Leaving Megalopolis tops Comixology Submit’s top books of 2014


Comixology’s Submit portal is a way for independent and self published digital comics to get onto the largest digital comics service out there, and many people have taken advantage of it. While no one seems to have gotten rich off it, a sale is a sale. And COmixology has just released a list of the top 25 sellers for 2014, topped by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s Leaving Megalopolis. This superheroes with a twist story was originally Kickstarted. The impressive Testament Omnibus by Douglas Rushkoff and a bunch of awesome artists was second, and Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika was #3. Severl anthologies Kickstarted by the tireless C. Spike Trotman were also on the list…she is a powerhouse.

There are some excellent comics by top creators on the list, so the lesson for how to be successful on Submit it…be totally excellent.


Here’s the full list of the Top 25 comiXology Submit Titles of 2014:

  1. Leaving Megalopolis
    Writer: Gail Simone; Artist: Jim Calafiore

  2. Testament: Omnibus
    Writer: Douglas Rushkoff; Artists: Gary Erskine, Peter Gross, Dean Ormston, Liam Sharp

  3. Lady Mechanika #3
    By: Joe Benitez
  4. Watson And Holmes Vol. 1: A Study In Black
    Writer: Karl Bollers, Artists: Rick Leonardi, Larry Stroman
  5. Smut Peddler: 2014 Edition
    Writers: Kate Leth, Trudy Cooper, Blue Delliquanti, Joanna Estep, Jess Fink, Erica Henderson, and more; Artists: Kate Leth, Trudy Cooper, Blue Delliquanti, Jess Fink, Niki Smith, C. Spike Trotman and more
  6. The Sleep of Reason
    Writers: Blue Delliquanti, Rachel Edidin, Meg Gandy, KC Green, Brittney Sabo, Jason Thompson and more; Artists: Langdon Foss, Meg Gandy, KC Green, Kel McDonald, Brittney Sabo, C. Spike Trotman and more
  7. Snow: Complete Edition
    By: Benjamin Rivers
  8. Lady Mechanika #1
    By: Joe Benitez
  9. Brandi Bare #1
    Writers: Joe Pekar, Jeff Outlaw; Artist: Joe Pekar
  10. Testament Vol. 1
    Writer: Douglas Rushkoff; Artists: Liam Sharp
  11. Lady Mechanika #2
    By: Joe Benitez
  12. Fade Out: Painless Suicide
    Writer: Beto Skubs; Artist: Rafael de Latorre
  13. Saga Of A Doomed Universe #1
    By: Scott Reed
  14. Jackie Rose Vol. 1: The Treasure of Captain Read
    By Josh Ulrich
  15. Snipe
    Writer: Kathryn Immonen; Artist: Stuart Immonen
  16. The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel
    Adaption: Sean Michael Wilson; Translation: William Scott Wilson; Artist: Chie Kutsuwada
  17. Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 1: Resurrection
    Writer: Pat Mills; Artist: Olivier Ledroit
  18. Oh Joy Sex Toy
    By Erika Moen
  19. Template: The Complete First Season
    Writer: Quinton Miles; Artist: Andres Quezada
  20. Sinsationals #0
    By Scott Jones
  21. Brandi Bare #2
    Writers: Jeff Outlaw & Joe Pekar; Artist: Joe Pekar
  22. a7249bd71fcb132249dd7e29d0fed8bd.jpg

  23. Moth City Preludes #1
    By Tim Gibson
  24. The Pride #1
    Writer: Joe Glass; Artists: Marc Ellerby, Joshua Faith & Gavin Mitchell
  25. Anne Bonnie #1
    Writers: Tim Yates, Lelan Estes; Artists: Tim Yates, Tony Vassalo
  26. The Package
    Writer: Elliot Blake; Artist: Alexis Ziritt


New trailer for the FINAL (thank Manwë) Hobbit movie is up

The first trailer for the final Peter Jackson movie set in Middle Earth has been released, and it seems The Hobbit; The Battle of the Five Armies will be a three hour battle scene between small dots representing orcs and small dots representing elves. Along the way Lee Pace, Richard Armitage, Martin Freeman, Luke Evans, Orlando Bloom and many other hot hot guys will glower and look sad while getting shouty about who gets to battle where.

I’m there.


This trailer significantly DOWNPLAYS the whole White Council storyline, in which Galadriel, Gandalf, Saruman and some buds go to Dol Guldur and mix it up with Sauron in an early form known as The Necromancer. This is pretty much the money shot of the whole, endless, Dwarf-farting, Elf-singing, people of Laketown-cowering, Thorin-squabbling, Kili-flirting trilogy. Also downplayed….SMAUG.

The final episode of The Hobbit totes has the best scenes, what with the arrows and the burning and the fighting and the casting out and all that. But it’s been such a loooong journey here…

A’i na vedui, Dúnadan!

The Hobbit; The Battle of Five Armies opens on December 17th, 2014.

