DEB LUCKE’S ‘LUNCH WITCH’ LAUNCHES PAPERCUTZ LINE OF ORIGINAL KIDS’ COMICS
All-ages publisher Papercutz announced that it’s moving into the original graphic novel business with The Lunch Witch, written and illustrated by Deb Lucke. The Lunch Witch tells the story of Grunhilda, a witch who becomes a school lunch lady when the magic business dries up. The publisher says the title offers a good representation of the type of original work they intend to publish.
Papercutz previously specialized in licensed works, including Garfield, Disney Fairies, Power Rangers, Lego Ninjago, and Nancy Drew, and translations of all-ages European comics, including The Smurfs. The publisher’s founder, Terry Nantier, has a strong background in graphic novels as one of the three founders of NBM. Deb Lucke is a writer and illustrator of children’s books
THE COMICS ALLIANCE GUIDE TO SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON 2014: WHAT TO DO ON SUNDAY
With hundreds of panels to choose from at San Diego Comic-Con, the show can be an overwhelming experience — and it’s far too easy to miss a panel you think you might have loved, or to find yourself on the wrong side of the con floor five minutes before a great panel is about to start!
ComicsAlliance has sifted through the schedule to offer up our pick of the best programming at the con. Today we offer our suggested highlights for the final day of the show, Sunday July 27, 2014, when most of the family programming is scheduled. We’ll also let you know where and when you can find ComicsAlliance contributors at the San Diego show.
IMAGE EXPO: 12 AUSPICIOUS ANNOUNCEMENTS AND THE STATE OF THE AMERICAN COMICS UNION
In the final few hours before San Diego Comic-Con opened its doors to the public for Preview Night on Wednesday, Image Comics Expo took place in an upstairs ballroom at the nearby San Diego Bayfront Hilton, where the publisher welcomed a group of press, creators, and fans to watch as the company announced, discussed and otherwise promote a great variety of upcoming Image titles.
Britpop boomed over the speakers as the attendees filed into the room, which was set up in a manner familiar those who’ve watched Apple keynote presentations, but is still somewhat untraditional for comic book conventions. A few minutes after 2pm, Image publisher Eric Stephenson bounded onstage and launched into one of his now-customary keynote addresses, bemoaning what he described as the American comics industry’s penchant for recycling as opposed to innovating, and promised that the afternoon would expose readers to fresh ideas and bold new concepts. He name checked Marvel luminaries Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, and Stan Lee’s reinvention of comics in the early 1960s as an ideal to be strived for; talked of his own passions and ambitions for Image as a company; showed off some sales graphs that demonstrated Image’s growth over the last few years; and spoke powerfully about the need for diversity in content in order to appeal to the widest possible audience.
“Comics have been viewed as a boys club, but that’s changing,” Stephenson said, referencing the growing conversation in our community about the need for more representation of women and persons of color both on the page and behind the scenes.
Perhaps unintentionally, Stephenson’s earnest remarks about comics diversity became conspicuous when he screened a short film outlining Image’s history, the policies and ideals that the company hopes to embody, and showcased clips of creators speaking about the freedom they enjoy working at the famously hands-off publisher. With the notable exception of writer Kelly Sue DeConnick, the film was essentially a succession of talented men talking about their love for comics. However, the optics would become a lot better very shortly, when Image’s new announcements (topics and people not discussed in the filmed presentation) came with numerous new projects created by women and persons of color.
But before those specific announcements, Stephenson discussed his belief that “creator-owned” — where writers and artists own the copyright and other rights to their own comic books — should be the industry standard, and spoke unfavorably of the rise of the term “creator-driven,” which has been used by some publishers to describe the idiosyncratic nature of their nevertheless company-owned publications. Stephenson described “creator-driven” as the bare minimum treatment acceptable in publishing. He spoke openly about how such comments often don’t make him friends with Image competitors, and positioned himself as a figure that welcomes controversy so long as that controversy leads to “better comics.”
The Image publisher then proceeded to put his money where his mouth was, segueing into the main event: new comics that Image hopes will rise to the standard of Stephenson’s bold rhetoric.
UNIVERSAL’S CABLE ARM PICKS UP REMENDER & DWYER’S ‘NIGHT MARY’, BARBIERE & MOONEYHAM’S ‘FIVE GHOSTS’ AND ORIGINAL SERIES BY WARREN ELLIS
Universal Cable Productions, the cable and digital arm of NBCUniversal, announced three new projects rooted in the comic book realm, including what will be Planetary and Transmetropolitan writer Warren Ellis’ first original series developed especially for television. Additionally, UCP optioned Night Mary, a 2005 IDW drama by Rick Remender and Kieron Dwyer about a young woman trained to enter the dreams of serial killers; and Five Ghosts, the recent critical hit from Image Comics/Black Mask Studios and creators Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham, who tell the story of Fabian Gray, a 1930s adventurer possessed by the spirits of five literary ghosts — Merlin, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Miyamoto Musashi, and Dracula. Five Ghosts began as a miniseries but its success resulted in an upgrade to ongoing, and now, it seems, an “upgrade” (because comics are the best, obviously) to television.
