Brad Meltzer offers speculation on Flight 370’s dissappearance on CNN


Well, we are getting down to a) the bare bones of emerging facts and b) the huge, blossoming never ending until they find the black box* range of speculation over what the hell actually happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. And here is Brad Meltzer, occasional comics writer and host of History Channel’s Decoded to speculate on bizarre non Tintin related theories about the disappearance of a jumbo jet off the radar’s of the world.

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I am definitely holding out for inspiration from Tintin on this.

* If the flight did go on for seven hours after losing contact with Malaysian air traffic control, AND even if the black box is actually found, we might still never know what happened: the black box only records the last two hours of flight information.

HYPE ALERT: Baltimore Comic-Con, Seth Goldman and Honest Tea

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First off, Baltimore Comic-Con is THIS WEEKEND. This is one of the most beloved events on the comics circuit and guests include:

Joe Hill, Neal Adams, Josh Adams, Ed McGuinness, David Finch, Ivan Reis, Brian Bolland, Stan Sakai, Cliff Chiang, Amanda Conner, JG Jones, Ryan Ottley, Jim Starlin, Mark Buckingham, George Perez, Frank Cho, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Chris Samnee, David Petersen, Keith Giffen, Adam Hughes, Barry Kitson, Paul Levitz, Thom Zahler, Mark Waid, Walter Simonson, Dean Haspiel, Steve Conley and many more!!!

What a great list! JUST GO! You will have an awesome time. I mysefl am making a triumphant return after a year off and will be there starting tomorrow morning. If you see me please come up and say hi!

AND NOW MY HYPE ALERT. As you may know, I am working as a consultant for Honest Tea representing their brand new graphic novel "Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently–and Succeeding" in the comics world. As part of that on Sunday morning at 11 am I’ll be interviewing Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman about the book and more:

Baltimore Comic-Con is welcoming Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman for his only comics event appearance of the year as he talks about his new book, Mission in a Bottle: The Honest Guide to Doing Business Differently-and Succeeding.

Goldman will appear Sunday morning at 11 am in Room 305 to talk about the making of the book, the uses of nonfiction comics, and secrets of entrepreneurship in a panel moderated by The Beat and Publishers Weekly’s Heidi MacDonald.


You may have seen Goldman mentioned earlier this week in the Washington Post, talking about a new green business start-up. He’s a fascinating person, and I’m really looking forward to talking to him about graphic novels, small business start-ups, green businesses and more important stuff. Anyway end of hype, but here’s a page from the book, illustrated by the very talented Sungyoon Choi:

mib_fullcolorexcerpt.jpg [Read more…]

HYPE ALERT: Free Honest Tea at Crown Publishing for Mission in a Bottle

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Disclosure: from time to time I take on outside consulting projects, and I’m currently working with the creators of the new graphic novel Mission in a Bottle to do some marketing for them in the comics world. However, I felt the prospect of getting a free bottle of tea for faithful Beat readers was a good trade off for the HYPE ALERT here. Basically, stop by the Crown Publishing Booth (#1515) to pick up a free bottle of Honest Tea (while supplies last) with an EXCLUSIVE Comic-Con label. YOU can also pick up a preview of MISSION IN A BOTTLE.

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Scheduled for release in September from Crown, Mission in a Bottle was written by Honest Tea co-founders Seth Goldman and Barry Nalebuff, with art by cartoonist Sungyoon Choi (American Widow). The book itself is a business book about entrepreneurship and starting a purpose driven business told in the modern “non fiction” comics style — it’s McCloudian to coin a phrase. You can download the first chapter here.

Also at the Random House/Crown/Del Rey booth:

As always, we will offer many giveaways at the booth: Pantheon graphic novel buttons, bookmarks, and pens featuring our new logo. Don’t miss a preview of Pantheon’s next graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, “a rousing episodic comic” (Economist.com) featuring Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage as crime fighters. This title is set to be released next fall, 2014.
Knopf author Anne Rice will be making an appearance to promote her new book The Wolves of Midwinter and to celebrate we’re giving away wolf crowns. We also have a number of other Knopf Doubleday authors appearing at SDCC this year. Please see our Facebook events page for details.
We’ll also have a number of Pantheon titles available for sale at the show. As usual, with each Pantheon graphic novel purchased, you’ll get a free tote bag.


