Monthly Archives: January 2007

More on Free Comic Book Day

Also on Free Comic Book Day (May 5, 2007), I’ll be posting a complete recent issue of each of our magazines to our web site, in PDF format. So if you’ve never tried, say, Rough Stuff magazine, you’ll be able to download it and read a whole issue, free of charge. I hope this’ll encourage everyone (with a high-speed Internet connection; these’ll likely be fairly large files) to take a look at all our magazine offerings and see if they’re something you’d like to get regularly. If so, when you’re in your local comics shop, picking up your free copy of COMICS 101 (see previous post), you can ask your retailer to start ordering it regularly. Of you can just subscribe from us. Either way, it’s all good.

Comics 101

Our webmeister supreme, Rand Hoppe, just added our Free Comic Book Day contribution for this year to our webstore. It’s called COMICS 101, and it’s a primer on comics creation and history by our erstwhile TwoMorrows magazine editors. Below is the official description, and the cover art (by Bret Blevins and Mike Manley). All our editors have knocked themselves out to make this a fabulous book, so go to your local comics shop on May 5 and demand a copy (or better yet, go before that, and tell your retailer you’ll want one, so they’ll be sure to order plenty). Depending on the number of copies retailers order, we may (or may not) print some extras for handing out at conventions and sending by mail (for a nominal postage charge). I’m working on the layout now, and it’s something that I would sure want a copy of!
comics101.jpg

For FREE COMIC BOOK DAY (Saturday, 5 May 2007), TwoMorrows Publishing proudly presents COMICS 101: How-To & History Lessons From The Pros! As the industry authority on comics history and creation, TwoMorrows has tapped the combined knowledge of its editors to assemble an all-new, all-ages 32-page comics primer, created just for this giveaway! You’ll learn: “Figure Drawing” and “How To Break Down A Story” from DRAW! magazine’s MIKE MANLEY and BRET BLEVINS (both key artists for DC and Marvel Comics)! “Writing Tips” from WRITE NOW! magazine’s DANNY FINGEROTH (who’s also a Marvel Comics writer)! Plus ROUGH STUFF magazine editor (and veteran comics inker) BOB McLEOD provides “Art Critiques” of promising newcomers (see how your work compares)! There’s even a “Comics History Crash-Course”, assembled by ALTER EGO magazine editor ROY THOMAS (former Marvel Comics editor-in-chief and top writer) and MICHAEL EURY, editor of BACK ISSUE magazine (and former DC and Dark Horse Comics editor). These top professionals will cover the basics of comics art and appreciation, making it a must-have item for fans old and new! But you can’t buy it; it’s only available FREE from your local retailer on Saturday, 5 May 2007! Don’t miss it! 

Dave Sim

We mail out a lot of free books to professionals. Always have, always will. Pros are the lifeblood of TwoMorrows, and I figure, they help us out so much with interviews and cover art, the least we can do is send them a bunch of books and let their productivity grind to a halt when they arrive. (So yeah, when your favorite comic ships late, chances are it’s our fault.) And we know they’re appreciated, just based on who goes out of their way to stop by our booth at conventions (sometimes, it seems like there are more pros milling around our booth than are in artists’ alley). But it’s especially nice to see a guy whose work we really respect, going on about our stuff. Such is the case with Cerebus creator Dave Sim, who posted this link:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cerebus/message/107319

Check it out, and thanks, Dave!

Von Sholly Cartoon of the week

Speaking of Pete Von Sholly, he’s got such a stockpile of ridiculous cartoons (that he keeps stuffing my email box with), that I’ve decided to run one a week here. This is a particular favorite; if you like what you see, check out his TwoMorrows book Comic Book Nerd, or either of his two Crazy Hip Groovy Go-Go Way Out Monsters parodies of old monster mags. Plus he’s done lots of stuff for Dark Horse Comics, like his Morbid books, but we don’t get a cut of those, so why mention ’em?

Enjoy, and have a nice weekend!

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Joker TM & ©2007 DC Comics.

Age of Heroes

If you follow our stuff, you undoubtedly know the name George Khoury. George has been writing some of our most popular books for several years, dating back to Kimota, The Miracleman Companion, The Extraordinary Works of Alan Moore, G-Force: Animated, and our upcoming book on the history of Image Comics. George’s pet project (with collaborator Jason Hofius) is called Age Of Heroes, and it features interviews with nearly every actor who’s played a super-hero on television, from Adam West to Lynda Carter. The book’s just about completely written, the interviews are all done, and just yesterday, we got in Alex Ross’ pencil prelim for what’ll be the painted cover of this upcoming color hardcover. (As you can see, it’s a beaut! And what a guy Alex is, to take time from his incredibly busy schedule, to do a custom piece for us, knowing we can’t come close to paying his usual rate for a painting.)
The next hurdle is getting the final clearances wrapped up, but if all goes well, this one’ll be out sometime between Fall 2007 and Spring 2008. Stay tuned!

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All characters TM & ©2007 DC Comics.

Our friends(?) at Wizard

The pigs must be flying; check out page 20 of the new issue of Wizard (#185). In the “Heat Index” column, they actually plug one of our publications, saying:

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COMIC BOOK NERD (TwoMorrows)
Creator Pete Von Sholly shoves this parody collection up every comic book-centric magazine’s butt (including Wizard) as he tears apart their concepts, designs and content with gut-busting precision satire.

I don’t mean to look a gift horse in the mouth, but other than our experimental PRIME8 comic of about ten years ago, this is the first time Wizard has ever given TwoMorrows any ink. Maybe all the jabs in CBN about how they only cover DC and Marvel did some good! I hope this is a sign they’re changing their editorial policy; the aforementioned George Khoury talked to a couple of the Wizard guys at a convention last year, and when he asked why they never cover our stuff, they said it was because we were their competition. (As flattering as that is, it’s laughable; our mags’ circulation is probably 1/10 of theirs at most, since ours are all geared toward more niche audiences.) In any case, it’ll be interesting to see if it results in any reorders of CBN.

