Lots of Dynamite/Dynamic Forces news: Art sales, Reanimator returns, Looking for Group and Jungle Girl by Frank Cho

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Dynamite and Dynamic Forces have been making a lot of announcements, and there isn’t even a con coming. Here’s the round-up:

• Dynamic Forces CEO Nick Barrucci is selling art from his personal collection by Tom Raney, Mark Bagley, Scott Hanna, and Patrick Zircher from books like The Outsiders, The Punisher, Uncanny X-Men, Ultimate Spider-Man, The Order, Robin, and more. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit the CBLDF. Barrucci owns hundreds of pages of art, and fans can order by artist: orders will be filled randomly for $75 a page.

Here are the links to the pages:
Part One 

Part Two

Part Three

“Art collecting has been a passion of mine for years,” Barrucci explained. “For the past 30 years, I have been picking up pieces from my favorite artists whenever I can.  I look at my collection on a regular basis, as I love to appreciate the form, and I was looking at some of these pages by great artists including Mark Bagley, Patrick Zircher and one of my favorite contemporary art teams – Tom Raney and Scott Hanna, and thought that while I have a great collection, I couldn’t possibly appreciate it all properly, as with Mark, Patrick, Tom and Scott I have over 400 pages of these fantastic artists and a few other incredible contemporary artists.  I had contemplated selling these via auction houses, but realized that many fans may not have access to original art, and thought it would be cool to offer to the comics fan base first.  This is the ultimate one-of-a-kind comics collectible as there is only one of each piece of original art, which is why we need to fill each order randomly.”

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• Reanimator, a character created by H.P. Lovecraft in 1921, is coming back in a four-issue miniseries written by Keith Davidsen and illustrated by Randy Valiente, debuting in April. Variant covers include Jae Lee (Dark Tower), Francesco Francavilla (Afterlife with Archie), Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash), and Andrew Mangum (Wilder).

In Reanimator, Dr. Herbert West heads to New Orleans to continue his life’s work: the revival of the dead by purely chemical means. To accomplish this task, he recruits Susan Greene, a young and wide-eyed pharmacologist fascinated by his macabre experiments. Initially unfazed by West’s unorthodox practices (including how he funds his research – by selling zombie brain fluid as a narcotic), Susan may regret her scientific curiosity as sinister forces – those aligned with Elder Gods and Haitian Voodoo – begin to align against the Reanimator. Reanimator blends mad science, Lovecraftian tentacle terror, backwater Louisianan superstition, and fan-favorite elements of such television shows as Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead.

 

 

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• Jungle Girl is also coming back in April, with cover art and writing by Frank Cho. Frank Cho and Jungle Girls…it’s like peanut butter and jelly. The series is co-written by Doug Murray (The ‘Nam) and illustrated by Jack Jadson (The Savage Hawkman).

Jungle Girl: Season Three picks up where the previous series left off, following Jana’s escape from an underwater city and a gigantic, otherworldly creature. However, her father soon reveals that those actions have doomed the Lost World in which they all live, as a wormhole appears in the sky and flaming debris begins to fall through. As the jungle burns, Jana and her friends must contend with stampeding behemoths and displaced, murderous natives. Furthermore, the rift presents a new, fearsome threat, for the fire from an alien dimension was not the only thing to come through.

“I’m delighted to be back with my co-creator, Doug Murray, and finish out the final story arc of Jungle Girl,” says Cho. And surely many will be delighted to see him back. What is it people like about jungle girl comics anyway? Could it be…the themes?

“Jungle Girl appeals to readers for the same reason that other such stories do,” says Murray. “We are fascinated by the ‘Noble Savage’, the man or woman who, untainted by society, lives a life filled with the challenge (and pleasure) of the hunt as he/she fights for survival.  It’s a genre that has existed for over a century but was perfected by Edgar Rice Burroughs in Tarzan and associated books. The TV series Lost touched upon the same challenges and appeals.”

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• AND the 2008 Shuster Award winner for “Outstanding Canadian Web Comics Creators” Looking For Group is getting an ongoing series. Written by Ryan Sohmer and illustrated by Lar deSouza, Hawk, Ryan Dunlavey, and Ed Ryzowski, with variant covers by Ty Templeton and Becky Dreistadt, and bonus stories from the Non-Playable Character and Tiny Dick Adventures spin-off series.

