What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more - but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed. ComicsAlliance have got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, and so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new hirings, new podcasts, new art being made - it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Eric Stephenson, publisher at Image Comics, has become known in recent years for his speeches at events like Image Expo, which often attempt to rally the comic book industry towards a common goal --- while also reminding people that Image is already achieving that goal, and is therefore the best.
Today at the Tenth Annual ComicsPRO Membership Meeting in Portland, Oregon, Stephenson spoke to the comics retailer community about concerns creators have over the health of the industry, and fears that publishers are chasing short term gain over long term growth.
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance has got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, and so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
At the dawn of 1992, comic books were booming. Tim Burton's Batman had kicked off a new wave of big-budget film adaptations. Superhero products could be found in nearly every aisle of every department store and supermarket. New comic shops were springing up in shopping centers and malls, publishers were seeing their highest sales figures in years, and new companies were making names for themselves as serious players. And Marvel Comics was the unquestioned big fish in the pool, with their stock booming in the six short months since they'd gone public, and an unparalleled creative stable.
But big changes were afoot. In December of 1991, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, and Jim Lee, Marvel's three biggest artists, informed publisher Terry Stewart that the company's policies toward talent were unfair, that creators were not being appropriately rewarded for their work, and that they were leaving, effective immediately. In the month thereafter, they joined forces with a few more like-minded artists from Marvel's top-selling titles, worked out a deal with small publisher Malibu Comics for production and distribution, and decided on the title for their new company --- recycling a name that Liefeld had originally intended for an aborted self-publishing venture. On February 1st, 1992, a press release was sent out announcing the formation of Image Comics.
Image Comics' Nowhere Men is one of the most talked-about series of the last few years, but public opinion is fickle. A pop-sci fi tour de force by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde, Jordie Bellaire, and Fonografiks, it quickly gathered critical acclaim and a handful of Eisner nominations before --- just as quickly --- effectively disappearing.
Now, more than two years since the last issue, the series is finally returning, with Nowhere Men #7 landing this Wednesday, January 20. In advance of the return, Eric Stephenson spoke with ComicsAlliance about the delay, the comeback, new artist Dave Taylor, and taking inspiration from David Bowie.
Everyone loves comic book trivia, but with 75 years of superhero comics behind us right now, there’s always some new obscure fact to learn. That’s why ComicsAlliance is going deep into the minutiae of your favorite characters in our continuing video series. You think you know comics? Well, here’s a few things you might not know!
This week we're taking a look at Todd McFarlane's Spawny guy, the most successful creator-owned superhero ever based on salmon mating rituals. If you haven't read Spawn since your Hot Topic days, maybe there are some things you forgot or never knew. Great news! This is a video where you can learn about how Spawn used to be a spaceman, the many lawsuits of Todd McFarlane, and the crushing realization that we could have had a Spawn movie starring Snoop Dogg.
A few weeks ago, ComicsAlliance had a nice long chat with writer Steve Orlando about Virgil, the queersploitation graphic novel set in Kingston, Jamaica that he's been working on with artist J.D. Faith, colorist Chris Beckett, and letterer Tom Mauer. In honor of the book's release, we sat down with Faith, Beckett, and Mauer to hear about their experiences working on the book, and how they operated together as a team.
Reissues give you a chance to re-read an old book --- maybe even a a mostly-forgotten one --- with fresh eyes. Now that Image is reprinting Larry Young and Charlie Adlard's Astronauts In Trouble in its entirety, a lot of readers get to look back on a book that had a lot of buzz surrounding it near the turn of the century.
This weekend, the Hugo Awards nominations were announced, and almost every category was affected by the "Sad Puppies" campaign, which encouraged anti-liberal voters to push specific works by conservative authors. While every award event with nomination voting has people pushing for votes in specific directions, this systematic approach to affect every single category and make it less about the quality of the work has made these nominations pretty useless. The good news is that the campaign had very little effect on the "graphic story" category, which covers comics, but the Sad Puppies voters did manage to get their one selection in that category into the nominations as well.
The question most often asked of the ComicsAlliance staff is a variation of, "Which comic books should I be reading?" or, "I'm new to comics, what's a good place to start?" The Wednesday deluge of new comic books, graphic novels and collected editions can be daunting even for the longtime reader, much less for those totally unfamiliar with creators, characters and publishers, and the dark mysteries of comic book shopping like variants, pre-ordering, and formats.