The MoCCA Dining Guide 2013 Edition


This is our fourth guide to dining in the mysterious area surrounding the Lexington Armory on 26th and Lexington, and in the last year this area—now known at NoMad—has become one of the city’s culinary hot spots, with high-end restaurants like The Nomad and Maysville getting the ink. But fear not, as always, there is much cheap (well, by New York City standards) yet amazing grub to be grabbed nearby. Of course, great food is always a subway ride away, but if you don’t mind walking a few blocks you won’t be disappointed. We’ve updated some of last year’s listings but there are some new standouts.
Continue reading The MoCCA Dining Guide 2013 Edition

Wizard stuff: Macaluso Chairman; Austin programming; convention profits up in Q2


Despite the nearly daily arrival of Wizard World PR in our inboxes, we haven’t been the most attentive to running their news; apologies for that. With this weekend’s Wizard World Austin Comic Con coming up, here’s a little of what’s happening and a peek at the most recent SEC filings:

Continue reading Wizard stuff: Macaluso Chairman; Austin programming; convention profits up in Q2

SPX announces incredible programming slate

This year’s Small Press Expo, to be held September 15-16 in Bethesda, has one of the most amazing guest line-ups in forever, with Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Francois Mouly, Adrian Tomine and MORE. Programming director Bill Kartalopoulos has out done him self with a program that covers all the bases and more. Suffice to say we’ll be glued to the two programming tracks.

Continue reading SPX announces incredible programming slate

Hope Larson's A Wrinkle in Time adaptation cover revealed


Well, what were we just saying about comics adapting literary classics? Hope Larson reveals the cover to her A Wrinkle in Time adaptation and talks about some other projects that sound cool, including a new comic she wrote with art by Tintin Pantoja, a short film she’s directing, and a vegan ice cream recipe.

Larson is best known for her original YA GNs MERCURY and CHIGGERS. We look forward to seeing all of these projects.

It begins: On-sale date for Comic-Con badges revealed

The first email has gone out with the time for San Diego Comic-Con badge sales. Although the email urges everyone to keep it a little secret between themselves and Comic-Con, the on-sale is already being tweeted about and won’t stay secret long.

HOWEVER, if you do not have a Member ID forget it — you cannot buy a badge.

REPEAT: You cannot buy a badge without a member ID.

So don’t go clogging up the on-sale just hanging around hoping one will fall from the sky! If you do have a badge…GERONIMO!

The wait is over! Comic-Con 2012 badges will go on sale at 8:00 a.m. PST on Saturday March 3rd, 2012. To access the EPIC online registration website, click the following link: REDACTED

Please note, this link will not be active until 8:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time. If you click this link early, you will receive a “404 – NOT FOUND” error page and you will need to close your browser window and click the link again at or after 8:00 a.m. PST.

As a member of the Comic-Con Member ID preferred “E-List”, you are receiving first notification of the badge sales date/time and the exclusive link to registration. Although you are required to have a Member ID to purchase a badge, sharing the above link on a social networking site may decrease your chances of obtaining a badge. Although only those with a Member ID will be allowed to purchase a badge, the EPIC waiting room is open to the general public and if the link above is leaked online, we anticipate that several thousand people who did not sign-up for a Member ID will attempt to access the registration system erroneously. Additionally, should you choose to share the date or link online, it is likely to be picked up by numerous media outlets who will share this information with a larger audience.

We strongly recommend that you visit http://www.comic-con.org/cci/cci_reg.php and download the “Comic-Con 2012 Helpful Hints and Tips for Online Badge Registration” PDF. Reading this document may give you and advantage in obtaining a badge over others who choose not to read it. 

All of us at Comic-Con would like to sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding during the new Member ID registration and badge sales process. As you know because of limited space at the San Diego Convention Center we have had to cap attendance for the last few years. The new Member ID registration process is an attempt to streamline the process of purchasing a badge and hopefully reducing, to a great number, those who purchase badges only for resale. Thereby making more badges available to individuals.

We honestly wish we could accommodate each and every person who would like to attend the show, and while we are making strides to increase space by utilizing hotels and outdoor venues, the problem of attendance is one that all of us continue to work on constantly.
Thank you very much for your support of Comic-Con, and your love of comics and the popular arts.

If you are not planning to purchase a badge during online sales, please disregard this notice. This e-mail does not relate to professional, press, exhibitor, volunteer, or program participant registration.

Has there ever been a more wistful sentence kin the English language than this?

“Additionally, should you choose to share the date or link online, it is likely to be picked up by numerous media outlets who will share this information with a larger audience.”

Out of courtesy we are not running the link, but we imagine you can find it easily enough. But why would you unless you already have a Member ID? And if you don’t…well, remember we kept telling you to get one.

Based on the tweet stream, volunteer acceptances are also going out.

The announcement has caused headaches and that kinda-pukey feeling in the stomachs of Nathan Fillion fans everywhere.

Good luck and god speed.