Looking For Group follows the adventures of Cale’Anon the elf and Richard the undead warlock, as well as their companions, through Fantasy, Pop Culture, and Gaming tropes, set in a reality and time unlike our own. It’s a place where the eating of small children is not necessarily frowned upon; where beings of extraordinary power can destroy entire villages with only “because I could” as an excuse; where magic and adventure are as commonplace as setting fire to, and then reanimating, a chipmunk into a skeletal minion (it happens more than you’d think); and an epic journey can begin by an accident of fate.

 

Go FOC Yourself // More Like Deathstroke the Terminated, Amirite?

This is being written on the day that initial orders are due for my store, and with the three week vacation I took, I’m a little behind the eight ball. Should I be writing articles for the internet? Probably not, but nothing says “Important Work Needs To Get Done” quite like doing something else entirely.

Welcome to Go FOC Yourself, a weekly column at The Beat that will serve as a catch all for interesting books coming that are on Final Order Cut-Off (FOC) and other miscellania that doesn’t quite merit a full retail column. Most weeks, there will be one or two bigger features and then a jumble of topics. Sometimes it will just be a jumble. This week will be especially rough because I don’t know what this column will eventually become.

The weekly rush, it never stops. Let’s go.

ALL NEW DEATHSTROKE

Some kind of Deadpool rip off or something

Some kind of Deadpool rip off or something, I guess.

So here’s the thing about this new Deathstroke book: I genuinely think there has never been a better time for DC to try and make this book happen. The character is coming off of a high profile turn as the big bad on the latest season of Arrow where he was watched by millions. The DVDs are out. The episodes will eventually hit Netflix. They’d be stupid to not test the waters with a new series. The problem? They are testing those waters poorly.

Take a look at the solicitation information for the first issue:

The DCU’s deadliest assassin stars in his own ongoing series by writer/artist Tony S. Daniel! See him as never before in this explosive new series, with one surprise after another as we see Slade Wilson in the fight of his life!

Two sentences that tell you nothing more than “a Deathstroke comic by Tony S. Daniel is happening”. They honestly could have just written that and achieved the same results.

If DC wants me to spend a decent amount of money ordering copies of this book, they have to give me more. As it stands, it seems like yet another book where the house style is Serious Business with a side of limb rending, only this time the main character is a villain. What makes this book different than the recently launched All New Suicide Squad? Better yet, what makes it different than the previous series that was recently cancelled? Without anything to latch onto, I won’t be making a confident order.

ON THE OTHER HAND

It’s not on final order cut off this week – in fact, it will be in stores this Wednesday – but I wanted to share an example of a great solicitation DC sent out just to prove they can sell a book. This comes from Gotham Academy #1:

WELCOME TO GOTHAM ACADEMY! Gotham City’s most prestigious prep school is a very weird place. It’s got a spooky campus, oddball teachers, and rich benefactors always dropping by…like that weirdo Bruce Wayne. But nothing is as strange is the students!

Like, what’s up with Olive Silverlock? Is she crazy or what? Where did she go last summer? And what’s the deal with her creepy mom? And how come that Freshman MAPS is always following her around? And is she still going out with Kyle? P.S. Did you hear the rumor about the ghost in the North Hall?!

GOTHAM ACADEMY is a new, monthly teen drama set in the shadow of Batman and the craziness of Gotham City, with new characters and old plus a secret tie to Gotham’s past…

Even excluding the second paragraph, this solicitation is vibrant. It gives you the concept, and gives you just enough information to get the hooks in. Beyond this, the creative team has been hustling to get the word out about this series, and has created quite a buzz for the book. It, alongside the sell-and-hustle that’s happening with Batgirl shows that the company – or at least the creators and editors behind the Bat-books – can drum up interest in books with completely new characters, as well as books with new takes on older concepts. This, in stark contrast to the no-sell of Deathstroke and Klarion.

