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Archive for August 2013

Catwoman #23 Tops $15, Joker’s Daughter #1 Tops $30

Catwoman #23, featuring the first appearance of the new Joker’s Daughter, is now a $15 comic on eBay, though some copies are selling around the $10-$12 mark. For a $2.99 comic published on Wednesday, that’s quite a rise.

Some stores may still have copies at cover price of course.

Just not many.

It’s also in advance of the release of Joker’s Daughter #1 for DC’s Villains Month, which has topped $30 for preorders but has now settled in at around $15/$16 on eBay.

 

Catwoman #23 Tops $15, Joker’s Daughter #1 Tops $30

Big Things Come In Tiny Packages – Matchbook Comics

Brian John Mitchell writes for Bleeding Cool:

So… I make comics the size of a pack of matches.  They’re kind of my thing.

Telling stories in 40 panels that harkens back to the Golden Age when comic stories were self-contained & only 4-6 pages long.  Stories that are a mix of fun & tragedy & intellectual & stupid.  Experiments that occasionally soar or occasionally fall a little flat.  In genres from sci-fi to horror to autobiographical to crime to action.  Because I love the Golden Age books, before comics were meant to be collected, when comics were meant to be read.

So that’s the kind of comics I try to make.  Ones to be read.  That’s why I make them small & portable, so you can read them anywhere in a short amount of time.  So you can escape your reality for a couple minutes be it via a physical one someone left on a bus seat or at a coffee shop or a digital version on your phone.  We want to give you stories to help you remember that the world is good & you aren’t uniquely alone.  Stories of men hunted by demons.  Stories of robots searching for souls.  Stories of men in existential dread.  Stories of women fighting cosmic horror.  Stories of hitmen trying to live the straight life.  Stories of trying to make the world a little bit better of a place.  Of trying to get mankind back on top, back above the surface.

Right now I have 80 books made from over the past ten years or so & I’m chomping at the bit to make more.  I want to make it to 100 in the next few months.  I know I can do it.  But I don’t just want them for me & a hundred folks I know.  I want to get them out to the world.  So help me spread the word.  You can back them for as little as a buck or get them all mailed to you for under $100 or just tell your friends that you heard about something bleeding cool. Here is the kickstarter project.

 

Big Things Come In Tiny Packages – Matchbook Comics

Shining A Spotlight – Tess Fowler

Last week I debuted this column with a look at Ray Anthony Height. The reaction on the message boards was very positive with one member suggesting that we do this as a regular column. That is my intent as I feel there are a lot of talented artists who have done professional work but just haven’t gotten the attention they deserve. I will be looking for more artists to feature in this column as it goes forward and would be interested in ideas of artists I should look at.

This week we’re going to take a look at artist Tess Fowler. An extremely talented artist who started her professional work doing likeness books (Charmed) as well as in her own style (Wonderland Annual). She has a strong on-line following, is very active in social media and is now focused on come creator-owned projects in between completing her paid commission work.

Let’s get to know Tess and her work better:

BLEEDING COOL: How did you get started drawing? 

FOWLER: I began working professionally at 17 doing posters for motorcycle shops. At 18 I moved on to portraiture and advertisement art for renaissance faire costumers and professionals. Then I moved on to comics in my 20s. Last year I began delving into music and television work.

BC: Who were your biggest inspirations?

FOWLER: When I was a wee pup it was Frank Frazetta, Kevin Eastman, Simon Bisley, and Wendy Pini (among many others) Now it’s Dino Battaglia, Sergio Toppi, Gabriel Rodriguez, and Andrew Robinson (among many others).

BC: What is your process for doing a page? How long does it take you?

FOWLER: Comic book pages can take me anywhere from a day to three days depending on complexity. My process includes Tom Waits music, black tea, and a lot of black ink.

BC: Where might folks have seen your work previously?

FOWLER: Probably on the internet. I did a re-imagined Disney princess piece in 2011 that went viral in the past year. It’s called “Apocalypse Princesses” and it’s EVERYWHERE. Tumblr and Facebook have been on fire with it thanks to the multiple groups of young ladies in the states and abroad who have taken to building costumes based on it. also worked on the Charmed comic book series, and did various work for Zenescope in the past.