CONFIRMED: 'Comic-Con' doc's tour canceled before it began?

comic-con episode IV
Just a few short, happy days ago, we announced the the long-awaited release of Comic-Con Episode IV — A Fan’s Hope, the Comic-Con documentary by Morgan Spurlock. The VOD release was to be accompanied by a limited theatrical release which would include mini comic-cons at each stop, with comic-con-y activities like exhibits, costume contests and so on.

Well, this rather mysterious item in the Sun-Sentinel states that the entire tour has been canceled:

The multi-city tour of exhibitor booths, costume displays and panels in association with the April 6 release of Morgan Spurlock’s “geektastic” film “Comic Con A Episode IV — A Fan’s Hope” has been canceled. The tour was scheduled to stop at the Fillmore Miami Beach on April 7, and refunds are available at point of purchase.

We tried to check out the film’s website for clues but…it doesn’t have a website. Hm. Curiouser and curiouser. We imagine someone—maybe from the production company, Wrekin Hill—will be along to explain presently.

Update: One of the Beat’s secret operatives has had this confirmed from Wrekin Hill: NO mini Comic-Con tour.

New DC logo continues to make people flip

[Image via Geek Rest]

Well, by now it’s looking more and more like the new DC logo is for real. Rich reports that it was introduced to the DC staff last week:

I’m told that the consensus is that the logo works well as an animated item, but less well as a static logo, that might appear on printed books, signage and the like. And certain editors more committed to print, found themselves in an usual alliance against the new logo. I’m told that that the plan (at least it was, last week) is to announce it very vocally, visibly, animatedly and colourfully, on Wednesday this week.

Outcry has been loud and prolonged. Yet Chris Sims won our hearts for keeps with The History of the DC Comic Logo, As Seen Through 70 Years of Internet Comments
Personally, it was explained best to us by an ex-DC employee we saw over the weekend:

“I guarantee that the new DC logo will be accompanied by a sound.”

Maybe some kind of flippity-dippity post-it sound? Or a swooshy woosh. Or a THX-style rearrrrrwwhooooommmmmmmmmmmm.

We live in an animated world. According to Rich, logo designer sensei Rian Hughes thought the new one was OK, so I guess it’s time to just move on to things we can fight, like SOPA and PIPA and HFCS.

Want to go to Comic-Con? You'll need your member ID

As former Comic-Con attendees noted on Monday, a whole new system for getting badges is being implemented — even for people who are already in the system for having a badge.

Affecting pros, press and volunteers, the new system requires you to create your own Member ID and password, type in a really tough captcha and confirm and then then….wait for the next step.

The system is sufficiently difficult that they made a 2+ minute video showing you how to do it.

We saw a smattering of complaints on Facebook and Twitter about the new rigmarole, and, like we said, had to try for a third captcha before finding one we could puzzle out. Other than that, it all seemed to go okay and we now have our Member ID.

So what does this all mean?. For one thing, the Member ID is now tied to your email. This system seems to be geared towards rooting out double dippers — and you know who you are — so a tough “one Klingon, one badge” policy seems to be on the way.

By requiring a unique e-mail address for each Member ID, our hope is to increase the speed of the online registration process and prevent duplicate registrations that allow scalpers to purchase multiple tickets and sell them at inflated prices. Our intent is that the Comic-Con Member ID system will allow more fans to purchase tickets for this highly popular event.

Anyone in doubt should heed this from the FAQ:

Can I attend Comic-Con without a Member ID?

If you wish to purchase a badge for Comic-Con or apply for a complimentary badge through professional and press registration, you must have a valid Comic-Con Member ID. You must also have a Member ID to apply as a volunteer or purchase a trade professional badge. You will not be able to login to EPIC registration and attempt to purchase a badge without a Member ID.

Got that? No Member ID no steenking badges!

For anyway who laments all this, well, the efficacy of lamenting was over long ago. Also, the con is going ahead with using Epic registration again instead of Ticketmaster or some other ticket system that charges asinine “convenience” fees.

Meanwhile, the date for actual ticket purchase and hotel reservation have yet to be announced. And we’ve already had two San Diego anxiety dreams this year! And all for things like this:


Well, now that you mention it…

The Beat’s Annual Year-End Survey, 2012 edition — Part One

The world may be ending in 2012, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t have some things to keep them busy until then. In our annual year-start tradition, we asked comics industry professionals — creators, publishers, librarians, retailers, journalists — about the year past and the year to come. While a few huge stories seemed to dominate last year — reboots and digital — there was much more to it. And 2012 is wide open.

Along the way, we have some previews and news tucked away in those “2012 project” descriptions. Before the end, well all have something to read.

