Leave Your Spandex @t the Door 20.07.06: Indy News and Views

Welcome to the 76th instalment of the new Leave Your Spandex @t the Door!

From this week LYS@D has split into two weekly segments. Every Monday you can read the advance reviews of the week and the bonus features, while every Wednesday you can find previews of indy comics, press releases and links to indy news from around the internet!

IDW: Spike Asylum Preview Pages

IDW PUBLISHING GOES CRAZY WITH SPIKE
This September, The Lunatics Are Running The Asylum!

San Diego, CA (July 19, 2006)—An all-new, five-part Spike miniseries is set to breakout from IDW Publishing this September… and things are guaranteed to get crazy with Spike: Asylum. And, who is responsible for putting away Spike with hundreds of deranged and psychotic monsters and demons? Making their IDW debuts are screenwriter Brian Lynch (Big Helium Dog, Monkey Man) and Italian artist Franco Urru.

In Spike: Asylum, Spike is offered the opportunity to be a hero—as well as earning a hefty fee—by helping the Monahan Family find their missing daughter, Ruby. As luck would have it, Ruby is a half-demon and has been checked into the Mosaic Wellness Center, a rehab facility for vampires, demons, and other creatures of the night. Spike’s “simple” solution is to check himself in as a patient, but there’s a slight problem—the numerous super-powered, supernatural patients at the center happen to know Spike, and they want him dead. Can Spike survive the onslaught of mad monsters, much less the therapy?

“The fun of doing a comic series featuring Spike is that we have a far bigger budget than any TV show,” states Lynch. “Not in how much we’re getting paid, but everything and anything can happen. We can go as epic as we want to be and not worry about working within the restrictions of a weekly TV budget.”

Lynch, writer that he is, had more to say, too. “I’ve been a fan of the Joss Whedon’s work and characters since the very first season of BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER. BUFFY and ANGEL (and later FIREFLY and SERENITY) have inspired and influenced me as a writer. The chance to play in his universe is a dream come true.

“The fact that Franco and I get a full five issues to tell a solo Spike tale lets us really delve into the character in ways that (hopefully) haven’t been seen. Spike’s a complicated character; he’s been both a ruthless killer and a hero who’s saved the world a handful of times. And he’s still not sure which role suits him best.”

“I’m approaching the series as if it’s a full-on, big-budget SPIKE summer movie. Huge set pieces, fight scenes, and a supporting cast of hundreds demons, vampires, and other assorted monsters. But we don’t lose the character moments and serious smart-assery that Whedon fans have come to expect.”

IDW will be announcing two other projects based on Joss Whedon’s classic characters at next week’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, too.

Spike: Asylum #1 (Diamond Order Code JUL06 3217), the first full-color, 32-page issue of a five-issue miniseries, debuts in September 2006.

ABOUT FOX LICENSING & MERCHANDISING

A recognized industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Licensing and Merchandising licenses and markets properties worldwide on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Television and Fox Broadcasting Company, as well as third party lines. The division is aligned with Twentieth Century Fox Television, one of the top suppliers of primetime entertainment programming to the broadcast networks.

ABOUT IDW PUBLISHING

IDW PUBLISHING is a division of Idea and Design Works, LLC, a revolutionary creative service company with a wide range of clients. Among their best-selling titles are Hasbro’s THE TRANSFORMERS; Fox’s ANGEL, Konami’s METAL GEAR SOLID, and FALLEN ANGEL. IDW has films in development at Sony Pictures, Dimension Films, and Paramount Pictures.


Indy News & Views

The Amazing Screw-On Head interview with Bryan Fuller @Newsarama

Bryan Fuller is a television creator on par with J.J. Abrams and Chris Carter. Even though both of the series that he created, Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls, were critically acclaimed neither of them have broken through to a major mainstream audience. Here’s hoping that luck changes with Fuller tackling his first comic book to TV project, the half hour cartoon adaptation of Mike Mignola’s The Amazing Screw-On Head. Fuller has cast some high quality talent as the voices behind the heads. Paul Giamatti as Screw-On Head, David Hyde Pierce as Emperor Zombie and Patton Oswalt as Mr. Groin. Fuller has kept very close to the look of the comic even enlisting Guy Davis to design some of the show and Dave Stewart to help create the color palette.

Newsarama: What do you think of Sci Fi putting The Amazing Screw-On Head pilot online?

Bryan BF:: It’s very bizarre and it’s cool. It’s the first time they’re doing anything like this so it can be as unsettling as it is exciting because you’re the guinea pig. If the experiment goes good for the guinea pig then you’re a happy guinea pig. But if the experiment goes bad for the guinea pig then you don’t want to be the guinea pig.

NRAMA: How involved was Mike Mignola?

BF: He wasn’t really involved. When we first started working on the show, his whole edict was “make it look like the comic book.” Then after we had finished the show and given him the pilot he said, “Well, I started to watch it but it looked too much like my comic book so I didn’t want to watch it.” As far as I know he hasn’t even seen it yet.

Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Archaia Studio Press: Mouseguard #4 8 Preview pages

Archaia Studios Press (ASP) has provided Newsarama with an eight-page preview of August’s Mouse Guard #4 by David Petersen. Reprints of issues #1 and #2 will arrive in stores soon.
The solicitation for the issue reads:
“The Dark Ghost.”
After their violent visit to the hidden mouse city of Barkstone, Guards Kenzie and Saxon are held captive by a mouse long presumed dead. Could this stranger be the mastermind of a treacherous secret plot targeting the Guard’s home of Lockhaven? With Lieam hiding amongst the armored mice of the Axe, finding the whereabouts of an ancient weapon may be the only chance the trio has to prevent the army’s attack on their home.
Ages 10+ (contains Mild Violence)
Mouse Guard #4 (of 6) is written and illustrated by David Petersen, (Archaia Studios Press, $3.50, full color, 8″x 8″, Diamond order code: JUN06 2865, Page 230 of June’s Previews) and ships in August.
Visit http://www.aspcomics.com/ for more about ASP Comics.

Boom! Studios: Tag movie option interview with Giffen @ Newsarama

When Keith Giffen came up with the idea for the comic book Tag based on the phrase, “Tag! You’re It,” he had no idea it would be Universal Pictures saying it.

Universal has acquired the film rights to Tag, a three-issue miniseries from Boom! Studios that was created by Giffen and artist Kody Chamberlain. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Marc Platt will produce the adaptation of Tag along with Ross Richie and Andrew Cosby via Boom Entertainment Inc.

If you’re scratching your head because you’ve never heard of the comic – well it is new. Issue #1 of Tag hit comics shops in June with issue #2 just out. But already, film rights for the movie have been scooped up by a major studio. The same thing happened after one issue was published of another project from Boom! Studios: the comic book, Talent written by Chrisopher Golden and Tom Sniegoski with Paul Azaceta on art, which was reported to have five studios in a bidding war for rights.

Labeled as a horror/zombie comic, Tag doesn’t follow the more familiar premise for a zombie story. The comic is based on the idea that a curse is passed from one person to the next with the phrase, “Tag! You’re it!” In the first issue, the main character, Mitch, has just come from a fight with his girlfriend, Izumi, when a stranger walks up to him and tags him. Mitch ends up in the hospital, where doctors pronounce him dead, but he simply gets up and walks out despite the fact that he has no heartbeat and doesn’t need to breathe.

Newsarama tracked down Giffen for a conversation concerning the comic and asked him about the deal with Universal and what this means for the future of the story.

Newsarama: Let’s talk about the comic first. The title says it all: Tag. This really is a story about someone getting tagged, but it’s not exactly the fun game you remember from childhood.

Keith Giffen: Well you know, the idea comes from “Ring Around the Rosie.” It’s this innocent childish game that when you find the origins of it, it’s pretty horrible! “Ring Around the Rosie” was a rhyme about the black plague. “Pocket full of posies” is because they used to carry flowers in their pockets to cut down on the smell of the dead in the streets. “Ashes to ashes we all fall down” — ashes to ashes: we burn the bodies; we all fall down: people are dying all around us. It’s actually a black plague rhyme. It’s about death and decay.

Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Boom Studios: Warhammer 4000

Boom! Studios announced today the launch of a comic book series based on Games Workshop Group PLC’s tabletop war game Warhammer 40,000. The UK based company selected Boom! Studios to create a series exploring the rich Warhammer 40,000 universe that will satisfy their most ardent fans while still being accessible to those looking for an awesome Science Fiction story.

We are thrilled to be in business with one of the biggest powerhouses on the entertainment landscape worldwide,” BOOM! Studios publisher Ross Richie stated. “Games Workshop is a truly innovative business manufacturing, distributing, and retailing their own product and creating some of the most exciting Intellectual Property to work on. This is going to herald a great new era for BOOM!.”

The Warhammer 40,000 series will debut in San Diego with a special preview book for sale at the Boom! studios booth, with issue #1 set for release in the month of October.

Warhammer 40,000 is set in a dark, forbidding, future, ravaged by thousands of years of conflict. Across this gothic universe armies struggle for victory in a battle to the death. Foremost among Humanity’s defenders are the fearless Space Marines: genetically engineered super-warriors who are armed with the best weapons available. Supporting them are the vast armies of the Emperor, made up of legions of men and the tanks of the Imperial Guard. Against these loyal troops are ranged the alien armies of the Tau, savage Orks, enigmatic Eldar and unfathomable Tyranids. And always, lurking in the shadows, there is the unholy taint of Chaos: once-loyal Space Marines now turned traitor and in the service of the unspeakable Daemon Lords of Chaos.