BC: What are you working on now?

FOWLER: A lot of creator-owned books, mostly. Right now I’m doing an anthology of short stories, and a Western graphic novel with my husband Chris Gutierrez (Chris is a concept artist and writer). Also on the table is Doc Wilde cover and interior illustration work with creator Tim Byrd (who does wonderful work, and you should check him out!) Also have some very secret irons in the fire. Watch www.tessfowler.com for updates!

BC: What is your dream project? 

FOWLER: This question always reminds me of that scene in Willow where he thinks he’s supposed to pick a finger on the High Aldwin’s hand, but the right answer is to pick his own finger. ”Now, the power to control the world… is in which finger?”

 

 

 

 

Shining A Spotlight – Tess Fowler

Buying In The Gutters

Ryan Sohmer writes;

Ryan Sohmer here, writer of Gutters among a few other things.

If you’re not familiar with it, Gutters is a series of stand-alone pages that parody the comic book industry and the heroes and characters that dwell within. Rather than have one artist pencil each page, we elected to have a rotating roster of professional artists, among them some giants in the comic book industry alongside new and emerging talent.

You may peruse our archive over here: Gutters Archives

A couple months ago, we made the hard decision to put Gutters on hiatus.

This decision was made for 2 reasons. The first one being that we were about to embark on our summer convention season and trimming down on our workload made sense.

The second reason though, is one I’ve been wrestling with for over a year:

Gutters is very expensive to produce. Each page can cost a minimum of 300$ for pencils, inks, colors and letters. At 3 times a week, 52 weeks a year, the art alone on Gutters for the year is $46,800.

That doesn’t take into account the other costs associated with the site, such as hosting, graphic design, etc. I’d rather keep the focus on the art.

So yes, Gutters is a very expensive product to produce, and worse, Gutters is very difficult to monetize.

As it’s a work of parody, we can’t start producing t-shirts, figures or plushies. The big publishers would have a problem with that, and I’d rather not get sued this year (maybe next).

That leaves advertising.

Unfortunately, with the ad market on a decline, ads generate barely enough to cover the bandwidth and hosting costs this site uses.

After 3 years, the losses on this project are becoming too much for Blind Ferret to bear, and though I was paying artists out of my own pocket for a time, I can’t sustain that either.

So where does that leave us?

The smart man would shelve Gutters, walk away and move on to something profitable. The problem there, and the reality of it all, is that we love doing Gutters. We love it. It’s a pure passion project for all of us, and we want to keep doing it more than anything.

Never one to be called smart, I laid out our problems on the Gutters Facebook page last week, and the overwhelming response from you folks was to go the hail Mary play (a sports reference?) and try one last shot.

And that last shot is Kickstarter.

We’ve setup a very simple Kickstarter campaign with the goal of continuing to publish Gutters, by raising enough coin to pay for the actual art costs. The initial goal is to help pay for 1 update a week, with stretch goals going up to 3 times a week. Hell, I’d go more if we could generate enough.

You can pick up some books, some prints, original art, even the chance to work with me on a Gutters page. There’s a sponsorship level in there as well, for the industry-folks among you.

And that’s it, folks: We want to keep doing Gutters, and we need your help to do so.

From all of us here at Gutters HQ: Moss, Rich, Ed, Rus, Lar, Ari, Jeff, Stone and Will, we thank you for your continued support. It means a huge amount to us, more than we could ever hope to express.

Doesn’t mean we won’t try.

 

Buying In The Gutters

First Teaser For The Kickstarter-Fuelled Superman Lives Documentary, About The Unmade Tim Burton Movie

I really wish Tim Burton‘s Superman Lives had happened. It sounds pretty idiosyncratic.

I don’t know if Jon Schnepp feels the same way but he certainly cares about the unmade film enough that he Kickstarted and is now producing a documentary about the film that never was.