Many thanks to all who took time from the busy holiday season to answer our survey. And here’s to a great 2012 for all!

cover front.jpg
Vasilis Lolos, artist, www.vasilislolos.com

2012 Projects: The delayed but very good Last Call 2 is ready for liftoff and my cosmic horror sci-fi Electronomicon is coming to completion.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? The reshape of the comics industry? That was the talk of the town at least, I wish the story was “comics make MILLIONS! everyone gets gold Rolls Royces” or something along those lines.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? Hopefully last call vol3 and the Electronomicon

Bonus question:

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? Akira, the tron guy is in it so is Kristen Stewart, can’t wait to hate with love. I am entitled to ,i have all the versions of the comic, some to read and some to archive even laserdisks too. Neo Tokyo is about to N.E.R.D.

Matthew Bernier, artist

2012 Projects: not yet

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? Hellboy dies, Mignola to follow with years of crazy Alice in Wonderland in hell comics whenever he feels like it. Or Habibi being released. Or Hark, a Vagrant! being crazy successful. So many great things this year, it’s hard to figure out why “2 companies known for making mostly crappy comics continue making mostly crappy comics” was such a big story. It felt like this year Michelangelo was unveiling David while we were talking about the two vagrants on the corner who earn wine money by crudely carving filthy bas relief scenes into walking sticks.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? DC will double down and hire Frank Miller as head editor, to be followed by another relaunch where all female characters are whores and all male characters punch Islamofascists in the face. No, really, it’ll be how many cartoonists are working at Cartoon Network these days because they pay actual money.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? The Avengers.

head shot by Ann.JPG
Trina Robbins, author/herstorian

2012 Projects: Book number 4 in my all-ages graphic novel series, The Chicagoland Detective Agency, will be out in 2012, and I’m currently plotting book #5. And after coming out with my graphic novel about Golden Age cartoonist Lily Renee in 2011, I’m now working on putting together a book compiling her comic art. After that, I’ll either be revising and rewriting my history of women cartoonists for Fantagraphics, OR I’ll be putting together a compilation of Wimmen’s Comix and other work by underground women cartoonists of the 70s (also for Fantagraphics), OR I’ll be writing my memoirs (Also for Fantagraphics) — one of the above!

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011?
For me, the further emergence of women into the field of comics, with fabulous events like GeekGirlCon in Seattle.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012?
Again for me, the publication of Womanthology. I’ve seen the pages, and they are beautiful. So much good art and storytelling by women!

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? None of my pleasures are guilty. I’ll continue to write books and graphic novels because I love to write, and as before, I want to spend more time in someplace warm, like Hawaii or Tahiti.

Jeffrey Brown, cartoonist

2012 Projects:
Save The Date – the movie I co-wrote and created artwork for, premiering at Sundance 2012
Darth Vader and son – Darth Vader raising a four year old Luke Skywalker, coming in May from Chronicle Books
A Matter Of Life – an autobiographical meditation on fatherhood and religion, coming from Top Shelf sometime depending on when I finish it

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? The internet continues to level the playing field, and so there are no ‘big’ stories anymore. As a result, the biggest stories was a tie between DC’s new 52 or whatever, Marvel firing people left and right, Shonen Jump planning a switch to digital and Kickstarter making its first steps toward becoming a comics publisher.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? Alan Moore and Frank Miller will have an escalating feud and end up planning a mixed martial arts match against each other, but fail to follow through after someone tweets a comparison to Dave Sim and Jeff Smith. Comicsdom will have to anxiously wait another year for any actual fisticuffs.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? I’m going to sleep more than six hours at least one night next year. Maybe two, even.
Charles Vess, artist

2012 Projects: A 16 page full color graphic narrative about Istanbul, Turkey. 50 paintings for ‘The Cats of Tanglewood Forest’ written by Charles de Lint and to be published by Little Brown & Co. And my on-going work on my own book, ‘The Greenwood’ which use a combination of pure text, illustration and hundreds of pages of graphic narrative content to tell its story.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? Finally reprinting Roy Crane’s run on Captain Easy with its sublime cartooning and totally insane coloring. Followed closely by the collection of Johnny Gruelle’s Mr. Twee Deedle comic strips.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012?Writers, artists, editors, etc. will wake up and tell the stories that THEY want to tell (not some giant corporation) and use digital technology to publish and distribute it.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? Nothing guilty about it! More reprints of classic comic strips with craft, vision and excellent writing: Pogo, Prince Valiant, Captain Easy, Gasoline Alley, etc.


Jeff Newelt AKA JahFurry, editor/networker

2012 Projects:
Excited for Harvey Pekar’s CLEVELAND to come out in March from Top Shelf & ZIP Comics. Illustrated by soon-to-be-adored-by-all Joseph Remnant with an intro by Alan Moore (what a thrill to get first peep at that!) I was editor on the book after it was initially developed with Harvey by editor Jonathan Vankin. First time I ever helped see a graphic novel through from soup to nuts. It’s half history of Cleveland, half autiobio, 100% Harvey.

I’ll be doing some writing, interviews, debut’n some rubadub music for Trip City.  More writing for Royal Flush, SMITH & Heeb magazines.