Boom Studios 1st year interview with Ross Richie @ CBR

It’s been a little over a year since Ross Richie launched Boom! Studios, the only comic book publishing company (proudly) sporting an exclamation point in its title, and in that time Richie has watched, often times as amazed as anyone else (if not sometimes more so), as his fledging little upstart has…well, for the lack of any better analogy here, exploded onto the comic industry scene like few independent publishers before it.
In a relatively short period of time, Boom! and Richie have successfully managed to carve out a reliable reputation for working with some of the biggest name comic creators in the field – Keith Giffen, Mark Waid, Dave Johnson, J.M. DeMatteis – not to mention a number of Hollywood “Hot Shots” – “Transformers: The Movie” and “Rush Hour III” screenwriter John Rogers and Andrew Cosby, Creator of the original Sci-Fi Network’s TV series “Eureka” TV – to produce some of the most imaginative, entertaining, and at times just plain old fun to read comics currently to be found on the stands of your local shop.
So it should come as no surprise then that Wizard Magazine named Boom! Studios its “Best New Publisher” of 2005 – but what is surprising, however, is that Wizard announced the awards in its November issue of last year, and Boom! only began publishing at the end of June, which meant that the company had only been in business for about five months prior to Wizard’s award.
With a full year under its belt now, CBR News caught up with Richie to get the good, the bad, and the ugly on Boom!’s first year in the biz, and also to look ahead a little towards what’s on tap for Year Two.
CBR News: Talk about what you’ve learned in the past year about comic book publishing, Ross; anything that you know now that you wished you’d known when first starting out?
Ross Richie: Something that I didn’t know at the time was how uncommercial anthologies were. So what did I do with Boom! – launch with an anthology, “Zombie Tales!”
Good thing I didn’t know that, because it sold great.
Diamond called me up after “Cthulu Tales” and expressed amazement at how successful the anthologies that Boom! creates are.
I guess in retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t know. If I’d have known then what I know now, we’d have never done that. And it’s become a Boom! staple, and a big part of our line. Go figure!
The other aspect that I didn’t anticipate was having such a diverse line-up. “Hero Squared” is a skewed superhero piece, then there’s all the horror comics we’re publishing, the thriller vein we’re doing with “Talent,” the straight-up comedy of “What Were They Thinking.” It’s so all over the place. I was basically trying to publish what I liked, and thought there was a market for. As a result, I think the company has a broad presence in the market that’s unusual and distinct.
Read the rest of this interview at CBR

Boom! Studios: Black Plague interview with Joe Casey @ CBR

Joe Casey is sick and tired of writing superheroes! Bring on the super-villains!
Don’t worry “GΨDLAND” fans, Casey and Co-Creator Tom Scioli aren’t planning on bringing their critically acclaimed cosmic superhero epic from Image Comics to an end anytime soon; nor should fans of Casey’s recent spate of superhero work at Marvel — notably the “Fantastic Four: First Family” with penciler Chris Weston or his upcoming sequel to “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” — lose any sleep either.
Casey will still be writing both those series.
But, in addition to all those projects, July sees the debut of “The Black Plague,” a new super-villain one-shot penned by Casey, with art by Julia Bax, from Ross Richies’ Boom! Studios. The book ships to stores next week, but attendees of Comic-Con International in San Diego this week have their first chance to check out the book at the Boom! Studios booth. CBR News caught up for a quick chat with Casey in advance of the books release.
“‘The Black Plague’ is a full-on super-villain book, but with a twist,” Casey told CBR News about his latest project. “It really gives you an insight into that world of costumed criminals, underworld gangsters and hi-tech science terrorists. Actually, it started off as a pitch for a Marvel D-lister. Despite what I felt was a great take and a great story (not to mention a great artist lined up to draw it), the editor I was talking to didn’t have it in him to pull the trigger. But I never like to let a good story go to waste, so I simply adapted it into this new milieu. And, this way, I have ownership in the character, so it all worked out for the best.”

Read the rest of this interview at CBR

EC Classics

Once unjustly maligned as a cause of escalating teen delinquency during the ’50s, the EC Comics line — created by publisher William Gaines and a host of some of comics’ most legendary artists — is now considered by scholars, fans, and collectors alike as a milestone achievement in graphic storytelling, years ahead of its time. These comics entertained millions during their all-too-short runs and influenced some of our generation’s most talented writers, filmmakers, and artists. They have inspired cartoons, movies, TV series, and countless parodies and tributes, and now these classics of the 20th century are set to return, presented in a stunning new format for the 21st century!

EC Crypt and Gemstone Publishing are proud to present the first volume in The EC Archives, launching in October 2006 with Weird Science Volume One! Previous collected editions of the classic EC Comics line reproduced the stories in black-and-white which, although showcasing the beautiful line art rendered by such EC greats as Graham “Ghastly” Ingels and Wally Wood, did not preserve the wonderful coloring expertly applied by EC and Marvel Comics veteran, Marie Severin. The EC Archives editions will present these stories with all-new colors based on the originals, but utilizing new methods of shading and texture to enhance and improve each story’s impact. The reproduction of these volumes will be the best ever presented, as each of The EC Archives will be shot directly from the original EC art!

Weird Science Volume One kicks off the series in October with a 212-page hardcover volume collecting the first six issues of the legendary Sci-Fi comics series! Included are stories by Al Feldstein, William Gaines and more, with art by legendary illustrators Wally Wood, Harvey Kurtzman, Joe Orlando, Jack Kamen, Al Feldstein and others. Each volume will also include all of the original EC advertisements, editorial pieces, and even letters pages, to give readers a true idea what made EC one of the most influential comic book lines ever created.

“The EC Comics line was a classic in its day, “said Publisher Russ Cochran. “It is still popular with collectors and has been an influence on everyone from comic creators to filmmakers in Hollywood.”

One filmmaker in particular who holds the EC Comics line in high regard is legendary Star Wars creator, George Lucas, who provides a nostalgic foreword for this first volume. One can assume that comics such as Weird Science helped to expand the imagination of a young George Lucas, steering him towards an eventual journey to A Galaxy Far, Far Away”¦

And Lucas isn’t alone in his appreciation for the EC Comics line. His own friend and frequent collaborator, Steven Spielberg, provides the foreword for the second volume in the series, Shock SuspenStories Volume One, which will be released in November 2006. Thereafter, fans and collectors can expect additional volumes such as Tales from the Crypt Volume One in December 2006, Two-Fisted Tales Volume One in January 2007, and additional volumes to follow throughout 2007!