Sadly, there’s no evidence in this first trailer that any of Nicolas Cage, Tim Burton, Jon Peters or Kevin Smith – the key players in the story – will be taking part. I’m pretty sure the best Shnepp will do is get one of those guys, though I hope I’m wrong.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Yeah. That’s maybe not the most encouraging trailer. Here’s hoping Shnepp will unveil some more meaningful content in subsequent promos.

First Teaser For The Kickstarter-Fuelled Superman Lives Documentary, About The Unmade Tim Burton Movie

An Image Comics Meta-Crisis in REALITY CHECK #1 Preview

Comic book characters come out of the story and into their creator's life in this exclusive preview of Reality Check #1.

An Image Comics Meta-Crisis in REALITY CHECK #1 Preview

Comic book characters come out of the story and into their creator's life in this exclusive preview of Reality Check #1.

An Image Comics Meta-Crisis in REALITY CHECK #1 Preview

Comic book characters come out of the story and into their creator's life in this exclusive preview of Reality Check #1.

Trailer, Clip And Chat About The Wrong Mans, New Hitchcock-Infused Comedy From The BBC

The Wrong Mans are James Corden and Matt Baynton, “well-meaning idiots who become entangled in a hideous world of crime, conspiracy and corruption.” The show was directed by Butter‘s Jim Field Smith and is, curiously enough, a Hulu-BBC co-production.

We got our first look at the show some months ago but the BBC have now released an official trailer, a UK version of the first-look clip of old and some chat from the Mans themselves.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’m on the pro side of the James Corden divide that Britain seems all too keen to build. I’ll be tuning in.

Trailer, Clip And Chat About The Wrong Mans, New Hitchcock-Infused Comedy From The BBC

Rick Schindler Talks About Fandemonium And Comic Icons

Wattle Publishing recently sent me a new novel by writer Rick Schindler. Its the story of a comic writer who had risen to the heights of popularity only to have it all come crashing down. But he keeps going and just when he might be able to regain some of his former glory, greedy corporate types do the worst thing possible… they kill his creation.

Fandemonium is an interesting trip through the fictionalized comic industry that feels a lot like the late 80s/early 90s while other parts are definitely more modern. Its not a true story, but if you know the industry well enough, some of the events will have a familiar feel to them.

I had a chance to sit down and ask author Schindler a few questions about his new novel, the inspiration behind it and about his thoughts on the industry today.

BLEEDING COOL: Fandemonium is a novel set in and about the comic industry with comic writer Ray Sirico trying to regain his former glory for himself and his character Skylord in spite of the changing industry and his new corporate masters. But Ray doesn’t come across as your typical heroic protagonist, if anything most of where his life has gone is by his own doing. How do you see Ray as he writes Skylord’s imminent demise and where do you see him growing as a character along his journey?

RICK SCHINDLER: Ray is not a hero; he’s an antihero. But he has heroic potential, which manifests in Skylord, the superhero he writes.

Ray doesn’t grow; that’s what makes him an antihero. Ray is a catalyst: He causes change, yet remains unchanged himself. But everyone around him does.

BC: In the novel the reason Skylord is on the chopping block is because no one believes he would ever be killed nor are they comfortable with the idea. Nebula has done focus groups to figure this out. Do you think it’s possible in today’s corporate run world for any character to reach such iconic status?

SCHINDLER: Yes, I think characters can still become iconic, but it takes time. In Fandemonium, Skylord has been around for more than 50 years; several generations have grown up with him, which is why the idea of him dying seems so shocking, much as the death of Superman stunt back in 1992 was startling enough to prompt an editorial in The New York Times.

In the novel Ray Sirico rants about how superheroes are modern-day mythology, and I think he’s right. The ones that most successfully embody primal human fantasies — that you could fly like a bird, or burst out of your clothes and smash your oppressors — persist, cross over to other media, pass from generation to generation.

Corporations manufacture idols every day; they come and go virtually overnight, especially now that they’re accelerated by social media. But icons take time. Twitter provides instant gratification, but for staying power, you still can’t beat oral tradition.