Tea and totes. Sounds like a plan.

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Comics come to Fox & Friends with Joe Palooka

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Apocalypse now? Boxing announcer/comics publisher Joe Antonacci will be appearing this Friday on Fox & Friends to talk about the Joe Palooka comic which is launching this week from IDW. (Disclosure: We were a consultant on the project.) Hopefully, this will be a peaceful discussion of how awesome comics are and not a session on why Superman hates God and America.

The creator of one of 2012’s most anticipated comic book titles, the MMA comic book Joe Palooka, will be making an appearance on Friday, December 21st as a guest on the top-rated cable morning show Fox & Friends.

“This is a rare big-stage opportunity to talk about comic books and the great impact they can have on children of all ages,” said Joe Palooka creator Joe Antonacci who added, “I don’t plan to just push Joe Palooka, I want to send the message that comic books make great gifts and that there are gifts people will love at every price level waiting for you in your local comic book store.” Antonacci also sees his appearance as an opportunity to pay back the comic book community that has embraced him during the three-year odyssey of creating and publishing the Joe Palooka comic book. I have received so much encouragement and support from those in the comic book business, including from my publisher IDW, that I’m happy to pay them back in some small way by touting comic books, graphic novels, and character-based accessories as the perfect gift items for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

This Weekend: Asbury Park Comic Con II

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Comic cons are springing up like umbrella stands in the rain everywhere around the US — even in small places like Asbury Park. This Saturday the second Asbury Park Comic Con kicks off at the historic Asbury Lanes bar and bowling alley and punk rock venue. The first show in April was a cozy old school event, and this one will try for the same vibe, organizer Cliff Galbraith tells us, even as it’s expanded from 35 tables to 48. The next one, in May, will be bigger still with 150 tables at the Asbury Park Convention Hall.

Guests this time include Evan Dorkin and Sara Dyer, Dean Haspiel, Reilly Brown, and Comic Book Men’s Mike and Ming. If you’re looking for some comics, sea air and old seashore ambiance, this is obviously the place to go.

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[Last May’s show.]

[Disclaimer: the Asbury Park Comic Con is an advertiser at The Beat.]

Another Crossover: "Throne of Atlantis" is in Justice League AND Aquaman

By Todd Allen

While I’m not sure this news is big enough to warrant having been sent out in what I expect will end up being at least three pieces, DC has issued yet another release regarding the new Justice League “Throne of Atlantis” arc. [Read more…]

HYPE: Joe Palooka goes to IDW

JoePalooka_Image.1.jpegThis is firmly under the HYPE banner since I was a publishing consultant for this project, but Ham Fisher’s venerable boxing-themed comic strip character has been updated to an MMA-fighter for IDW’s Joe Palooka. The concept was the brain storm of boxing announcer Joe Antonacci, along with Mike Bullock, Fernando Peniche and Matt Triano. In the story, Joe Palooka is a discredited MMA fighter who travels the world desperately trying to clear his name while fighting to earn a spot in the legendary “Legion of Combat,” worldwide fight series.

The book already has a following via digital editions, and has sponsored MMA fighters in the past. Why did I take on this project? Joe had a lot of contacts and a complete marketing plan for the book. If you’re going to do a targeted project like this, that’s is how to do it.

HYPE: ICv2 announces Conference on Comics and Digital II for NYCC

201208060206.jpg Pop culture business news site ICv2 has announced the ICv2 Conference on Comics and Digital II to be held in conjunction with this year’s New York Comic-Con. It will be held on WEDNESDAY, October 10th,1:00 to 5:00 p.m. — in previous years it was held on the Thursday prior to the Con but NYCC is essentially a 4 day show now.

As in previous years, The Beat is a sponsor of this event. Here’s the line-up of panels, with speakers to be announce. All of them sound extremely interesting.

The ICv2 White Paper

This ICv2 White Paper will present a comprehensive look at the comics and graphic novel market in print and digital for 2011 and 2012, with an analysis of long and short term trends driving the market.
Presented by Milton Griepp, ICv2.