All volumes are priced at $49.95 and will be available at bookstores and comic book specialty stores.

Harris Comics Talent Search Contest

Harris Comics is pleased to announce the 2006 Harris Comics Talent Search contest. At Vampirella.com, the fans will decide who wins! Harris will announce the winner in its Vampirella 2006 Halloween Special and reward him or her with a paid gig penciling a Vampirella short story in 2007.

“We’re hoping to get submissions from artists of various backgrounds,” said Editorial Director Bon Alimagno, “whether long-time pros or newcomers hoping for a big break. We just want to find the best. We’re not looking for someone who can just draw beautiful women though. Honestly, those are a dime a dozen. We want someone who knows how to tell a good story, someone who can serve Vampirella’s storied artistic legacy and follow in the footsteps of Jose Gonzalez, Joe Jusko and Amanda Conner. I tell my writers Vampirella at her best can turn you on and scare you to death at the same time. We’re looking for artists who understand that and can translate that to the page.”

Starting immediately, the publisher will accept fully penciled submissions based off of a six-page excerpt from an unproduced script, found on Vampirella.com. All submissions must be received at Harris Comics offices no later than August 28, 2006. The editorial staff of Harris Comics will select the finalists and post them at Vampirella.com for public voting.

Editorial Director Bon Alimagno will be attending San Diego Comic-Con and will be conducting portfolio reviews at the Jay Company booth on Friday and Saturday afternoon. He will give portfolio review priority to anyone who has at least one fully penciled page from the script. He will not be accepting contest submissions at the show.

For complete details of the contest, please go to Vampirella.com. Good Luck!

IDW hires new editorial assistant

DW PUBLISHING HIRES NEW EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Justin Eisinger joins the IDW Crew

San Diego, CA (July 14, 2006)—IDW Publishing is pleased to announce the addition of the newest member to the IDW team. Justin Eisinger has come onboard as the new Editorial Assistant and Website Manager. Justin will serve as the Creative Service Liaison as well as assisting with editorial direction and production of printed materials. He will also be updating and creating website content for the IDW website (www.idwpublishing.com).

Justin Eisinger originally became involved with publishing through his involvement with Daily Bread Rollerblading Magazine as a contributing writer in 1999. His interest in the business led to writing news for a weekly in Greensboro, NC before moving to San Diego in 2003 to assume the responsibilities of Editor for Daily Bread.

“After meeting with Ted Adams and Chris Ryall, I could tell IDW was a company that truly respects creativity and individuality,” says Eisinger. “It’s evident just from glancing at the materials they publish. The work atmosphere is bristling with energy too, the kind you find when each person is dedicated to their craft and striving to reach the next level of excellence. Looking forward, I can only imagine great things.”

“It was two years ago this week that I got my baptism by fire by joining IDW the week of Comic-Con, and now it’s Justin’s turn,” said IDW’s Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall. “It’s great to have Justin on board to help run the Web site and help on editorial—he’s got varied, interesting work experience and some great ideas about how to help push us forward.”

Image Comics: Little Red Hot at the Eisners interview with Dawn Brown @ The Pulse

We catch up with Eisner Nominee for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, Dawn Brown to talk about her work in independent comics, on film sets and in television.

THE PULSE: Are you sick yet of getting asked about being a “woman in the industry” instead of just getting asked about other things? Do interviews seems to focus on that with you?

DAWN BROWN: No, I’m not sick of it. The question doesn’t really come up that often anymore. And I do get asked about other things. But something happened recently that I believe may be relevant here. I recently read a review of “Ravenous” on a website similar to this one, and the reviewer mentioned something to the point that he didn’t think a woman would write such a bloody story about murder and madness. This puzzled me the more I thought about it. After all, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein almost 200 years ago. We are equally capable of writing about all facets of humanity, regardless of the gender roles assigned by our
culture.

THE PULSE: I totally agree. Congratulations on your nomination for an Eisner. It’s a great honor. When you first got into the industry, did you imagine someday you’d be recognized for your works?

BROWN: Thanks! This nomination is sincerely appreciated. I am very grateful that my work has been recognized.

THE PULSE: For those who might not have read many of your works, but are curious now that they see you’re nominated for an Eisner for Talent Deserving Wider Recognition, tell us a little about your comics career so far.

BROWN: I’ve been writing and illustrating comics since 1999. My debut mini-series “Little Red Hot” won a Xeric Grant, and was picked up by Image Comics. A second Little Red Hot series followed in 2001, which led to a turn illustrating “Vampirella” for Harris Comics in 2002. My latest offering is a graphic novel called “Ravenous”, which was published by Speakeasy Comics. For a complete list of my work, please visit
http://www.dawnbrown.net/little_red_hot.htm