I’m helping Erika Pope-Gusev (sister of Paul Pope) launch an incredible construction/building toy FORT MAGIC.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? The adoption of the Twitter/Facebook one-two punch as the comics hive mind.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? Looking forward to doing more JahFurry / Kochie Banton duet ditties  like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVEF0ozRh-E

Brandon Graham, cartoonist

2012 Projects:
I’m about to have my collected catmaster epic- King city come out in February from Image comics as a fat 224 $20 thing.
I’ve been working on Multiple warheads that’ll hopefully be out this year from (Oni press)

also I’m writing and sometimes drawing Image comic’s Prophet. Along with Simon Roy (Jan’s Atomic heart), Farel Dalrymple (pop gun war, Omega the Unknown), Giannis Milonogianni (Old city blues) and Richard Ballermann
It’s a big space war, sci-fi barbarian thing that’ll start coming out monthly in January.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? For me it was Craig Thompson (Habibi) and Patrick McEown (Hair Shirt) both having great new books out.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? I have a lot of hopes, Maybe Carla Speed Mcneil will do a Sherlock Holmes in Oz comic with Charles Vess. Maybe Adam Warren will put out an adaption of Neuromancer.

Really the most I can hope for is some amazing new creators doing something new.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? I’d like to have some new tv science fiction thing to watch. I’ve been all broken up since the Sarah Connor Chronicles ended. Or maybe some really good new trashy comic about the lives of anthropomorphic characters working in a brothel.

Marc Tyler Nobleman, author

2012 Projects: After five years of work, my picture book Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman will come out in July.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? DC’s New 52.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? The Dark Knight Rises.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? DC Nation shorts.

tony lee.jpg
Tony Lee, writer, vest-wearer

2012 Projects:
2012 is going to be an interesting year for me as it looks like I’m going to be splitting my time between comics and other media – the movie of Hope Falls is going to be gaining momentum now the 2nd draft script is in, so I expect to be working a lot there, for example and I have a couple of radio plays coming out – but that said, I still have a ton of things in comics. 2012 sees my adaptations of Heather Brewer’s Vladimir Tod books start to come out from Penguin, Department PULP with MTV will be beginning, Lockbox with 1821 Comics, I have a yet unannounced Doctor Who project being plotted out and of course I have the MacGyver miniseries coming out in July with Lee Zlotoff.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? It has to be the Nu52 without question. Whether you love it or hate it, DC’s bold move to reboot every single book and wipe out 25 years of post-crisis continuity got them a ton of press and massive sales. Whether it’ll last, or whether the story will turn into unhappy creators leaving books, we have to see, but for story value, I’d say this trumps everything else

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? DC un-rebooting the DCU! No, seriously, I think it’ll be digital. Publishers are going day and date now, I’d expect to start seeing ‘new’ things to bring people to the digital side – exclusive digital only books, DVD extras, these are already starting to appear – whatever it is, it’ll be big and ground-breaking and probably related to a yet unseen device.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? The Avengers and Dark Knight Rises. In comics, Saucer County by Paul Cornell and Josh Fialkov’s run on Doctor Who – for the first time in years I can read it as a fan!

Naif Al-Mutawa, publisher, Teshkeel

2012 Projects:
THE 99 Animated Series, based on the comic books, is launching globally in 2012.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? The untimely death of the incredible Dwayne McDuffie, may he rest in peace.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? Comics will irreversibly push the envelope on defeating racism through the content.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? Downtime with my children!

Jim Starlin, cartoonist

2012 Projects:
Just finished off ‘Breed III for Image and am now working on an illustrated novel entitled Mindgames.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011?: I guess it was DC Comics’ reboot

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012?: Probably Marvel Comic’s reboot.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? : Seeing Thanos show up at the end of the Avengers movie.

David Macho, agent, editor, translator

2012 Projects: Birds of Prey, Avengers, Resurrection Man, X-Men, Legion of Super-Heroes, Blackhawks, Stormwatch… Also a big top secret project I cannot mention. :)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? DC the New-52, I think that’s an obvious one, and a turning point for the industry as a whole, I hope, that helps raise sales, bring back lapsed readers, and get new ones, for EVERY single company, not just DC.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? Diversification in Comics! We get historical dramas! Space opera! Romance! Teen stories! Slice of life! And in the major companies! Nah, it’ll be probably Avengers Vs. X-Men, but a man can dream, right? :)

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? Food, I’m a foodie, my guilty pleasures use to involve food and nice restaurants or something… :)

Michael Manley, cartoonist, http://www.michaelcolemanley.blogspot.com

2012 Projects: Judge Parker for King features, Draw! Magazine

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? I suppose DC’s relaunch and the digital initiative

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? The death of Barnes and Nobles leaving us without a national brick and mortar book store.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? I don’t know if it’s guilty, more of a natural progression– but I am looking forward to graduating from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art with my Certificate and then entering the Master Program and having my first one-man show of my paintings in March.