Kids—the Future of Everything!
The fastest growing segment of graphic novel publishing is titles for kids, tweens, and teens. Are you doing everything you can to take advantage of this huge change in the audience for comics? Learn about the kids graphic novel scene from the leaders of publishing, retail, and libraries.

Comics—The New Medium
As technology impacts the world of comics, we are seeing the biggest changes in format since the invention of the graphic novel. What will the comics art form look like in five years, and how does the essence of sequential storytelling using words and pictures change in the process? Creators and entrepreneurs discuss the question of “what is a comic” and how the revolution in technology is transforming the medium.  

Comics—The Transforming Business Model
The business of comics is changing faster than we’ve ever seen before—digital is exploding, crowdfunding is providing a new source of financing, the retail and library channels are changing rapidly, and media exploitation of comics is now an important part of the business. How does this all fit together into the new business of comics? We bring together the thought leaders of the comics world to talk about their visions of the future for the business of comics.


This is a fairly essential lineup of topics facing the comics industry right now — I think this is going to be a seminal year of change and opportunity, and, to put this in total hype terms, you aren’t going to want to miss this!

Sign-up details in the link.

Penny Arcade and Cryptozoic team for The Lookouts spin-off

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Nepotism* alert! But also cool art! Famed webcomic Penny Arcade and Cryptozoic are putting out their first periodical comic in the shape of THE LOOKOUTS, a six-issue miniseries by writer Ben McCool and artist Robb Mommaerts. Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik provides some alternative art such as that seen below. The comic will be available digitally starting next week and in print August 29th.

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Penny Arcade andCryptozoic Entertainment™ are proud to announce the launch of an all-new comic book series, The Lookouts, based on the fan-favorite Penny Arcade web comic. Previewing with issue #1 July 11 – 15 at San Diego Comic-Con and in stores nationwide on August 29th, The Lookouts story was developed by Penny Arcade’sJerry Holkins, Cryptozoic’s President and Chief Creative Officer Cory Jones, and Choker writer Ben McCoolThe Lookouts is written by McCool with art byRobb Mommaerts.

This ongoing series tells the story of a group of young boys who join the Lookouts, where they must learn the secrets of the magical Eyrewood Forest. Badges are earned by the Lookouts as they learn to survive and master their perilous environment. Each six-issue arc will focus on a new badge and an exciting journey for the young trainees, starting with the “Riddle” badge in the first arc. Additionally, each issue will contain a two-page spread from The Lookout’s Handbook, featuring an inside peek at this mysteries of Eyrewood Forest and information on additional badges.

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The Lookouts #1 will preview at San Diego Comic-Con with two exclusive covers, one by Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik and one by Doug TenNapel.  The Lookouts #1 will launch in comic stores nationwide on August 29, 2012 with one cover by Rob Mommaerts. The comic will also be available digitally starting July 6th on comiXology mobile apps for Apple iOS, Android, and more.

Cryptozoic will host a The Lookouts #1 launch party at the Cryptozoic Comc-Con Store, 411 Market Street, San Diego, on Friday, July 13th from 8 to 11 pm. Stay tuned to Cryptozoic on Facebook and Twitter for more details.

[*Ben McCool is married to the owner of this site.]

HeroesCon — where I'll be

This weekend it’s the 30th annual HeroesCon in Charlotte, NC. Wow 30 years! Not too many shows have that kind of heritage, but Shelton Drum’s show has now settled down into the so-much-fun I-can’t-wait-to-see-everyone good time con experience. We’ll be quite busy with THREE panels as follows:

SATURDAY

12:30pm
Room 203A
Approaches to Humor
Sure the Convention is HeroesCon, but let’s never forget the funny side of the comic book world.  Join The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald as she sits down with three of the very best cartoonists in the business.  They are able to me us smile and even laugh out loud Roger Langridge (The Muppets, Fred the Clown) and Evan Dorkin (Milk & Cheese) and newcomer Tim Rickard(Brewster Rockit: Space Guy)