BC: Most comic fans would recognize some of the things in the book as being parodies of people or events in comic history. Henry Cole acts a lot like Stan Lee. Tad Carlyle and Fireburst feel similar to Todd McFarlane and the founding of Image Comics and Fandemonium shares a lot of similarities to the San Diego Comic Con. Plus of course, the Death of Superman. As a writer, what do you gain by using these types familiar connections and how crucial do you feel they are to the story for readers who aren’t as familiar with the comic world?

SCHINDLER: Fandemonium is a work of fiction; it says so right up front. It’s set around the comics industry and a comic-con, but if I’ve done my job right, the story is relatable whether you’re a hardcore fan or you don’t know Green Lantern from the Green Goblin.

Mind you, I’ve been to a number of cons, including San Diego. But when I was first writing the book I was going to half a dozen trade shows a year as the editor of a business magazine. The con in the novel owes as much to them as to San Diego.

The corporate shenanigans in Fandemonium could happen in any industry; I just happened to pick the comics biz. And I’ve had favorable reactions to the book from readers who know little about comics.

BC: Your background is as a journalist having worked for HBO, TV Guide, NBC News Digital and Today.com. What made you decide to do your first novel based in the comic book industry and not the news industry which could potentially connect with a larger audience? Where does your knowledge of the comic industry come from?

SCHINDLER: A larger audience? Wait, why didn’t I think of that? Oh well, too late now.

The simple answer is that I love comic books and always have. I taught myself to read from them, collected them for years, indexed them, amassed 12,000 of them. Along the way I collected lore about the industry and about comics history and culture along with the comics themselves.

Nowadays comics culture is going mainstream; superhero movies earn hundreds of millions of dollars, The Big Bang Theory gets high ratings, cosplay at cons makes the evening news. But at the core of it all is still a kid with his or her runny nose buried in a comic book.

And just like comic book heroes, Fandemonium’s main characters have dual identities, idealized alter egos. Tad Carlyle writes and draws a character called Laserblade who is flamboyant and bold, whereas Tad is closeted and insecure. There’s a volatile, oversexed actress who plays a serene, sensitive android; her name, Harmony Storm, conveys the duality. And Ray Sirico’s alter ego is Skylord, who is as selfless and heroic as Ray is selfish and antiheroic.

In Fandemonium the superheroic transformation — the gamma bomb explosion, the radioactive spider bite, the shedding of mundane outer clothing in a convenient storeroom or phone booth to reveal the spectacular champion hidden underneath — is a metaphor for growing up. All the characters need to transcend unevolved versions of themselves and transform into the superheroes of their own lives. All of them are in trouble of one kind or another, yet the only ones who can rescue them are themselves. But they can try to help each other, like Skylord’s superhero team, whose motto is: Where one might fail, many shall prevail.

And anyway, who wants to read a novel about the news industry? People despise journalists. Comics are much more fun.

BC: One of the unique things about Fandemonium is how your break the normal narrative with the insertion of various ‘documents’ to be read as exposition. Everything from television transcripts, corporate memos, newspaper reports and even pages from a comic script. Where did the inspiration for doing this mixed format come from?

SCHINDLER: The documents are kind of a tour of my career in media: newspapers, magazines, TV, press releases, corporate communications, the Internet. They’re a bit of a gimmick. I’m not above employing gimmicks, so long as they work.

6.   What is next for Rick Schindler? Are you planning more novels? Would you want to try scripting a comic book?

SCHINDLER: I’ve been planning the next one ever since you asked why I hadn’t written a novel about the news business.

And yes, I’d try scripting a comic book. As you know, there’s no Marvel or DC in Fandemonium; the comics publishers in it are completely made up, which means I had to make up all the characters they publish too. Just for fun, after I completed the novel, I decided to try coming up with origins and back stories for all those hundreds of characters, and as I did, many of them interconnected and formed a kind of secondary novel. You can check it out at rickschindlerbooks.com.

I just realized: my website is rickschindlerbooks.com, not rickschindlerbook.com. So I guess I’m going to have to write another book.

Rick Schindler Talks About Fandemonium And Comic Icons