Tuesday, March 29, 2011

29th Salon del Comic de Barcelona and other comic news

Wow, my 7th post this month. Which is kind of a record lately...although judging from the post in last years March is a busy month. And speaking about posts and records : next month this blog celebrates it´s 5th anniversary.


That´s right, 5 years ago on Tuesday, the 11th of April 2006 at 7:25 PM TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN started and I just hope I can do a post on the anniversary. But let´s get right to the topic of this post which is a bit of comic news since the last post was about comics, namely artist extraordinaire Pasquale Ferry. So we´re changing the subject but stay in Spain since the first piece of business is to announce that the 29th Salon del Comic de Barcelona will be taking place from the 14th of April to the 17th of April.

I already wanted to put the news on the blog last week but then I had to do the post for Pasqual Ferry´s 50th birthday. But better late than never - as they say here in Germany - and yes, it´s nothing new since I post the same information and the same links each year. The first link is for the main page where you can get info about the Salon del Comic de Barcelona past and present as well as about the Salon del Manga.

Here you can get the all important general information like a map, how to get there and the opening hours which this year are :

Thursday 14 of April : from 10:00 till 20:00 h.
Friday 15 of April : from 10:00 till 21:00 h.
Saturday 16 of April : from 10:00 till 21:00 h.
sunday 17 of April : from 10:00 till 20:00 h.


Tickets are 6 EUROS and as usual you get a free comic for your ticket at the FICOMIC booth.

Comic creators this year include Eddie Campbell, Kurt Busiek, Brent Anderson, Garth Ennis, Charles Adlard, Alfredo Castelli, Luisa Zancanella and from Germany Reinhard Kleist ( Johnny Cash - I see darkness ). You can get the full list ( which will probably be updated ) here

And - last but not least - there are the usual expositions which this year include one about zombies, cats in comics, comic artists Alfonso Zapico, Rubén Pellejero and the comic album EL ARTE DE VOLAR ( the art of flying ) which won all the big comic awards in 2010.

As usual I will not manage to attend ( even though there is no Comicsalon in Erlangen this year at the same time ) but I hope all visitors will have a good time. Now to the rest of the comics news :

WHAT CONDITION MY CONDITION WAS IN

At this year´s Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo a panel was held about the state of the comicsphere in 2011 which - among other things - came to the conclusion that the majority of growth came not from the big two publishers but from smaller companies and indie creators.


Which isn´t surprising if you keep in mind that Marvel - for instance - promised it´s readers at least one year without any major crossover´s after THE SIEGE. Only to instantly follow with FEAR ITSELF.

And speaking about the comic industry here´s an episode of ComicGeekSpeak with Brian Hibbs about the subject .

Another big topic at the panel were digital comics like in this article about the comic book industry in the midst of change . What I find a bit strange is how many people have the viewpoint that, like in evolution theory, digital comics will replace print comics. Scientists have found out that the Neanderthal man co - existed with the Chro Magnon and that one was not replaced by the other. Still people cling this idea that evolution means that there can be only one - like in HIGHLANDER.

Speaking of digital comics, like always Marvel is years behind in everything but now they have made a giant step by joining starbuck´s digital network , And speaking about Marvel, the NEW YORK TIMES takes a look at Marvel Comics in 2011 that also presents some of the company´s problems.

“ In order to read THOR, ” Mr. Johnston ( from BLEEDING COOL - but more about that later on ) said, “ you have to buy 10 mini - series for $4 an issue at 22 pages each. ” Anticipating a reader’s reaction, he added: “ You know what ? Let’s not. ”


A more worrisome problem, Mr. Johnston said, was a sense of “ ennui amongst Marvel readers, ” who have become tired of the publisher’s reliance on annual companywide mini - series, like HOUSE OF M and CIVIL WAR, to shake up the status quo in its narratives while its monthly comics advance these soap operas infinitesimally.

Mr. Spurgeon of THE COMICS REPORTER agreed that comics fans “ feel the strategy of it, ” and that “ it’s really easy for an exhaustion to set in. ”

Rest my case.

More news on the digital front : IDW Publishing announced its library of DOCTOR WHO comics will be available worldwide on the iPad, iPhone and other iOS devices effective immediately, with a launch on the Sony PSP within weeks. The current and recent ongoing series written by Tony Lee, as well as several miniseries and the CLASSICS line, will be included at launch in a DOCTOR WHO branded app.

And we´re staying with the independent companies. Here is an interview with FIRST SECOND´s Editorial Director Mark Siegel about the company´s releases for 2011 that includes the highly anticipated LEWIS & CLARK.


As somebody who has been in a lot of comicshops I know that a lot of them could improve and have more customers so whenever I find an example of a good idea like a comic shop that has added the Geek Easy coed lounge to attract more female customers and help the ones they already have meet. A good idea to start a community and more fun for customers than just going shopping.

And speaking about shopping, in light of the upcoming TINTIN movie here´s a well researched article about how tintin comics became a rich investment although I have to say that it fails to grasp the real value of comics, only seeing them as a way to get money. I might feel a bit sorry for people who only see comics as an investment - on the other side do you really feel sorry for fruit flies ?