2:00

Room 209
ITEM–Echoes of ‘82–This year, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Heroes Con, cartoonist Ben Towle and blogger Craig Fischer turn their attention to 1982, and ask: What are the comics, and comics events, from 30 years ago that continue to influence comics culture today? Ben and Craig zero in on three—Destroyer Duck #1, Love and Rockets #1, and the demise of Warren Publications early in 1982—and they’ve asked an all-star roster of creators (Jaime Hernandez, Louise Simonson) and commentators (Stergios Botzakis, Toney Frazier, Heidi MacDonald, Andrew Mansell) to join them in discussing these and other comics. We’ll also beam in some off-site commentary from Kirby experts Steve Bissette, Geoff Grogan, Charles Hatfield, John Morrow and James Sturm. With a lineup like that, how can you resist pulling on your leg warmers and joining us for the fun?

SUNDAY

Room 207ABCD
COVERS PAINTING (Covers Mini-Series #3)
Is there anything better than a painted comic cover?  With the exception of a Chocolate Marshmallow Milkshake served in a frosty tin, I suggest, no–no, there is not.  But plan to join moderator Heidi MacDonald from The Beat as she talks oil and canvas and brushes with Chrissie Zullo, Earl Norem, Dave Cooper, Phil Noto and Jim Silke.  Someone save me a seat (and a straw), please!!

Holy crap…I get to be on a panel with Earl Norem?
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That Earl Norem?
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In case you’re wondering the above illustration is for the story “What to do when she says she’s pregnant.”

Anyway it will be a privilege to be on all of these panels. I hope I don’t mess them up. The rest of the time I’ll be wandering around, snooping chatting folks up.

HeroesCon is a little close to SDCC this year, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a good time. Please come up and say hi!

Dynamite Has Their Own "Before Watchmen" Event — DC Didn't Buy _All_ The Charlton Characters

By Todd Allen

I learned something new today. Remember how Watchmen started out as a treatment for the Charlton characters DC had purchased? Come to find out out, DC didn’t purchase the rights to all the Charlton characters and Dynamite now has the rights to Peter Cannon/Thunderbolt. As in, the prototype for Watchmen’s Ozymandias.

It seems that Pete Morisi, who created the character, had merely leased the rights to DC. Dynamite has licensed the character from the Morisi family and the book is set to debut in September. The writing team will be Alex Ross and Steve Darnall. You might remember that Ross and Darnell collaborated on Uncle Sam, many moons ago. (Personally, I was always fond of Darnall’s mid-90s Empty Love Stories.) Art will be by Jonathan Lau.

This isn’t the first post-Watchmen Morisi character revival. Back in the ’90s, Max Allan Collins and Terry Beatty revived Morisi’s private detective character “Johnny Dynamite” for a horror-tinged mini-series at Dark Horse.

While not exactly a household name these days, Morisi does have a cult following among artists. The first issue of the Dynamite revival will include a previously unpublished Morisi origin story for Peter Cannon, so you can get a good look at his work. Mark Waid is also tagging along to write a forward to the comic.

Official PR follows, plus come covers and interior art.

BEFORE WATCHMEN!

BEFORE OZYMANDIAS!

THERE WAS PETER CANNON!!!

June 13th, 2012 – Mount Laurel, NJ - Dynamite proudly presents - Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt returns to comics this coming September!  Peter Cannon was created by the late Pete Morisi. Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 is written by Steve Darnall and Alex Ross, drawn by superstar artist Jonathan Lau, with covers by Alex Ross, Jae Lee, John Cassaday, and Ardian Syaf!

In Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1, Peter Cannon is a world-famous author, an international celebrity, and the superhero known as Thunderbolt.  He is acknowledged far and wide as the man who saved the world from destruction. Unfortunately, he has little interest in fame, even less interest in people, and the peace he has created is based on an illusion. Now, as old and new enemies plan to destroy his efforts-unaware of the secret he carries-Peter Cannon must fight to keep the peace and preserve his own existence, while fending off deadly foes…and mysterious admirers.

Issue #1 also contains extra material – Peter Cannon’s never before published origin story by Peter Cannon creator, Pete Morisi for a total of 48 pages all for the regular price of $3.99!  This issue is soooo big, it features a forward by Mark (Kingdom Come) Waid!