Read the rest of this interview at The Pulse

Image Comics: The Impaler Interview with Wiliam Hurts @ CBR

Angel, the vampire with a soul? You can go to hell. Again.
Spike, the vampire who got his soul back out of love? See above.
Coming this October, just in time for Halloween, Image Comics is putting the manliness back into being a bloodsucking remorseless, and well dressed creature of the night – or vampire for short – with with “Impaler.” The ongoing series is written by Willaim Harms (“Abel,” “Bad Mojo”), and penciled by Nick Postic, with Nick Marinkovich on inks & colors (yes, the same team from IDW’s “Underworld”). Those raised on “Buffy,” Angel” and other new vampire mythology may like your sweet, tender tortured soul vampires, but as Harms told CBR News, he’s not having any of that.
“Thematically, I’m tired of wussy vampires who whine about living forever or belong to secret cabals, or worry about being discovered or any of that stuff,” Harms told CBR News. “The vampires in ‘Impaler’ hearken back to ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘I Am Legend’ – they are monsters bent on destroying the world. They’re fueled by their insatiable appetite for human blood and nothing else. They are terrifying monsters.”
It’s not just about blood, gore, and machismo in “Impaler.” Harms is going for something a bit deeper, more resonant, and continues, “The other thing we’re doing is developing real characters, the kind that you’d see in a good horror novel. Just because people get killed doesn’t make a story ‘horro’ nor does it make it scary. What makes it scary is watching believable, sympathetic characters confront monsters. You fear for them, and that evokes an emotional response. That’s why it’s very important for us that Vic and other human survivors are fully fleshed out characters.”

Read the rest of this interview at CBR

Fantagraphics Solicitations for October @ the Pulse

Follow this link to read what is shipping from Fantagraphics in November

OniPress announces My Name is Earl comic and more

Comic-Con International 2006 will be the site of a number of exciting announcements from Oni Press. In addition to a full schedule of signings and portfolio reviews at their booth located at Booth 1934, the crew from Oni is gathering for a panel at 10:30 AM on Saturday, July 22 in Room 8 to preview and discuss new titles from Ray Fawkes & Cameron Stewart, Hunter Covington, Ande Parks, and many, many more.

“Man, I can’t put into words how jazzed I am about the next yea’s worth of Oni Press projects,” commented James Lucas Jones, editor-in-chief, about the announcements. “All of these new comics and graphic novels fit perfectly into an already rich and diverse Oni catalog, while simultaneously adding new flavors to the Oni smorgasbord. Our tried-and-true favorite creators are moving in compelling new directions with their work, and we are pleased to welcome some very talented new creators into the Oni fold as well.”

Titles announced will be released throughout the next year, and run the gamut covering a wealth of genres and formats and include both new creator-owned projects as well as new licensed comics.

This winter, Oni Press returns to licensed comics with a new series based on the smash NBC hit comedy MY NAME IS EARL! For those people who have been living under a rock for the last year, MY NAME IS EARL is the story of Earl Hickey (played by Jason Lee), a former petty criminal who wins the lottery and sets out to right the wrongs he’s committed in his life. With help from his friends and family, Earl works his way through the list he’s compiled of all his misdeeds, making amends and generating a ton of laughs along the way. Helping Earl along on his comedic quest for karmic redemption in the comics is EARL staffer Hunter Covington.

“When we first started talking to Fox about doing EARL comics, Hunter is one of the first names that came up,” Oni Publisher Joe Nozemack explained. “Hunter is the script coordinator for the show, a big comics fan, and the writer of one of my favorite EARL episodes, ‘The Bountyhunter.’ With a resume like that, I knew we had to get him involved in our new adventures of Earl and the gang.”

But Hunter isn’t alone in crossing things off Earl’s list. He’ll be joined by a bevy of comic creators in making the full color adventures of Earl to the comic page. Who? Well, you’ll have to come to the Oni Press panel to find out!

Ray Fawkes (MNEMOVORE, SPOOKSHOW) and Cameron Stewart (SEVEN SOLDIERS: THE GUARDIAN, THE OTHER SIDE) bring their cult-favorite series THE APOCALYPSTIX to Oni in 2007. THE APOCALYPSTIX are the all-girl rock band of tomorrow and their adventures have previously appeared in the Toronto Comic Art Festival’s FESTIVAL! anthology, as well as the digest jam book RUMBLE ROYALE.

“I’ve been trying to find a way to work with Cameron Stewart since about five seconds after I got hired on at Oni!” exclaimed Oni Press editor in chief James Lucas Jones. “But despite my efforts, the timing was never quite right. As soon as I heard that Cameron and the equally awesome Ray Fawkes were wanting to do more with the Mandy, Megumi, and Dot from the APOCALYPSTIX shorts, I set out to convince them to do it here at Oni.”

But the first APOCALYPSTIX graphic novel isn’t the only new book that has the boys at Oni Press excited. Also scheduled for release next year is BLOOD RED, a new graphic novel from Oni Press stalwart Ande Parks and artist Shawn Crystal.

“Earth colonizing Mars! A man with no stomach! Vengeance ! Oh, and Christian Fundamentalist terrorists!” exclaimed artist Shawn Crystal. “Ande has crafted a story that won’t let you go until it’s had its way with you and I’m bursting at the seams with excitement that I get to draw the sucker!”

“We love Ande to death here at W.H.O.O.P.s! (the World Headquarters Of Oni Press)” exclaimed Oni managing editor Randal C. Jarrell. “We’re excited to see him leaving Kansas for new locales and situations. And adding an insanely talented illustrator like Shawn Crystal to the project? That’s like winning the lottery two weeks in a row!”

The panel will also feature peeks at already announced projects from Brian Hurtt, Cullen Bunn, & Corey Lewis, as well as announcements and first looks at totally new projects from Jim Massy & Robbie Rodriguez, Vasilis Lolos, Marc Guggunheim, B. Clay Moore, James Stokoe, and others. Plus, fans attending the panel can count on some special giveaways and prizes as a thank you from Oni for their continued support.