And we come to comic books. It seems that the series SUPREME POWER is making a return , and I have to say I had to google for this research. The book was on my reading list when JMS was writing it but when it went from a MAX book to a regular Marvel book the overall quality just took a huge nosedive in the crapper, and there was some guest artist so I didn´t buy some issues.


It was announced to return with Mike Deodato as the new artist but that never came about. Then followed - at least to what the internet says - a new series written by Howard Chaykin and art by Marco Turini or Marco Brechetto or both but my old comicshop closed and I had to change all my subscriptions to the one I´m now with. Somehow SUPREME POWER got lost in the shuffle and ended up on my TO BUY LATER pile.

Nevertheless it´s back again with a new four issue MAX series so we´ll have to wait and see if it can restore it´s former glory.

And - as they say in Mexico - speaking about former glory I can´t believe I´ve actually writing about Spider - Man again. Being someone who prefers to write nothing at all instead of only writing negative things the last months have been Spider - Man - free for that very reason. Okay, it´s not like I haven´t expressed my disappointment in the Spiderfranchise after the ONE MORE DAY / BRAND NEW DAY fiasko.

As someone who´s read that title for about 35 years you ask yourself if it was really necessary as there have been very few stories so far that have really profited from the new status quo ( which could have been reached without so much collateral damage ). Of the new stories only NEW WAYS TO DIE stands out and that´s more because of John Romita Jr´s art than anything else.


Most stories have happened in the same way before with better writing and better art. And there are some artists on the Spider - Man books I really like : Marcos Martin for example.


He illustrated such classics like DOCTOR STRANGE - THE OATH as well as the almost brilliant BATGIRL : YEAR ONE that brought us LIL BATGIRL. Yes, the story in which Batgirl is shorter than Robin. But his art is always a treat.

So there is an upcoming story in AMAZING SPIDER - MAN 661 and 662 in which Spider - Man goes back to school as a substitute teacher at Avengers Academy . Since Peter has been a teacher before and knows best how it is to be a teenager with powers far beyond the keen of mortal men this could turn out rather interesting. And it may give me an excuse to check out AVENGERS ACADEMY, one of the few new Avenger - centric books I haven´t read so far.


The other comic involving Spider - Man worth mentioning - at least in my opinion - is Amazing Spider - Man 657 ( click for preview ) that deals with the demise of a certain member of the Fantastic Four and it´s aptly named TORCH SONG. The art on this story by Dan Slott is by Marcos Martin, Ty Templeton, Stefano Caselli and Nuno Plati. It only makes sense to have a special issue in the series since Peter always had a special relationship with our fallen hero.

Another preview for a special issue is Captain America 616 that celebrates his 70th anniversary with artists like Howard Chayking, Mike Deodato, Ed McGuiness, Travis Charest and Paul Grist.


Not that I´m complaining about getting new pages by Stefano Caselli or Ed McGuiness but could they please come back to monthly titles ? It seems like Ed McGuiness - at least that´s how is looks for us readers - isn´t interested in doing HULK unless it involves a composite Hulk / Red Hulk and a slugfest against Woodgod and Xemnu.

Speaking about Captain America there´s an episode about Captain America in the 00´s on ComicGeekSpeak .

But there are artists who are back to their titles like Arthur Adams who returns to ULTIMATE X - at least according to the preview of issue 4 .


The pages look astounding - as always - and let´s hope the new kid doesn´t prevent the comic to come out at a more regular pace in the future.

To finish this part here are previews for batman the dark knight 1 and issue 2 . Really inspired artwork by Dave Finch on this one and I wanted to make sure my readers didn´t miss it.

Another thing that´s not to be missed by any comic fan worth his salt is the new ROCKETEER ADVENTURES from IDW , a new anthology featuring the art of John Cassaday, Mike Allred, Michael Kaluta, Alex Ross, Darwyn Cooke and Bruce Timm. Among others.


The four issue miniseries features the most famous creation of Dave Stevens, who sadly passed away too early and a portion of the profits will be donated to hairy cell leukemia research.

And we´re staying on the subject of imporatant causes as Archie Double Digest 217 talks about drunk driving . Lately Archie comics have been in the news quite alot, first for finally marrying Archie to Betty AND Veronica in two alternate universes then for bringing the series into our modern world by introducing new characters like Kevin Keller, the first gay character on the book ( reported on this very blog ).

Now some people may call this a mad publicity stunt but only if you spell it MADD which is MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING who contacted the publisher to do a special issue for PowerTalk 21, an April 21 national event that seeks to have parents talking to their children about underage drinking.

Coming to the creator´s section of the news we start a bit morbid as Milestone creator Dwayne McDuffie has died . Man, February was not a good month since pop culture icon Tura Satana also died that very month. The reason why I´m only reporting this now is that - as usual - I´m way behind on my news. Dwayne McDuffie is probably best known for starting the Milestone imprint at DC and as editor on one of my favorite cartoon shows : JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED.