“I have a great sentimentality for all of the Silver Age heroes,” says Alex Ross. “Peter Cannon belongs to that age of the heroic pantheon, and we have the chance to use him, and create a future for him. This is exciting new ground for us all.”

“Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt fascinates me; for one thing, he’s got the most amazingly colorful costume,” adds co-writer Steve Darnall! “More than that, however, Peter Cannon is a character with a lot of interesting facets, and I am excited to explore them in the series!”

“Peter Cannon, the original Thunderbolt, is one of my all-time favorite characters.  Having first read Crisis on Infinite Earths – a watershed series by Marv Wolfman –  with beautiful art by George Perez, seeing that glimpse of Peter made me want to find out more about this cool looking character. Having read DC Challenge #5 with Peter Cannon, Dr. Fate, Adam Strange and others with art by Dave Gibbons, I was hooked and I sought out as many Peter Cannon comics as I could find! And when I learned that he was the archetype for Ozymandias, my love for Peter Cannon grew. Twenty-five years later, Dynamite is publishing Peter Cannon. We are giving Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt the respect he deserves by bringing aboard the most dynamic creative team possible,” says Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci.  “With Alex Ross, Steve Darnall, and Jonathan Lau, as well as fantastic covers from Alex Ross, Jae Lee, John Cassaday, Stephen Segovia, and Ardian Syaf, Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt will not disappoint!”

Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt is a superhero originally published by Charlton Comics, notable for containing some of the earliest respectful invocations of Eastern mysticism in American pop culture.  The character debuted in Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt #1 in January of 1966, part of Charlton Editor Dick Giordano’s “Action Heroes” superhero line.  After Charlton Comics sold its superhero properties to DC Comics in 1983, Thunderbolt reappeared after almost two decades in the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover series (April 1985 – March 1986, Thunderbolt appearing in #6, 7, and 10) when he joined the heroes of the Multiverse in their crusade against the Anti-Monitor.  Introducing him into the new DC Universe, DC published Peter Cannon – Thunderbolt, by writer-penciler Mike Collins and inker Jose Marzan Jr.. The series ran for 12 issues from (Sept. 1992 – Aug. 1993). During the series’ run, his recurring foils were the criminal terrorists-for-hire known as Scorpio. He later discovers that his girlfriend Cairo DeFrey was actually in charge of the organization.  The character also appeared briefly with the Justice League.

Read WORLD WAR HACK free for 24 hours


You may have seen the ad here on The Beat, but just to explain what’s going on, Viper Comics has made WORLD WAR HACK free to read via iTunes for 24 hours only.

Written by Ethan Bull with art by Tsubasa Yozora, it’s inspired by a true story and follows an 18-year-old computer hacker who’s involved with a secret government plot to use hackers to solve a pressing national security crisis. The book has gotten some good reviews and can be downloaded for free here…but only until midnight tonight.

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PW Comics World covers Clowes, Pekar, Wildcat, and MORE

We really don’t link to our comics coverage over at PW Comics World as much as we should, so we are here to remedy that, especially when an issue as jammed as this month’s comes out. Some highlights:

Matt White on the origin of CLEVELAND, the new book by the late Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant:

Take a critically acclaimed nonfiction comics writer, a veteran comics figure acting as a combination producer, editor and publicist, a young publisher eager to make a name for himself and an illustrator looking to do the same and what do you have? The winning recipe for publishing Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland, an original graphic novel to be released in May, written by the late Harvey Pekar, illustrated by Joe Remnant and published by Zip Comics in collaboration with Top Shelf Comix. The book, which will have a 10,000 copy first printing, is noteworthy as the first posthumous work to be released by the late Harvey Pekar, as well as for the book’s unusual path to publication.


§ If you thought that the Eisner judges didn’t read enough comics, well
Brigid Alverson’s account of her happy times as a judge will show that’s just not true:

This year, though, I was on the other side of the firing line—I was an Eisner judge. I spent an amazing weekend in San Diego with five other judges, with nothing to do the whole time but read comics and argue about them. If that's your idea of heaven, well, pull up a cloud and let me tell you about it.