There’s no information about the Ellis project, but he’s working on it with producer Gale Ann Hurd, best known for numerous films with James Cameron as well as The Walking Dead.
HERE’S THE THING EPISODE 17: POKEMON FAN THEORIES, GUEST STARRING BULBASAUR
If our weekly Ask Chris column isn’t enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here’s The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you’re wrong and he’s right.
This week, Chris is joined by special guest Bulbasaur for a chat aboutPokémon, fan theories, “headcanon” and why so much of it is focused on this one game for tiny children.
- More information about the Gengar/Clefairy fan theory can be found in Chris’ article about the Ten Most Disturbing Pokédex Entries.
- Check out the origins of fandom’s obsession with “canon”: Sherlock Holmes.
- For just a taste of how deep this fan theory rabbit hole goes, here’s Bulbapedia’s section on theories of just what the words “Pokémon Master” mean.
FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS: MARIAN CHURCHLAND, CLAIRE GIBSON AND SLOAN LEONG SUBVERT CLICHÉS WITH A NEW FANTASY ADVENTURE
By Juliet Kahn
There will be magic in From Under Mountains, an ongoing fantasy series coming from Image in 2015 and announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego. Set in the world of Akhara, the story introduces us to a lord’s daughter, a disgraced knight, and a runaway thief whose unlikely partnership will change the course of a world locked in a bitter conflict between rival clans. There will be goblins and witches and knights as well, lost in the churning of a world in turmoil. Great houses will square off for power. Thieves will dash into the shadows. Naïve youths will learn that the world is vaster and more terrible than they ever imagined. In these warm, well-worn ways, it will embrace the best that fantasy, as a genre has to offer: sweeping scope grounded in the lives of heroes, villains, and everything in between.
Creators Marian Churchland, Claire Gibson, and Sloane Leong have worked on everything from Elephantmen to magical girl comics about anthropomorphic wolves, and they are bringing their varied experience to bear upon From Under Mountains and the fantasy genre in ways both familiar and innovative. ComicsAlliance talked with them to discuss breaking new ground with thoughtfulness, experience, and memories of Ursula Le Guin.
IDW PROMISES TO EXPAND THE WORLD OF ‘ORPHAN BLACK’ IN NEW COMIC SERIES
IDW Publishing announced a new comic series based on the critically acclaimed Canadian sci-fi series Orphan Black. Created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett, the show follows the story of Sarah Manning, a woman who discovers she’s one of a number of identical clones and part of a sprawling conspiracy.
IDW promises that the comic series will offer new stories that expand on the world presented by the show. No creative team has been announced at this time. The cult following surrounding Orphan Black may help IDW fill a hole in its line left by Doctor Who, a licence the publisher recently lost to Titan Books.
MARVEL UNLIMITED EDITION: THE STERANKO EFFECT
By Douglas Wolk
The Marvel Unlimited app is a gigantic, messy cache of awesome and terrible old comic books: a library of 13,000 or so back issues of Marvel titles, available on demand for subscribers with tablets or mobile phones. Like any good back-room longbox, it’s disorganized and riddled with gaps, but it’s also full of forgotten and overlooked jewels, as well as a few stone classics. In Marvel Unlimited Edition, Eisner-winning criticDouglas Wolk dives into the Unlimited archive to find its best, oddest and most intriguing comics.
Jim Steranko’s reputation as one of the great American comic book artists rests almost entirely on the comparatively tiny body of work he drew for Marvel between 1966 and 1970: nine complete comic books, eighteen “Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.” episodes that each occupied half of an issue of Strange Tales, and a pair of seven-page stories from anthologies, as well as a handful of covers. All of his Marvel stories can now be read on the Unlimited app… except for Nick Fury #5, for whatever reason. If you’ve never gotten to sample Steranko’s psychedelic delights, here are three excellent starting points.
HUMANOIDS WILL HAVE LADRÖNN-INSPIRED ‘FINAL INCAL’ TAROT CARDS AT SAN DIEGO COMIC-CON
In addition to having (limited) copies of the different hardcover editions of the English translation Final Incal, the last chapter of the decades-spanning cosmic comic book series started in The Incal by Alejandro Jorodowsky and Moebius, publisher Humanoids has announced that it’ll have con-exclusive tarot cards on-hand at Comic-Con International in San Diego.
Completely in keeping with the metaphysic mysticism and widescreen spirituality of the Incal universe, the cards’ designs will be based on the art of Jose Ladrönn, the artist who picked up the torch on Final Incal after Moebius left the project (Moebius’ one chapter, titled After the Incal, is included in the hardcover). The cards look awesome, as you can see by the few samples released so far. There will be ten in all, each measuring 2.75” × 4.75”.