As someone who hasn´t read much of the MILESTONE books apart from a crossover with Superman ( I also was under the misconception that it was all about black characters ) I always associated his name with books like DAMAGE CONTROL, X - O MANOWAR and DEATHLOCK.


He also wrote a really underrated Fantastic four storyarc with art by Paul Pelletier which had the bad luck to preceed Mark Millar´s and Brian Hitch´s run on the title. Too many waited for the big thing and missed this little gem.


The funny thing is that a lot of these people were disappointed with Brian Hitch´s art because he was experimenting with a new art style to fulfill his monthly schedule. Whatever you do is wrong.

I liked both runs so I´m trying not to think too much about it. But I can only recommend the THE NEW FANTASTIC FOUR trade ( or the hardcover which I happen to own ) to all comic readers who missed it and to all fans of Dwayne McDuffie.


Here´s a link where some friends and colleagues remember Dwayne McDuffie and a post from fellow blogger Max Romero on GREAT CEASAR´S POST about the news .

But DC has to make negative press with the press release that the upcoming Dwayne McDuffie tribute is not a charity book for the McDuffie family . Yeah, who ever had that idea with a tribute book ? And I mean we have to be thankful that Dc even does something like that as I recall there were no special projects after Jim Aparo´s demise. I mean Jim Aparo drew half the Dc universe during the 70s and 80s and the least I expected was a special SHOWCASE PRESENTS JIM APARO line. Well, I still have the Jim Aparo special CLASSICOS DC to read.


Not really related but still on the subject matter here´s an episode of ComicGeekSpeak about the first appearances of Black Panther, Black Lightning and Bring the Thunder .

More bad news involving DC - although this time it´s the mother company WARNERS BROS - that received a posthumous appeal by Joanne Siegel to end the ridiculous fight for the rights to Superman which slowly border on the absurd. I know that as a company you try not to loose one of your cashcows but it´s not like they have done so much with the guy in the comics. And one thing is fighting for your rights and another being too stubborn to notice when you are besmirching a franchise by the way you behave. If Warner Bros keeps this up people will start to boycot Superman. Which - again - might go unnoticed the way sales on the title are.


Back to the living and a series that should never go unnoticed, here´s another interview with Courtney Crumrin´s Ted Naifeh about the second installment of Courtney Crumrin Tales. It´s a sequel to the first part and features once again young Aloysius Crumrin.

Terry Moore´s ECHO is another series I want to pimp, even if it´s ending soon. The book is his big opus version of a metal bikini story and here´s an interview in which he also talks about the possible future of comics.


More comic creator articles : the Comics College presents Frank Miller and it seems that there are still alot of people out there who haven´t understood THE DARK KNIGHT STRIKES AGAIN. I concur that ELEKTRA LIVES AGAIN is way underrated but RONIN is a bit overrated in my opinion, a lot of brilliant ideas but the execution fell a bit flat. Still, the article is an interesting read and might compell you to get the few comics on the checklist you´re still missing. Or pull out your favorites from your collection to re - read them one more time.

A few comic creators discuss their first favorite book and here´s a list of the 14 best comic book websites that strangely doesn´t include this very blog. So either TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN was number 15 or as a blog it didn´t fit into the " best websites " category. There´s no other explanation.

To close things out on a bit lighter note here are 13 comic book characters with convoluted origins and THE LINE IT IS DRAWN newset installment has superheroes in famous music videos .


Speaking about music videos, Today´s first clip is from the french movie OSS 117 : CAIRO, NEST OF SPIES ( german title : the spy who loved himself ) a incredibly funny James Bond spoof starring Jean Dujardin from LUCKY LUKE. There exists a sequel, OSS 117 - LOST IN RIO and a third part with french superspy Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath is on the horizon.



Besides Jean Dujardin OSS 117 - LOST IN RIO also stars the magnificent Reem Kherici who plays typical bondesque big breasted bad girl Carlotta


who turns out to be a Nazi spy. Isn´t that always the case ? Yes, she´s evil but, god, that is some heavy ordenance she is carrying around. With such big DD twin torpedoes I bet her german code name is " Busenwunder ".


Here are two clips with Reem Kherici´s best scenes from the movie.





Since I mentioned Doctor Who and I have too many Doctor Who related videos to pass up the chance here´s a documentary from the 30th anniversary that takes a look at all the Doctors - well, up until then ....



But I also want more comic related videos on the post and since I also mentioned J.M.S´ SUPREME POWER series here´s a review of the very first issue of the ORIGINAL miniseries SQUADRON SUPREME which for me has always been superior to WATCHMEN. Not to take anything away from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons´ miniseries ( not graphic novel ) but he had an entirely new universe to play with and he had practically carte blanche.


Mark Gruenwald on the other hand came into an already existing continuity and at the end he still had to keep the integrity intact. So if you have already read WATCHMEN - and at this point most people probably have - you might give the opus a chance which did it first.



And to close things out here is a video from the 1966 CAPTAIN AMERICA cartoon show. I have already posted various episodes but this are the first seven episodes which give you more than two hours of Cap nostalgia.



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