Casey Burchby interviews Daniel Clowes about his new art exhibit and so on. Darn it all, Dan Clowes is a nice guy.

PWCW: Did you have any hesitation about the very idea of taking your work out of its original context and putting it up on a wall?   DC: For years, that really didn’t make sense to me, because the work wasn’t created to be seen on a wall. The final artwork is the book. But I collect original artwork. It has a meaning to me that goes beyond the printed page. It’s the only [kind of] artwork you can see on a wall that you may already have a personal relationship with. If you read the story that that artwork comes from, you have a connection to it in a way you don’t have with a painting or something that’s only intended to be seen in that context. That made it interesting to me. There’s something about that final piece as an artifact of the printed work that gives it a certain value and magic. My goal with both [the exhibition and the book] is to get people interested in the work and then to read the books. If that is achieved, then both of these will have been a success.


§ Burchby AGAIN with a preview of that Flannery O’Connor cartoon book:

The forgotten visual output of the master of Southern Gothic fiction—and one of the country’s greatest writers of short stories—is being collected for the first time in a new volume from Fantagraphics, Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. As Gerald told us, O’Connor’s cartoons—which were mostly made using linoleum cuts—reveal much about her developing satirical sense and conception of storytelling, tools that were later put to vivid use in her writing. The cartoons themselves retain a remarkable edge, especially for such youthful, playful work. Gerald is a Mississippi native who dedicated her doctoral work at Auburn University to O’Connor’s cartoons.


Matt White AGAIN with a preview of this weekend’s Wildcat Comic Con at Penn State:

“It’s TED Talks meets Comic Con meets Book Expo.” That’s how show organizer John Shableski describes the Wildcat Comic Con, a two-day celebration of comics in the classroom to be held this weekend, April 13-14, at the Pennsylvania College of Technology (the technical wing of Penn State) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Shableski, a former sales manager for independent retail, schools and libraries at Diamond Comics Distributor and a longtime advocate for graphic novels in publishing, conceived and organized the convention hoping to bring professional and aspiring creators, educators (from K through 12 to post-grad), librarians and comic fans together to share the benefits of applying the comics medium to education.


PLUS:
Todd Allen on The Mighty Crusaders Return as Digital-Only Comic
Calvin Reid on Middle East Film And Comic Con Set for April 20 and 21
Brigid Again with PW Comics World Talks with Makoto Tateno
AND a profile of Newbury Comics, where comics sales are only 2% of their business:

As digital book sales continue to gain traction, the comparison between bookstores and record stores has gotten closer. Coupled with the comparisons comes an implicit warning that bookstores could share the fate of Tower, Virgin, and HMV—record stores that are all gone. While the number of independent record stores has fallen dramatically to just a couple hundred, some are more than holding their own. To find out how one indie is doing it—and also beating the odds on maintaining a profitable regional chain, PW contacted Newbury Comics, headquartered in Boston, Mass. The indie chain, founded by two MIT students in 1978 with $2,000 and a comic book collection, is coming off the third most profitable year in its 34-year history, is debt-free, and has $11 million in the bank. That’s not because music sales have suddenly grown—annual CD sales are down close to 75%, to $10 million, from a peak of $40 million, according to CEO and cofounder Mike Dreese. “We keep morphing,” he says. “It’s always morph or die.”


SUPER PLUS—have you ever listened to our PODCAST, More To Come, wherein Calvin, Kate Fitzsimons and myself dish about the week in comics events?

If you HAVE…will you review us? Please? So we can get rated! Thankee.

Commentary: The Comedy of "Before Watchmen" Hype

By Todd Allen

Oh, we all knew the Watchmen sequel was coming.  The art leaked and DC’s lawyers went wild — unusual enough to know something was close to an announcement.  Then the last round of announced reprint books included The Art of Amanda Conner (some of her art was in that leaked batch) and a HC reprint of Dave Gibbons’ Green Lantern work (more on that in bit) made it clear an announcement was imminent.  What do we get with the actual announcement?  Comedy.  And more comedy from the PR than from the reactions, if you ask me.