(It’s funny; just yesterday, I took a call from a potential customer, who asked “Do you still have that book, The Urinal?” Anyone who’s read CBN knows he was talking about the Comics Journal spoof section, which was titled “The Comics Urinal”. When Pete pitched the CBN concept to me, that title really sold me on it; guess I was right that it’d stick in people’s minds.)

But while Wizard hasn’t covered our books in the past, they sure haven’t hesitated to excerpt our stuff in their mag without crediting it. A good example: in the same new issue, there’s a feature on Miracleman, using copious amounts of quotes and facts straight from interviews in our Kimota! The Miracleman Companion book. At least they mentioned the name of the Kimota! book this time within the article (but not TwoMorrows, or George Khoury, the author, and not as a major source of info for the piece). Oh well, one step at a time. Thanks for the coverage, Wizard; keep it up!

Fantastic Four Lost and found

I don’t know how Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort does it; constantly juggling projects like that guy on the old Tonight Show that used to spin dinner plates on poles while riding a unicycle. You’d think with all the current projects he’s involved in, the last thing he’d be worried about is an unused Kirby Fantastic Four story. But he’s toiling away to make it a really awesome tribute to Lee and Kirby. If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about, it’s tentatively called Fantastic Four: Lost, and is scheduled for release this summer. Jack Kirby’s original story for FF #102 was rejected by Stan Lee at the pencil stage, then shelved, and chopped up later as part of FF #108 (released after Jack had jumped ship to DC Comics to do the New Gods).

I tracked down most of the unused pencil art that was discarded in 1970, and reassembled it in Jack Kirby Collector #9 back in 1996. Since then, I’ve found copies of the pencils from the published art in FF #108, so we’ve got virtually all of Jack’s pencils from that story. Enter Tom, who got the inspired idea to have Stan finally dialogue Jack’s pencils, and Joe Sinnott ink them (I’ve seen the new inks, and man, Joe hasn’t skipped a beat in the 37 years since he was inking Jack on the FF). Tom’s also getting a current Marvel writer and inker to do their interpretations, and both finished versions (plus Kirby’s uninked original, and a short article about it by your’s truly) will appear in the one-shot special. (And the Kirby family is getting a nice page rate for the use of the art, probably the highest of Jack’s career.)

FF Marvelmania

But what do you use for a cover? Tom and I both felt that the perfect thing was the FF Marvelmania poster art that Kirby drew back in the late 1960s, but we didn’t have a really good repro of it. Then I recalled a really nice 1990s serigraph reproduction of the poster that was done in France, and with the help of my French pal Jean Depelley, we were able to get a great repro of it from Editions Déesse publisher Fred Manzano, so it’s in the can! (The serigraph was shot from Jack’s original art, and Mike Zeck did the colors for the French version, so that’s what’s being used for the FF: Lost cover.)

Support this book, folks. It’s the last time we’ll see Jack and Stan together on anything “new” (especially on a FF story), and while it’s not the best FF story of their run, it’s not the worst either (and there are flashes of brilliance there). I, for one, can’t wait to see the final product.

Fantastic Four TM & ©2007 Marvel Characters, Inc.

Magazine Management

AE66

No, that’s not the title of a business course I’m taking at night school; it’s the name of Marvel Comics’ founder Martin Goodman’s publishing company in the 1960s. In addition to Marvel Comics (and Atlas and Timely before that), he published a much larger line of men’s magazines (aptly nicknamed “men’s sweat mags”) that were the bulk of his success before the Marvel Universe took the world by storm. Roy Thomas is running the most exhaustive account of that side of Goodman’s business I’ve ever seen, in the upcoming ALTER EGO #66, out at the beginning of March. It’s written by David George, who was an editor for Goodman, and doesn’t mind telling it like it was. I just finished reading David’s recollections of his time working for Martin, and it’s phenomenal! If you’re a fan of 1960s Marvel Comics, you’ll be fascinated by his account of Goodman himself, and of how his other publishing enterprises intermingled with what Stan Lee was doing over at Marvel. This is just another example of the wonderful history that nobody but Roy is documenting, and I am really proud to be publishing it.

Yes, still more on conventions

Okay, as long as we’re plugging what conventions we’ll be attending, here’s the full list for 2007 (subject to change, but this is pretty firm):

NEW YORK COMICON
(New York City, February 23-25, 2007)

WONDERCON
(San Francisco, CA, March 2-4, 2007)

MOTOR CITY COMICON
(Novi, MI, May 18-20, 2007)

HEROES CON
(Charlotte, NC, June 15-17, 2007)

COMICON INTERNATIONAL
(San Diego, CA, July 25-29, 2007)

WIZARDWORLD: CHICAGO
(Chicago, IL, August 9-12, 2007)

BALTIMORE COMICON
(Baltimore, MD, September 2007)

SPX (Small Press Expo)
(Besthesda, MD, October 12-13, 2007)

That’s one in every month from February-October (with the exception of April); we’re doing our best to bring the TwoMorrows goodness to every corner of the country!

Speaking of conventions…

With the NY Comic-Con getting all the press lately, WonderCon might be getting a little overshadowed this year. But it’s taking place (unfortunately) the week after NY, from March 2-4, and TwoMorrows will have a booth there again this year. The fine folks who put on Comicon International: San Diego also host WonderCon in San Francisco, and it’s becoming another of the can’t-miss cons of the year. We’re sending our overworked production guy Christopher Irving out to San Fran to handle the booth for us, so stop by if you’re a West Coaster and’ll be at the show.