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Weekender: Ben Passmore, MoCCA 2017, and Shelly Bond’s Black Crown

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The weekend is here! Take a look back at what’s happened in the past seven days. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!

INDUSTRY NEWS

Emerald City Comic-Con has long been the convention where Image enjoy a victory lap – but this year we saw another publisher take up the stand against them, as IDW rolled back its sleeves and announced editor Shelly Bond will be overseeing a new imprint called Black Crown. As the former Executive Editor of Vertigo Comics, Bond is one of the most impressive and well-respected editors in the industry, and her approach to comics brings a pretty notable punk aesthetic — which likely means that she’s going to be looking to put together some comics which fly away from what you’d expect from IDW’s line.

From various interviews that Bond has been doing over the last few days, it seems as though her intent here is to pair up established names with new writers and artists; build up some new talent and give them a spotlight. The design aspect seems to be a focus, along with making sure that the artwork is different, experimental, and interesting. It’s hard to know what IDW will or won’t be allowing her — will the books be for all-ages, or for mature readers only — but the implication is that anything goes.

As with Karen Berger‘s Berger Books imprint at Dark Horse, no titles have been announced yet, but both Bond and Berger have huge amounts of charisma and talent. It’s exciting to have some of the great editorial talents curating comics again.

Image’s Creators for Creators grant announced its winner at ECCC, with webcomics artist M. Dean revealed to be the first-ever recipient of the award. Now, as we featured her work on Weekender only a few weeks ago, that’s an incredibly exciting choice for Image to have made. Her work is carefully composed and with an electric sense of character development and movement. She’s fantastic at writing dialogue, and constructing a narrative which fits around them.

As the winner, Dean will receive a grant of $30,000 to help her create new stories, and it appears that her chosen project will be called I Am Young. She’ll also receive mentoring from an impressive lineup of artists, writers and editors, including C. Spike Trotman and Nick Dragotta. Stay locked to this site for more on her work shortly….

Meanwhile, 2dcloud had their heads down over the last month, working hard on what’s been announced to be a thoroughly impressive Spring lineup of comics. This week they launched the line through a Kickstarter campaign, including work from people like Celine Loup, Julia Gfrorer, and unexpectedly, Clive Barker. They’re currently over a quarter of the way towards hitting the target of $20,000, and you can find the Kickstarter page here!

EVENTS AND AWARDS

MoCCA 2017 has announced its programming for next month’s event, as April 1-2 sees comics heading to the Ink48 Hotel in Manhattan. The line-up of panels is looking particularly impressive, with writers and artists — especially artists, as naturally the event organized by Bill Kartalopoulos is going to look to bring exceptional artists to the fold including Rutu Modan, Al Jaffee, and David Mazzucchelli all scheduled to be there for this year’s festival.

There are spotlight panels for Cliff Chiang and Becky Cloonan, and a whole range of topics being covered. It looks pretty exciting, one of those carefully curated festivals which seems to cover all bases and have something for everyone.

As we’ve mentioned time and time again as part of Weekender, India has one of the most passionate comics fanbases around the world right now, and have been really building up a comics culture across the country over the last few years. After a series of conventions which has merged local creator-owned work with licensed and international comics, it’s clear that the people of India are hugely invested in comics as a form — and another convention showed up recently which seems to cement even further the intent for India to become the next big home for comics.

A comic-con held at Deccan College in Pune this last weekend drew a huge crowd for its inaugural year, with the notable aspect being how the attendees brought the superhero cosplay, but bought the creator-owned comics. It sounds as though it was a great success for the the event’s organizers, after a small-scale version of the convention was trialed last year. With Comic-Con now over, it looks like 2018’s event might be even bigger.

 

yourblackfriend
Art by Ben Passmore

 

WEEKEND READING

Over at Newsarama, Chris Arrant has an interview with Ben Passmore which looks at his comic Your Black Friend. The book is set to get a wider release later this year from Adhouse, who will be publishing it in May — and Passmore also talks about some of his other in-the-works projects, which includes a huge new project called Daygloayhole set in New Orleans.

And speaking of Passmore, here’s Rob Clough taking a favorable critical eye to several of Passmore’s recent comics projects.

At this year’s Emerald City Comic-Con, which is essentially a home away from home for Image comics and the creators who live within its creator-owned walls, the publisher celebrated its 25th anniversary by getting the band back together. All of Image’s founders — minus Jim Lee — were in attendance at the convention, and participated in a huge panel which turned into a roast of the absent Lee. There are some fun stories there, as well as Robert Kirkman taking random shots at other publishers for no particularly good reason.

Brian Hibbs’ yearly sales column has gone up for 2016, and the big takeaway from it is that Raina Telgemeier takes up six of the top seven places on the list of top-selling graphic novels for the last year. That’s the touchstone for a piece from Johanna Draper Carlson which states what seems like the obvious at this point: Raina is the most important comics creator of the current age.When someone like Carlson writes an endorsement of that nature? You pay attention.

 

Attack on Titan Before the Fall
Kodansha

 

AND FINALLY

Speaking of hugely popular comics, this week we found out that Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama has sold 63 million copies since it debuted in 2009. Published through Kodansha’s Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine — which revealed the figure earlier this week — the Manga has run for 21 volumes to date, and has become an international phenomenon in the process. Hugely impressive.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Have a tip you’d like to share for Weekender? Get in touch at steve@comicsalliance.com!

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