“I’m sure there will be some surprises at this yea’s presentation,” concluded Jones. “We work with some of the most creative and spontaneous people I’ve ever met and they consistently find ways to delight and inspire me. We’re excited to have our panel at Comic-Con and give our fans a special opportunity to look behind the curtain at what we’re cooking up for next year and beyond.”

Snakes On A Plane interview with John Hefferman @ Newsarama

JP: Someday”¦.someday we may hear more. Let’s get over to your big story – what led to Snakes on a Plane being written? Was it an idea you had, then pitched or did you go out with the screenplay right out of the gate?

JH: Snakes On A Plane was an idea that began at one of the above-mentioned companies, Patchwork Productions. It started out as an idea that was part of a script that my then-boss had read a few years ago that didn’t sell. But I saw something in it, most notably the snakes, and the plane, and came up with a new story that did sell, first as a pitch to MTV Films and Paramount, then later in script form to its current home at New Line. Its eight-year progression is way too long to recount here, but for those who are interested I wrote a piece chronicling its development for Brian Finkelstein’s site, www.snakesonablog.com . It’s still up there for anyone who’d like to read it.

JP: Did you expect Snakes would ever enter into peoples heads the way it did?

JH: Never in my wildest dreams. And I really can’t take any credit for that. I mean, I wrote the script, and decided on the title – which thank God, they didn’t change, although they tried to, but all the buzz is really a product of the fans who have contributed to it. Everyone online who made a blog, or a song, or a video, or a mock trailer or poster or whatever; they’re the ones to thank for making the film into a phenomenon. Some of it is ironic, most of it genuine, but ultimately I think people see what I saw in the idea and responded to it.

Read the rest of this interview at Newsarama

Vertigo: Karen Berger promoted to SR VP – Executive Editor, Vertigo

Karen Berger has been promoted to Senior Vice President — Executive Editor, Vertigo, it was announced today by Paul Levitz, DC Comics President & Publisher. Berger will continue to report directly to Levitz.

In recent years, Vertigo has solidified its already prestigious reputation with the publication of a number of critically acclaimed original graphic novels, including the New York Times bestseller SANDMAN: ENDLESS NIGHTS by Neil Gaiman and some of the finest international artists, THE QUITTER by Harvey Pekar and Dean Haspiel and THE FOUNTAIN by Darren Aronofsky and Kent Williams. This fall, Vertigo will be publishing two much anticipated original graphic novels: PRIDE OF BAGHDAD by Brian K. Vaughan and Niko Henrichon and FABLES: 1,001 NIGHTS OF SNOWFALL by Bill Willingham and an array of stellar artists. If Vertigo was measured as a separate publisher, it would have been the fourth largest American comic book publisher in 2005, with market share exceeded only by Marvel, DC and Dark Horse.

In addition, Vertigo has entered a new phase of growth with the success of two major motion pictures based on its properties. In 2005, Warner Bros. Pictures released Constantine, directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz and Tilda Swinton . Based on the comic book Hellblazer, the film was the first to be based on a property from DC’s Vertigo imprint and has grossed more than $200 million worldwide since its release. Earlier this year, Warner Bros. Pictures released V for Vendetta, a theatrical release starring Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving and directed by James McTeigue. Produced by Joel Silver and the Wachowski Brothers from a script by the Wachowski Brothers, the film was adapted from the critically acclaimed graphic novel of the same name by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. Both projects are based on material originally acquired and edited by Berger.

Levitz commented, “Karen has built Vertigo into an imprint which is simultaneously one of comics’ leading creative and commercial successes, and an important resource for the creation of projects we can move from comics to entertain audiences in other media. She remains the field’s strongest editor and it’s my personal pleasure to recognize her achievements with this promotion.”

Karen Berger joined the DC editorial staff in 1979 and, within a few years, became known as an editor who sought to push mainstream comics into new territories. Her early series of note includes AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEMWORLD, WONDER WOMAN and the now legendary SWAMP THING. Wishing to push comics further, she created the Vertigo imprint in 1993, now seen as the definition of cutting edge comics in the industry. In addition to publishing groundbreaking series such as SANDMAN, PREACHER, TRANSMETROPOLITAN, Y THE LAST MAN and 100 BULLETS, she moved Vertigo into further recognition with a strong line of original graphic novels and best-selling collected editions.

“It’s great being part of such a progressive and forward thinking company for all these years,” said Berger. “I’m fortunate to have worked with some of the best writers and artists in the industry who have produced so many innovative and distinctive series and books, and I credit DC for giving us the creative autonomy necessary to do just that. It’s also been incredibly gratifying to see that the film industry and book publishers have finally discovered what we’ve known all along: that comics and graphic novels are part of a vast and diverse storytelling medium, capable of producing singular and memorable work. We really are just at the beginning of showing we’re a literary force to be reckoned with.”