As it stands, my orders for all four titles definitely reflect upon the strength of the solicits, with Gotham Academy and Batgirl clocking orders that are roughly fives times as large as the orders I placed for Deathstroke and Klarion. Here’s hoping other retailers have done the same so we can start pointing DC in the direction of fresh sellable concepts.

PREMIUM KUSH COMICS

A joke about "baggies" or something.

Joooookes.

DC announced the smells that will be a part of the “rub and smell” Harley Quinn Annual, one of which will apparently cause problems at the border. From their e-mail to retailers:

The rub and smell scents featured in HARLEY QUINN ANNUAL #1 were chosen in an effort to capture the world in which Harley lives. This ‘scenticular’ book was created in the spirit of innovation and fun that DC Entertainment brings to our fans every day.

There will be two editions of HARLEY QUINN ANNUAL #1 available to retailers, and each edition will have a BOMBSHELLS variant. All copies will by poly-bagged.

UPDATE: Retailers, please note that the rub and smell feature will only be included in the first printings of this title.

The first edition and variant, available for purchase only in the domestic United States, includes smells similar to leather, suntan lotion, pizza and whats referred to in the story as cannabisylocibe 7-A.

DC Entertainment is creating a second edition and variant to be available for purchase in all territories. These alternate versions of the issue will feature smells similar to leather, suntan lotion, pizza and fresh-cut lawn clippings. This edition will feature differently colored versions of the cover art. Please note that all current orders under item codes AUG140294 and AUG140295 will be applied to the new international editions. You may continue to adjust your orders through the Final Order Cutoff date of September 29.

Yeah. “Cannabisylocibe 7-A”. Which I’m sure is going to stop folks from asking their local comic shop if they have the Harley Quinn comic that smells like weed. Just gonna add that to the long list of reasons my family doesn’t think I have a real job.

DEADLINES, ISSUES & DEADLINE ISSUES

Frank Cho provides the art to Guardians of the Galaxy Annual #1, which is probably why it’s two months late. It’s a shame, because having a book that said something resembling GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #1 on the shelves for August would have been great. As it stands, I’m lowering my orders on this, because I know I won’t be able to hand-sell it as well as I could have then.

For the record, this is also why I chuckled and shook my head when Cho announced two new creator owned projects at the Baltimore con a few weeks back. The dude can’t do deadlines when he has an editor pushing him, let alone when he’s left to his own devices. Remember Zombie King? That’s a book that famously began with a zombie having sex with a cow and got a lot of deservedly strange buzz right out the door. Only one issue shipped. And how about Guns and Dinos? The first issue was solicited from Image for the end of 2011. Nothing has shipped. I love the guy’s work, but the guy just can’t get the work done, and it will definitely colour the numbers I send in for any and all of his future projects.

FOC PICK OF THE WEEK // MEMETIC #1 (BOOM! STUDIOS)

Memetic #1

I made the mistake of reading the retailer preview copy of Memetic before going to bed this past Wednesday. While most folks have more of a stomach for scary stuff, I generally don’t do to well, and this book terrified the hell out of me. James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan build a story that’s half Dramatic Look Gopher and half The Ring, and use a larger page count to let things simmer before bringing things to a boil. If you’re in the mood for something a little fun and incredibly disturbing, and don’t mind cringing every time someone tries to show you a new cute video, definitely check this book out. I’m upping my orders to make sure certain customers won’t miss out.

TO BE CONTINUED…

And with that, the first column mercifully limps to a close. I’m still feeling things out, and willing to take comments and suggestions. Want to hear more about certain aspects of ordering? Do you want more micro-reviews of upcoming product? Want me to shut up about certain things altogether? Please comment below. I want this column to become a nice resource for the industry to scour, from readers looking for insight into the process of retail (or upcoming books) all the way to creators and editors and publishers and other retailers. That’s a pretty lofty goal for someone as talentless as myself, but we all have to have dreams.

Until next week…

[Brandon Schatz has been working behind the comic book counter for eight years. He’s spent the past four as the manager of Wizard’s Comics and Collectibles in Edmonton, Alberta. In his spare time, he writes about the comics he likes over at Comics! The Blog. You can find him on twitter @soupytoasterson. The opinions expressed are those of Schatz and do not necessarily reflect those of The Beat.]

