GLAAD, the media monitoring group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender representation, has announced the nominees for its annual Media Awards celebrating positive LGBT representation in mainstream media, including the five comic book series that it believes provided outstanding examples of fair, inclusive, original and impactful LGBT characters in 2014.
This year's awards include first-time nominations for two publishers, Image Comics and Boom Studios. DC Comics is conspicuously absent this year, despite being nominated at least once every year seemingly for as long as GLAAD has recognized comics. Archie Comics is also absent for the first time since the debut of Kevin Keller in 2010.
The Image Comics slate for 2015 is something of an embarrassment of riches, with new work coming from some of the most exciting creators in North American comics, including those who've been building their fan bases with acclaimed work at Marvel and DC Comics for several years.
Among those who'll be creating original work for the first time in a long time is Dustin Nguyen, who's been one of DC's most reliably great artists of the decade. Known for his fantastic chibi book Li'l Gotham, beautiful backups in Superman Unchained and all sorts of striking work in the Batman line, Nguyen's inkwash and watercolor technique has sort of typecast him as a go-to cute and/or gothic artist. But those who've followed his career closely know that Nguyen is passionate about science fiction. He's worked on DC's Justice League Beyond and his own Wildstorm creation Manifest Eternity, but what's likely to be the cartoonist's biggest impact in the genre he loves so much is Descender, his new Image monthly with Jeff Lemire.
Image Comics hopes to bring new life to a familiar comics business model with Image Direct, a just-launched direct mail subscription service that offers customers in the continental United States discounts of up to 35% on Image titles shipped direct to their door. Customers can currently buy twelve-issue subscriptions on 42 different ongoing titles, including Saga, The Walking Dead, Savage Dragon, Wytches, and Invincible.
According to the FAQ on the new Image Direct site, customers subscribing to two or more titles receive a 10% discount on cover price; four or more gets you a 20% discount. Customers must subscribe to all the titles offered to qualify for the largest 35% discount. The price of an individual 12-issue subscription ranges from $35.88 to $47.88. Subscribing to all of the books costs $1,117.99 after discount.
If you've been wanting to read a comic that emphasizes a "long-withheld sneering contempt for our miserable species, with its self-serving, sentimental, suicidal self-delusions and its greedy, willful ignorance," then folks, I have got some good news for you. We are only a few short weeks away from the release of Nameless, the new six-issue Image Comics series from Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Nathan Fairbairn, described by Morrison as a straight-up horror comic about the worst that humanity has to offer.
To celebrate that fact -- uh, the release, I mean, not the thing about greedy ignorance and suicidal self-delusions -- Burnham revealed three variant covers for the first issue today, featuring the art of Tony Moore, Nathan Fox, and Jonathan Hickman. A fourth variant has also been commissioned, but they're keeping that secret for now.
Although cosplay has been present for decades within the comics, anime, and sci-fi/fantasy fandoms, social media has played an integral role in the thriving communities of costuming that exist, such as Cosplay.com and the Superhero Costuming Forum. Over the years, the cosplay community has evolved into a creative outlet for many fans to establish and showcase some impressive feats of homemade disguise, craftsmanship, and sartorial superheroics at conventions. In honor of the caped crusaders of the convention scene, ComicsAlliance has created Best Cosplay Ever (This Week), an ongoing collection of some of the most impeccable, creative, and clever costumes that we’ve discovered and assembled into a super-showcase of pure fan-devoted talent.
For the past few days the comics internet has been abuzz with the news out of the 2015 Image Expo, but there's something that was announced at last year's that I'm every bit as excited for as the new batch: Southern Cross, the new sci-fi horror comic from writer-artist Becky Cloonan, artist Andy Belanger, and colorist Shari Chankhamma.
Originally announced at Image Expo 2014, Southern Cross is set for release in March, and to get people excited, Cloonan and Belanger have been posting designs from the series on a Tumblr dedicated to the comic -- and clearly, it's working, largely because they are awesome.
The Wall Street Journal published Diamond Comic Distributors' list of the top-selling comics publishers for 2014 Friday morning, and for the most part, it's all the usual suspects. Marvel was No. 1 with more than a third of the market share, in both dollars and units. DC was reasonably close behind. Image, IDW, Dark Horse, Dynamite and Boom Studios took the next spots.
Then comes number eight. Eaglemoss Publications. Wait. What? Who?
Sex Criminals co-creator Chip Zdarsky and Infinite Kung Fu author Kagan McLeod plan to take readers to colorful, strange, and rather gay new worlds with their new Image ongoing title Kaptara this April. Announced by Zdarsky himself and Image publisher Eric Stephenson at the one-day Image Expo in San Francisco on Thursday, the book sees a waylaid earthman sent on an odyssey through peculiar worlds inspired by the action figures of the 1980s, on a mission to save his home planet.
The two Toronto-based writer-artists have known each other for years, and as they told ComicsAlliance, the roots of this collaboration go back to the studio they once shared. Kaptara is written by Zdarsky and illustrated in full color by McLeod, an acclaimed magazine illustrator making his return to comics. The story offers echoes of Flash Gordon and John Carter, and of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples' Saga, only... gayer. More gay. ComicsAlliance met with the team to find out just how gay, and to get the ball rolling on Motivational Orb mania.
Image held the latest in its series of one-day Image Expo events in San Francisco on Thursday, putting a spotlight on a slate of new titles for 2015, and introducing some new creators to the Image family. In concert with the expo, Image also released a new Humble Indie Bundle that includes an Image Expo Preview book containing art from the newly announced titles, plus some forthcoming books that were previously announced.
Titles featured in the preview include Savior by Brian Holguin, Todd McFarlane, and Clayton Crain; Injection, by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire; No Mercy, by Alex De Campi, Carla Speed McNeil, and Jenn Manley Lee; Island, by Brandon Graham and a whole host of artists; RunLoveKill, by Eric Canete, Jonathan Tsuei, Leonardo Olea, and Manu Fernandez; and Starve, by Brian Wood and Danijel Zezelj; the book also includes a one-page ad for Marjorie Liu's new book with Sana Takeda, Monstress, and an ad for the second season of Pretty Deadly, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios.
In common with a fairly significant chunk of the comics community, Brian K. Vaughan was in New York on September 11th, 2001, and witnessed the events of that day first-hand. Sublimating his experiences into his art, Vaughan penned Ex Machina, a modern masterpiece that used an alternate version of 9/11 to explore America's relationships with its heroes. But just as the long-term effects of September 11th are still palpable, Vaughan has continued to explore the anxieties of post-9/11 American throughout his work.
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