DC Comics, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, is the largest English-language publisher of comics in the world and home to such iconic characters as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Sandman. These DC super heroes and others have starred in comic books, movies, television series (both animated and live-action) and cyberspace, thrilling audiences of all ages for generations. DC Comics’ Web site is located at www.dccomics.com

Red Star returns interview with Christian Gossett @ CBR

Six years ago, a comic book called “Red Star” quietly appeared on comic book stands, but soon made noise with universal acclaim and sell-outs at comic shops nation wide. Featuring ground breaking 3D computer imagery, the series quickly developed a following that surprised creator Christian Gossett and his team. It’s only fitting that such an innovative group would join forces with Weta Workshop (announced first on CBR News), the revolutionary effects house that brought “Lord Of The Rings” and “King Kong” to life. With Comic-Con International almost here, CBR News caught up with Gossett to learn about Team Red Star’s convention plans and to get a first look at the latest Red Star book, “The Red Star: Sword of Lies.”
“The new book, ‘Sword of Lies’ #1 just arrived yesterday, looking absolutely beautiful!” gushed Gossett when he spoke with CBR News Sunday. “We are looking forward to an amazing show, with a San Diego Comic-Con special foil edition of ‘Sword of Lies’ #1 (limited – only 500 copies made), that will be available exclusively at the con, and possibly on our website. We highly anticipate selling out the lot at the show. We are extremely lucky to once again be the guests of Gentle Giant this year at Comic-Con, the wizards responsible for the lovely mini-busts of Maya, Makita, and the long awaited Kyuzo bust. Thanks to the talented documentary film making team of Andrew and Jhennifer Webberley, we have some great visuals to jazz up our booth even more, and we will have the Playstation 2 video game demo available to play right in the booth.”

Read the rest of this interview at CBR

Tokyopop: My Dead Girlfriend

TOKYOPOP, the leader of the global manga revolution, is proud to announce the all-new spirited manga series, My Dead Girlfriend. Created by Ross Manning award winner Eric Wight — developer of numerous high-profile entertainment properties for The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Studios, Universal Studios, 20th Century Fox, and Cartoon Network among others — My Dead Girlfriend marks Wight’s first original series. As the ghost artist for principle character Seth Cohen’s graphic novel, Atomic County, Wight’s artwork can currently be seen on the hit Fox television series, The O.C.

According to Eric Wight, “After being showcased on The O.C., I received many offers from publishers anxious to capitalize on my success with the show. But TOKYOPOP was the first company to bring an offer to the table that proved my best interests were just as important to them as their own.” Wight continues, “TOKYOPOP’s enthusiasm and devotion to my work has been staggering. Their unwavering belief in my ability continually inspires me to push myself well beyond my creative limits.”

“My Dead Girlfriend is one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked on,” says Julie Taylor, Senior Editor, TOKYOPOP. “I’ve been a big fan of Eric’s work on The O.C.. The world he has created for My Dead Girlfriend is truly unique, quirky, and original, and getting the chance to work with him on his first-ever original project is a true honor. I believe that My Dead Girlfriend is destined to become a manga classic.”

My Dead Girlfriend invites readers to meet Finney Bleak. At any other school, his Johnny Depp good looks and aberzombie style would secure him a place among high school royalty. But within the halls of horror at Mephisto Prep, normal is the new weird, and Finney dangles from the lowest rung of the social evolutionary ladder.

Then along comes Jenny Wraith. Smart. Beautiful. But kind of dead. Jenny is the ethereal object of Finney’s affection, except that their corporal differences keep them apart. As if young romance wasn’t awkward enough, try getting frisky with a ghost.

How far will Finney go to be with his true love, when not even Death can stand in his way? Find out when My Dead Girlfriend comes to life in bookstores everywhere Valentine’s Day 2007.

Virgin Comics: John Woo and Garth Ennis on Seven Brothers

John Woo and Garth Ennis Create New Property for Virgin Comics

ACTION DIRECTOR AND SUPERSTAR WRITER

TEAM-UP WITH SEVEN BROTHERS

New York, NY, JULY 6, 2006 – Newly formed Virgin Comics is collaborating with Tiger Hill Entertainment, film-maker John Woo and partner Terence Chang’s creative shingle, along with best-selling comic book writer, Garth Ennis to create Seven Brothers. The comic book series is set to debut in mid-October, it was announced today by Sharad Devarajan, Virgin Comics’ chief executive.

John Woo created many top selling films in Hong Kong before moving to the United States where he has directed John Travolta and Nicholas Cage in Face/Off and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible II, both for Paramount.

Author Garth Ennis is one of the best selling English-language comic writers. His work includes ground-breaking action titles Punisher and Preacher for DC Comics.

Yoshitaka Amano will be painting original cover art for each of the Seven Brothers comics. Mr. Amano is best known for his work illustrating the best selling Vampire Hunter D graphic novel series and the Final Fantasy video games. Superstar artist Greg Horn will provide a variant cover for the premiere issue.

“For me, working in comics is quite comfortable – it’s like the ultimate storyboard. Garth has taken a seed of an idea I had about famous Chinese folklore to a whole new level that creates a modern, global story. The depth that Garth brings to his writing and the visuals that the Virgin comics team and artists like Amano contribute creates an art form with comics that is unique and yet, clearly a brother to the film medium,” said creator John Woo.

Added Woo’s long time producing partner Terence Chang: “We are excited to partner with Virgin for our debut in the world of comics. Garth Ennis is an enormously talented writer and we look forward to exploring this title with him in the comic book medium and beyond. We see creating SEVEN BROTHERS as a comic book first, which is in turn the perfect springboard to take this title into film and games.”

“As an avid comic book collector for many years, it’s a dream come true to participate in the development of comic book history. We anticipate a long relationship with the comic book world and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect first date,” says Lori Tilkin, VP of Tiger Hill.

Indeed echoed Virgin’s co-founder and Chief Creative Officer Gotham Chopra, “we’re especially excited to work with John and Terence and their team at Tiger Hill because they understand better than most the brave new world of leveraging creative ideas across multiple platforms. It’s an honor for us to debut our Director’s Cut line of comics with their leadership. Garth’s take on John’s idea is awesome and we are thrilled to bring it to the world.”