Everyone involved with this knows that if “Before Watchmen” isn’t note perfect, there’s likely to be a lot of egg on a lot of faces and everyone is hedging a little.

Let’s start with with my favorite line from the official announcement:

Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m down with Len Wein.  I bought DC Universe: Legacies.  I have Roots of the Swamp Thing packed away somewhere and I think I might prefer his Phantom Stranger work.  He’s an important creator and he brought Alan Moore to DC.  Still, throwing it out like that as the first person with a legacy connection to the original.  That just made me laugh out loud.  I’ll give the official punchline on that to former Esquire editor, Marty Beckerman in his Nerve column:

Original series editor Lee Wein penned many of the new stories, so at least that’s something. Because if Citizen Kane had had a prequel, Orson Welles’ editor should’ve written it.

Unfair?  Absolutely.  But that’s how the press release read to a lot of people.

Speaking of Wein, he’s the subject of the absolute funniest quote in the interviews.  Good ‘ole JMS popped out this gem for CBR:

Alan didn’t pass on being brought on to write Swamp Thing, a seminal comics character created by Len Wein, and he did a terrific job. He didn’t say “No, no, I can’t, that’s Len’s character.” Nor should he have.

Um, dude?  If you want to take that rhetorical approach, you should stick to Watchmen being based on the Charlton characters and Moore tending to retrofit older literary characters.  There’s a big difference between Dan DiDio asking you to do more Watchmen and Len Wein, who happened to be editing the book he was co-creator on, asking Alan Moore to do Swamp Thing.  Still, while horrible logic, that’s comedy gold. [And I’m going to be reading a LONG awaited issue of The Twelve after I post this.  Not like I’m a JMS hater.]

Practically every interview from a creator is defensive.  Everyone know they’re taking a risk participating in such a project.  My advice  — take in the hype.  Taste the fear in the interviews and have a good laugh out of all this.

Then consider the REAL risk-taking DC is doing here.  Watchmen didn’t sell all those graphic novels in the Direct Market.  They sold a lot of them in bookstores to people who wouldn’t have a clue where to get single issues.  DC is opting to take curiosity sales on single issues, rather than on graphic novels.  These titles get a bad rep in serialization, that’s a lot of money left on the table.  But, as JMS was saying today, DiDio is bold.  No pressure whatsoever.

The funniest thing about all of this is how Watchmen colors the mass reaction to these creative teams.  I find myself looking at a Darwyn Cooke title and thinking “do I really want to get this?”  That really shouldn’t be happening, but it’s the Watchmen Effect.  And I’m not exactly in the minority here.  But, figure I was quoting a reaction from Nerve and you see how far away from the DM the ripples go and the irony kicks in that you might be alienating the mass audience to sell the hobbyists.

Finally, we double back to Len Wein, who says to Wired:

“I think reboots are almost mandatory in an industry that has existed for over three-fourths of a century now. The need to inject new blood, new ideas, new approaches, is the only thing that keeps our readers coming back for more.”

My first reaction on reading this was a belly laugh.  Yes, reboot the old characters to inject new blood.  That’s very nearly an oxymoron.   Then it occurred to me, Alan Moore makes an almost annual flustered denouncement that DC is still clinging to his old standards after all these years.  Now it’s a sad comment that DC has to do reboots because they’ve seemingly lost the ability to successfully launch a new character.  The New 52?  All relaunches and revamps.  What is Before Watchmen?  It’s DC going back to an old well one more time.

So here we are and Watchmen is coming.  My last question, based on the initial round of hype… they’re not going to have that Len Wein/Dave Gibbons Green Lantern HC promoted as “by the editor and artist of Watchmen,” are they?

P.S. – Dan?  If you’re brazen enough to do “Before Watchmen,” you’re brazen enough to do a “Watchmen Babies” variant cover.  It would be awesome.  Own the joke.

Official: Garth Ennis Relaunches The Shadow at Dynamite

By Todd Allen

The rumor that’s been making the rounds is true: Garth Ennis is the writer when Dynamite launches their ongoing revival of the classic pulp franchise, The Shadow.  Joining him as the artist is Aaron Campbell, who’s been doing Green Hornet: Year One and Dark Shadows for Dynamite.