Ruben Bolling, cartoonist

2012 Projects:
Tom the Dancing Bug, weekly comic strip in newspapers, and boingboing.net and gocomics.com

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? DC’s New 52 project

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012?The prophesied arrival of Bolon Yokte, the Mayan god of war and creation, and the resulting seas of fire and lava storms, will cause many mint and near-mint comic books to be degraded in condition.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? More paperback Marvel Masterworks

Tommy Lee Edwards, cartoonist, designer

2012 Projects:
GOLDEN AGE with writer Jonathan Ross (Image Comics)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? The number of incredible comic creators attempting to publish independently.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? The implosion of Marvel Comics.

Shahrabani.jpgBenjamin Shahrabani, publisher Com.x Comics

2012 Projects:
Babble, Monster Myths, Average Joe, Bushido Wasabi, Duppy ’78, Passions Requiem, and continuing with the ’45’ trilogy.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2011? Marvel & DC relaunches

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2012? I really shouldn’t (because its potentially just a rumor) but it has something to do with retail distribution.

What guilty pleasure are you looking forward to in 2012? I work in comics. Isn’t everything a guilty pleasure?

Jim Shooter: I did not write Avengers #200

Not too long ago, we presented for your amusement several videos recapping the rather appalling events of AVENGERS #200, in which Ms. Marvel was kidnapped, drugged, and forcibly impregnated, and after giving birth to a reincarnation of her rapist, went off with him in a happy daze. The writers on the story are listed as Jim Shooter, David Michelinie, Bob Layton, and George Pérez but it’s been noted that in the years since, no one has actually taken credit for coming up with the story. It’s like that one round of blanks in the firing squad — every man can believe he is the innocent one.

Now over on his blog Jim Shooter has come out and confirmed that he’s wiped the entire incident from his memory:

I found my copy of Avengers #200. I read it. I agree with the consensus, it’s heinous. But, I don’t remember much about how it got that way.

I am credited not only as Editor in Chief but as one of the co-plotters. However, I didn’t see anything in the book that jogged my memory. No bits that I remember suggesting. No corrections of the sort I might have made to a plot passed before me.

But I did see many things I would have had changed if I’d seen the plot. For instance, leaving aside the Ms. Marvel mess for the nonce: Iron Man thinks it’s okay for the weird, mysterious child to be given a “laser torch” and electronic equipment so he can build a machine. What?! As the massive machine is being assembled, no one bothers to question what it is or does. What?! Trouble ensues. No kidding, really? Good grief.

Shooter offers a few hypotheses about the story’s origin — a feud between Michelinie and Chris Claremont being one possible motivation — and hints that Jim Salicrup might know more — definitely something to remember next time The Beat sees him!

There is perhaps some comfort all these years later in knowing that Shooter offers a flat-out apology:

But, in those days, in any case, the buck stopped at my desk. I take full responsibility. I screwed up. My judgment failed, or maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention. Sorry. Avengers #200 is a travesty.

Convention report: Dave Roman on Quai des Bulles

by Dave Roman


Imagine a cartoonist-centric comic convention, held in a city that is equal parts Kiki’s Delivery Service and the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and you get a small taste of what it’s like to attend Quai des Bulles. You would have to consume many delicious butter-filled pastries to get the full taste!

My wife, Raina Telgemeier, and I often hear about Angoulême, the largest European comics festival, held each winter (often in snowstorms), that takes on a Mecca-like quality for cartoonists. So when Akileos, the French publisher for her graphic novel Smile, invited her to the SECOND-largest convention in France, we had no idea what to expect.


Quai De Bulles, with its buccaneer mascot, is held annually on the docks of Saint-Malo, a historic port city in Brittany a few hours west of Paris. It is surrounded by medieval stone walls that are accessible for walking, providing an amazing view of the surrounding beaches and castles. Many of the castles were built offshore, and are accessible only during low tide! Entering the gates of the city is akin to walking through Cinderella’s Castle at Disneyland, where cobblestone streets, endless bakeries, and crêperies await around each winding corner. The continuous smell of warm cookies evokes the feeling of Christmastime; the illustrated iconography of Breton women in their traditional tall lace hats replaces Santa Claus.


It’s easy to get distracted by the great foods and magical atmosphere, but everything about the comic convention itself is equally appealing. One building was dedicated to panels and screenings of animation, as well as classic black & white pirate movies like Captain Blood, a café, a performance drawing stage, reading libraries, and a series of art galleries. The other building houses the main convention floor, containing exhibition booths for all of the major French comic publishers. The space itself is reminiscent of San Francisco’s Concourse, where APE is held each fall, with wooden beams and bright skylights. Cartoonists were set up at their respective publishers’ booths (there was no artist alley or small press area) with signs designating what times they would be available. There is no such thing as just a signature in France—artists labor over each book, providing elaborate, personalized illustrations that often involve fancy brushwork and full watercolors! It is very common for people waiting in line to bring collapsible chairs, yet everyone seemed very patient, since the one-of-a-kind drawings are worth the wait.