Virgin Comics Director’s Cut line aims to launch comic titles in collaboration with iconic film-makers. Woo’s Seven Brothers is the debut comic of the Director’s Cut line. Virgin Comics plans to announce several more partnerships in the coming months.

“All they had to say was ‘John Woo’ and I was sold instantly,” added Garth Ennis.

About Virgin Comics:

Virgin Comics LLC (www.VirginComics.com) was founded in November 2005 by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Enterprises Ltd. (www.virgin.com), alongside author Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and Gotham Entertainment Group LLC (www.GothamComics.com), South Asia’s leading publisher of comic magazines. The company has offices in New York City, Santa Monica and Bangalore, India.

About Tiger Hill Entertainment:

Tiger Hill is the sister company to Lion Rock Productions, Woo and Chang’s feature film and television company responsible for such films as BROKEN ARROW, FACE/OFF, THE REPLACMENT KILLERS, THE CORRUPTOR, THE BIG HIT, ANNA AND THE KING, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II, WINDTALKERS and PAYCHECK. Known for pushing new ground in action combined with intense drama when their collaboration began in Hong Kong, Chang and Woo are right at the forefront of the digital action arena and flexing their producing muscles in both animation and video games. Tiger Hill is run by Lori Tilkin whose slate includes the next-gen videogame release STRANGLEHOLD for Midway in 2007. Also set to debut next year is the company’s first anime EX MACHINA, the sequel to the 2005 feature anime APPLESEED by Shirow Masamune (GHOST IN THE SHELL) and directed by Shinji Aramaki (ROBOTECH). Feature animation projects are also in development for family entertainment alongside the edgier anime.

Virgin Comics and Comic Book Creator C

Virgin Comics, LLC and Planetwide Games, Inc. announced today the upcoming release of the Virgin Comics Comic Book Creatorâ„¢ Self-Publishing software and Virgin Comics Digital Content Packs. Virgin Comics and Planetwide Games signed a licensing deal to sell and distribute through the internet and retailers worldwide this revolutionary software through www.VirginComics.com and www.MyComicbookCreator.com.

“Sir Richard Branson is a brilliant innovator and we are delighted to bring this level of excitement to comic books” said Larry Lieberman, Chief Marketing Officer of Virgin Comics. “Through this new endeavor with Planetwide Games, comic fans have a chance to get personally involved with our stories and our characters.”

Virgin Comics Comic Book Creator – Self-Publishing Software is innovative interactive entertainment PC software that enables Virgin Comics fans to use their imaginations and actual Virgin Comics content to create personalized Comics and Comic Books. Virgin Comics fans will have the ability to post their personalized comics to a blog or social network, email to a friend or print in comic book form at home or the office.

“We are excited about offering the Virgin Comics fans in the US, UK, India and around the world the ability to create their own unique Virgin Comics” said Kevin Donovan, President of Planetwide Games. “Virgin Comics content and style are incredibly unique and will open creative minds to an important cultural Indian base of stories much like the recent phenomena of Anime and Manga. We believe in what Virgin Comics represents and through our interactive Virgin Comics Book Creator software we will empower the next generation of comic book fans with a new social and cultural understanding of India.”

Virgin Comics Comic Book Creator software enables fans of Virgin Comics and comic books the opportunity to create their own comic creations. The intuitive and easy-to-use software is designed for fans who aspire to create their very own Comics. Virgin Comics Comic Book Creator fuses illustrations, backgrounds, images, icons, logos, taglines, symbols, text, thought bubbles and balloons, and artwork into a vast selection of over 500 different layout and design templates.

For more information, please visit: www.VirginComics.com or www.PlanetwideGames.com

Zenescope entertainment: Se7en interview with Tommy Castillio

CBR:Hi, Tommy. So, who brought you on board as the artist for “Gluttony,” the first issue in the seven part series, and did you encounter any challenges depicting the sin?
The first person to bring the project to my attention was Raven Gregory. He told me he was writing the “Gluttony” story. We went off for an hour or so just talking about the movie. As for any challenges, the one thing I wanted was for the art to reflect the mood of the film, so I took some time finding the right look. In the end, I am very happy with the look and feel of the art.
Each issue of “Se7en” features a different creative team. When you were told you were going to be doing the art for “Gluttony,” what ran through your head?
I’m going to lose a lot of weight drawing this book. You draw a huge guy like that and all you do is look at what your eating and find yourself putting it down and reaching for a nice salad. I think I might go for a walk.
Which sin are you most looking forward to seeing illustrated and why?
Why gluttony, of course! And I can’t wait to see lust! And envy, sloth should be just nasty, greed would be a fun story to do. But I personally would like to draw the girl getting her nose cut off to spite her face. HEHE, I mean that would be horrible to draw and other stuff that’s bad. But, out of all of them, wrath is the one everyone should want to do. The head in the box!!! Here is a bit of a teaser”¦”¦.. I’m drawing wrath! Hehe”¦ Head in a Box!

Read the rest of this interview at CBR

Aaaaand that’s a wrap for this week! I’m waiting your comments and feedback through email to Manolis@gmail.com. If you self-publish your own comics or represent an indy comics company, add me to your press release list, and I will run your news in this space every week.

Manolis Vamvounis
a.k.a. Dr. Dooplove