark Silvestri of California serving as the guest of honor, will be on hand displaying and signing their works, holding panel discussions and networking with fans of the medium. In addition to the nationally known comic book artists, several local artists — some published and some independent — will also take part in the event.

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