I had only a passing familiarity with French comics (referred to as BDs, an abbreviation of bande dessinée for drawn strip), but it was easy to tell which books were the huge hits. At the airport and train stations I had seen tons of ads for Kid Paddle, which seems to be the European equivalent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Kid Paddle’s giant booth at QdB rivaled the kinds of things the Sci-Fi Channel or Marvel would showcase at Comic-Con. It had a smoke machine, walls riddled with bullet holes, dripping slime, a life-sized monster in a giant cage, and my favorite element: a giant screen magnifying what Michel Leden (aka Midam) was drawing in each person’s book, so the people waiting in line could enjoy his doodles as well.



Having gone to at least six American comic conventions per year for the past ten years or so, it was exhilarating to discover so many new books all at once. I could only decipher a few words in French, so I focused on art styles more than story content. I was especially drawn to a series called Mamette by Nob, starring a cute old lady who has more youthful vigor and spirit than all the curmudgeons around her. The cartooning is to die for and the background settings and colors made my mouth water just as much as the kouign-amann (the signature pastry of Breton made from salted butter and sugar into a crisp, caramelized spiral).


Other books I picked up at the show included La Saga d’Atlas & Axis by Pau (which looks as if Drew Weing illustrated a spinoff of Bone about warrior dogs), Hôtel étrange by Katherine and Florian Ferrier (Moomin meets Strawberry Shortcake by Richard Sala?…), and the hilariously offensive Fernand the Polar Beer by Marshall Joe and Wandrille. Everywhere I turned, something appealing would jump out at me either for myself, or a book that I knew a friend would get a kick out of. There were booths with back issues of classic French comic albums (in milk crates instead of long boxes), Tintin merchandise everywhere (both for the movie and classic comics), and tons and tons of manga!


One of the most impressive aspects of Quai des Bulles were the various galleries of original art. These were not just makeshift displays of comic pages, but elaborate (and expensive looking) multimedia installations like you would see at the Museum of Modern Art. Large monitors, fancy frames, giant props, displayed sketchbooks, mood music and lighting effects, all customized for each room dedicated to a different artist. I don’t think any cartoon-related museum in the U.S. has put on a show anywhere near as extensive as what was showcased at this comic convention. All the more impressive when you realize it’s meant to stay up only for a single weekend! All of the galleries had reading areas with samples of the cartoonists’ work in book form, so while the parents admired the craftsmanship, their kids could just read the comics.


And read comics, they did. Everywhere you turned there were kids carrying comic albums, or huddled in some corner with their nose in a book! There was also a specific gallery showcasing the works of teen and pre-teen cartoonists, and an art class area for younger kids. It seemed like more than half the attendees were groups of comic-loving families.

The family-friendly atmosphere was great news for Raina, as Akileos sold all the copies of Smile (or Souriez, as it’s called in French) they’d brought before noon on Sunday.

It was especially cool to spend time with the Akileos staff and their attending comics creators: Vincent Brugeas and Ronan Toulhoat (Block 109), Mara (Clues), Dan Lish (Cartigan) and Ian Culbard (At the Mountains of Madness). Luckily Raina and I weren’t the only non-French artists, so we felt a little less embarrassed by our caveman approach to the language. Plus, everyone made us feel extremely welcome and of course the language of comics is universal. Snacks were plentiful, with chocolates and macaroons being offered by all.


Every night we got to eat fantastic dinners, have great conversations, and take in all the sites and sounds of Saint-Malo. This included lots of crêpes, both savory and sweet, another specialty of the region. Our final morning was bittersweet as we took one last walk around the walled city, and ran through the cobblestone streets snapping photos and grabbing a few last pastries for the train ride to Paris.

[Dave Roman is the author of several graphic novels including Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity, Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery and the forthcoming Teen Boat!]


THE LEGAL VIEW: Super-style and the DCU Relaunch

By Jeff Trexler

Judging from the images released so far, it would appear that the relaunched versions of Superman and Superboy will be different from previous versions. Superman will no longer be wearing red shorts over his blue tights, and his belt, boots and S-symbol have also undergone notable alterations. Somewhat more dramatically, Superboy is sporting a black shirt and pants, a black-and-white S-shield mini-cape attached to his back, and a stylized red S-shield tattoo. It also appears that both characters will have significant changes in their continuity, most notably Superman’s age and his relationship with Lois Lane.

This changes in the Superman costume are in themselves not likely to provide a solid foundation for erasing the Siegel heirs’ ownership interest. However, the costume changes and other shifts in continuity are consistent with DC’s arguments for limiting what the Siegels now own.  

As we saw in the case review, the Siegels argue that they should be 50% co-owners of the current Superman material, inasmuch as it all substantially derives from Siegel and Shuster original. However, DC counters this by arguing that Superman is a dynamic, not a static character. DC claims that the 1938 Superman is “stylistically dated”–if the company had stuck with the Siegel and Shuster original, the character would now be worthless.