 

Breaking Down Battle of the Atom #1

Battle of the Atom, the 2013 X-Men event crossover, will see All-New X-Men, X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Wolverine & the X-Men tell a story in which the current X-Men have to deal with past versions of themselves – and, uh, also future versions of themselves.

Over the next few weeks I’m going to be reading each new issue of the storyline and offering a running commentary on them. Not reviews, particularly – these are more like a series of thoughts which are brought up by each issue.

There will be spoilers below! Although, really, you’re not going to understand what I’m talking about unless you’ve read the issue first.

[Read more…]

On the Scene: Going Too Far? Humor in Comics with Cho, Dorkin, Bagge, Rickard at Heroes Con 2013

Moderator Christopher Irving braced himself for a storm of strong personalities talking about their experiences pushing the boundaries of humor in comics, further complicated by the face that there were a gaggle of young teens in attendance to remind creators to try to put a lid on the almost unavoidable profanity that was bound to emerge. Frank Cho (LIBERTY MEADOWS, SAVAGE WOLVERINE), Evan Dorkin (MILK ‘N’ CHEESE, BEASTS OF BURDEN), Tim Rickard (BREWSTER ROCKIT), and Peter Bagge (HATE!) took up their positions to shock and amuse, but what emerged was plenty of dialogue on their all too serious struggles with the status quo. Bagge kicked things off by explaining that he was sharing a table with Dorkin this year and hearing his endless kvetching about the state of the comics industry was making him want to kill himself. Dorkin seized and edited Irving’s introduction notes before allowing things to proceed and Cho, who had been ill, bravely took his seat, only to be handed a note from a young lady working at the con explaining that “Frank Cho went home early”. This was pretty much the kind of craziness that the audience was expecting from such an esteemed line-up.

IMG_6084They all commented on the fact (a feature of discussion at the con) that a Republican convention was happening in the Charlotte, NC convention hall at the same time and was giving them some terror and fodder for their jokes. Dorkin, for one, had “never seen such rude behavior from well dressed people”. Irving bit the bullet and asked the panellists to tell tales of censorship in their work, and Cho had a host of anecdotes starting from his earliest days in college papers. Working in syndicated strips more recently, he often had work returned with post-it notes reading “reduce breast” and “reduce buttocks” in a pattern he described as “constant censorship”. Working for Image and Marvel, he was “back to square one” with censoring, particularly with SAVAGE WOLVERINE, but despite that he said that “Marvel has been good to me”. Rickard, who works more locally to Heroes Con has faced a lot of “limiting” in syndicated strips, including papers refusing to use his strips despite relatively harmless images. One example he provided was a panel where a dog is “scootching across the carpet” the way dogs do, and another was a strip depicting TSA “full body searches” and for both he was asked to make changes that would cause the work not to “make sense” any longer. The general tenor of syndicated work, Rickard said, is that one complaint equals 100 and one compliment equals one compliment, also known as the “grandmother test”. No one’s grandmother should be offended by a comic, apparently.

[Read more…]

Marvel Announce Savage Wolverine from Frank Cho

Wolverine has become a little too civilised recently, perhaps, with the events of AvX painting him as a happy bystander while Cyclops and Captain America do all the real morally grey actions nowadays. Hoping to rectify that in January will be writer/artist Frank Cho, who’ll be relaunching the Wolverine solo title for Marvel Now as “Savage Wolverine”.

The reason for the ‘savage’ adjective is because the book will be set, at least to start with, in The Savage Land. In an opening arc which actually sounds rather similar to the current storyline in Gambit, an exploring Wolverine will accidentally awaken an Elder God in the middle of the dinosaur-infested rainforest, and have to put it down. That’s right – this is Wolverine: God Hunter.

Joining Wolverine in the story will be Shanna the She-Devil, as you can see on Cho’s cover above. She’ll be helping Wolverine fight off the threat when she’s not fighting, y’know, Wolverine himself (big fan of fighting people, our Shanna). No sign of Ka-Zar in the storyline, probably to allow for some savage romance, although Cho promises that some other familiar faces will show up later on in the first arc, at which point we’ll start to see his long-term plans for the series. Issue #1 of Savage Wolverine will be out in January, it seems.