It looks like this will be be set in 1938, not a modern update.  It isn’t completely clear what kind of a take on the Shadow Ennis and Campbell will be doing.  There have been several different takes on the Shadow over the years.  In the original pulp stories, he was a guns-a-blazing vigilante with some mysticism surrounding his origins.  Plenty of horror (reoccurring voodoo villains, for instance) and mild science fiction in that version.  Then you have the long-running radio version where the guns were gone, but the Shadow had the (vaguely hypnotic) ability to cloud men’s minds so they couldn’t see him and would only hear his disembodied voice.  There were more spy-fi-ish paperback novels in the 1960s.  Howard Chaykin revived it in the 80s replacing the mystic elements with cybernetic body parts, taking it in more of a science fiction direction.  Andy Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz/Kyle Baker took this science fiction version and veered off in an increasingly satirical/absurdist direction.

It doesn’t appear from looking at the press release, that this will be a satirical take on the character, and the Campbell quote (see below) makes me think this isn’t the Chaykin take on the character, either.  If this is the classic version, as established in the pulps, Ennis ought to be a pretty good fit.  Think Punisher Max as a period piece with a little bit of magic popping up around the edges.  We could very well be in for a merging of the action and horror styles Ennis has done in the past.

Press release and cover art follow:

THE SHADOW #1 ONGOING SERIES BY GARTH ENNIS!

IN STORES APRIL 2012!!!

January 16th, 2012, Runnemede, NJ – Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?  The Shadow knows!  The Shadowreturns to comic stores written by the man born to write him – Garth Ennis. The artist joining Garth will be Aaron Campbell. Featuring covers by fan favorite artists Alex Ross, Howard Chaykin, Jae Lee and John Cassaday. The Shadow #1 his stores in April 2012!

In the first issue of the ONGOING SERIES, it’s 1938 and The Shadow returns in a tale of blazing action and deadly intrigue, as a night of carnage on the New York waterfront plunges the mysterious vigilante into a conspiracy involving the fate of the world itself. As storm clouds gather across the globe, American Military Intelligence meets with a certain Lamont Cranston, determined to beat a host of spies and assassins to the greatest prize of all… but what that might be, only the Shadow knows.  Be sure to get The Shadow #1 in April 2012!

“The Shadow is probably the last established character I like that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet, certainly on this side of the Atlantic,” says writer Garth Ennis. “It makes a kind of bloody, bullet-riddled sense: I always had a feeling our paths would cross sooner or later.”

“The Shadow is an awesome character in an awesome time,” adds artist Aaron Campbell.  “I mean what’s not to like?  You have the old school mystique of eastern mysticism wrapped up with a badass gunslinger!”

“Garth is a writer who was born to write The Shadow,” states Dynamite Entertainment President and Publisher Nick Barrucci.  “Not since Howard Chaykin’s acclaimed mini-series have I been this excited for a Shadow series.  Garth will take The Shadow to a new level, and Aaron will compliment his scripts well.  I cannot wait for fans to see Garth’s take on the character!”

Garth Ennis is a Northern Irish comics writer, best known for his immensely successful revival of Marvel Comics’ Punisher franchise and the DC/Vertigo series Preacher, co-created with artist Steve Dillon.

His work is characterized by extreme violence, black humor, profanity, an interest in male friendship, an antagonistic relationship with organized religion, and irreverence towards superheroes. Frequent artistic collaborators include Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry, Carlos Ezquerra and John McCrea.  Garth Ennis’ current work includes Dynamite’s hit series The Boys.

The Shadow is a collection of serialized dramas, originally in pulp magazines, then on 1930s radio and then in a wide variety of media, that follow the exploits of the title character, a crime-fighting vigilante in the pulps, which carried over to the airwaves as a “wealthy, young man about town” with psychic powers. One of the most famous pulp heroes of the 20th century, The Shadow has also been featured in comic books, comic strips and at least five motion pictures.

Join the conversation on Twitter with #TheShadowKnows and on Dynamite Entertainment’s twitter page at http://twitter.com/DynamiteComicsTo find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com


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