Instead, DC has told the court, the company’s distinct creative contributions are what has kept the character economically viable. Rather than drawing from the outdated material sold by Siegel and Shuster in 1938, the company continues to present “an ever-evolving portrayal of Superman” featuring additional new material and changes in Superman’s appearance. This extends both to the Superman copyright and to the iconic S-shield, which the Siegels claim to co-own as a work derived from the S-shield worn by the character in Action #1.

Judging by what DC has released, the changes made in the Superman relaunch would seem to reflect DC’s strategic emphasis on creative change.  Costume alterations may not establish that the character is wholly new, but they do arguably provide evidence of how the company is creating stylistic elements distinct from the character’s original form. Changes in continuity are also consistent with DC’s argument, inasmuch as they underscore the company’s ongoing creative input and quite possibly take the disputed material further away from the key elements present in the co-owned Siegel content.

The changes to Superboy are a bit more radical, which could be a reflection of the special circumstances in the Superboy case.  On the one hand, the character’s new look reinforces the organic differences between this version and the character that is at issue in the Siegel Superboy case. In contrast to the Siegel version of the character, the Superboy in the DCU since the mid-1990s is not a young Clark Kent, nor has he been wearing the traditional supersuit. That said, Superboy will presumably continue to have powers that are arguably derived from the Superman material co-owned by the Siegels, so the difference is not absolute.

Which is why Superboy’s new color scheme is particularly noteworthy. As you may recall from my previous post, the Siegels’ victory in 2008 was not entirely clearcut–Judge Larson had to find a way to deal with DC’s copyright interest in the black-and-white version of the Action #1 cover in these ads. His solution was to make DC the owner of a superhero wearing a black-and-white costume–a property that DC is free to exploit without any competing claim from the Siegels. Thus, the most important characteristic about the new Superboy may not be his differences from Superman, but rather, his similarity to the black-and-white costumed strongman from the promotional ads for Action #1.

That this Superboy also sports a couple of different S-shields is itself consistent with DC’s arguments in the Superman case. The Siegels argue that because the S-shield derives from the S-shield on the original Superman that they co-own, they should also be co-owners of the S-shield trademark. DC, however, not only argues that it owns the S-shield free and clear due to its appearance in the promotional ads, but it also claims that the company continues to make substantial changes to the S-shield beyond the version that appeared in Action #1.  Perhaps not coincidentally, a close look at the relaunch Superboy reveals a black-and-version with a rounded S similar in style to the Action #1 version reproduced in the ads, as well as more cutting-edge S-shield tattoo.

Even without the specter of termination rights, a company maintaining an IP farm such as the DCU has a significant incentive to make periodic additions and changes–every new creative element provides more material to exploit.  The Superboy and Superman lawsuits would appear to be channeling this impulse in intriguing ways, from alterations to the iconic S-shield trademark to evolving superhero couture.

Next:  Retconning Neil Gaiman

[Jeff Trexler is a lawyer and consultant and a comics fan who writes frequently about how legal matters pertain to comics.]

Legendary Comics debuts with Frank Miller’s HOLY TERROR in September

In the white-hot days following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, a lot of art was planned and some executed. One near legendary project was Frank Miller’s Holy Terror, Batman, which was just what it sounded like…the Batman taking on the terrorists. With Miller’s increasingly right-wing views, it was expected to be a real barn burner.

However, it turned out to be a little too hot for DC– as did the project’s editor Bob Schreck, who left for IDW and now a start-up line at Legendary Pictures. With a main character recast as “The Fixer,” the book is now planned to come out this September, in time for the 10th anniversary of a day most people would rather forget.

The Legendary Comics line has been quietly ramping up for some time — a publishing arm for Legendary Pictures, the powerhouse production company behind the Batman movies, THE HANGOVER, and many more films. Editor Schreck was seen hanging around the Comics Pavillion at BEA with new assistant editor Greg Tumbarello, and the imprint is busy setting up a distribution deal yet to be announced.

There’s a deadly menace somewhere in Empire City and The Fixer only has until dawn to save his town — and civilization as we know it! Legendary Comics presents an all-out, head-busting, bone-breaking, neck-snapping brawl of a tale from the one of the most celebrated storytellers of the medium, Frank Miller. Years in the making, Holy Terror features a desperate and brutal quest of a hero as he is forced to run down an army of murderous zealots in order to stop a crime against humanity.

Nice art: Emma Rios' Cloak and Dagger and Marvel office moves

Marvel editor Steve Wacker was tweeting some art earlier in the day, including a rather nice page by Emma Rios on the Cloak & Dagger Spider-Island tie-in. Clickee for largee!

Wacker also tweeted some editorial reorg, with his office consisting of Tom Brennan, Rachel Pinnelas, Ellie Pyle and Sebastian Girner. Alejandro Arbona has moved to Tom Brevoort’s office.