Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Conference preview: Who is the new comics customer?

EDITOR’S NOTES: This is a topic that fascinates me. Recently, I have sensed that the audience for comics is growing ( a great thing!) and changing (wait and see if it’s pro or con).  Whenever I pick up new information, I will share with our readers. Look for an upcoming article here about a Baltimore Comic Con panel related to this subject. I’ve just been unable to find the time to write it because of work obligations. You will see new content here weekly, but it could be  a little bit longer before the reviews and articles return.  Thanks for your patience and support of our  blogsite. 

From the official press release . . . . . . . . .

Top Executives, Experts Gather at ICv2 Conference On The New Comics Customer

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(September 23, 2014 - Madison, WI)  ICv2 has announced its initial speaker list for the ICv2 Conference: The New Comics Customer, a special industry event held in conjunction with New York Comic Con.  The list includes top executives from comic and graphic novel publishers, convention organizers, digital and physical comic retailers, and other experts, all coming together to discuss the dramatic changes in the comics and graphic novel audience that are transforming the business.

          "I've never seen anything like what's happening in the comics and graphic novel business right now," ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp said of the Conference focus.  "There are a whole range of factors that are driving these changes, and we've brought together some of the best minds in the business to explore what's happening."

          The new comic customers, often outside the teen and young adult male segments that dominated comics for years, are being drawn to comics and graphic novels in new ways, buying them in new formats, including digital, and choosing stories that even a few years ago would not have been able to find sufficient audiences but now are turning into big hits.

          The ICv2 Conference will bring together the data and the people that can help explain this phenomenon, the sources of growth, and the prospects for the future.  Speakers include Lance Fensterman, the SVP in charge of ReedPOP, which runs New York Comic Con and a host of other pop culture shows; David Steinberger, CEO of comiXology, the leading digital comics company; Ted Adams, CEO of IDW Publishing; Jon Goldwater, Co-CEO of Archie Comics, and a host of other executives and experts.
For the full list of sessions and speakers, click here.
The ICv2 Conference is open to all press accredited by New York Comic Con, but we need your RSVP.  Please click here to let us know you are coming.


About ICv2
ICv2 is the #1 industry source on the business of geek culture, including comics and graphic novels, manga and anime, movie/TV products, and hobby games, on its Website, www.ICv2.com, and in its magazine, Internal Correspondence.  For the people on the front lines of the geek culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn't something that can be left to chance--it's a basic necessity for being successful.  That's why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines.  ICv2 is where trend-watching is a science.

Conference Co-Sponsor: Eventbrite
Eventbrite provides a simple, streamlined ticketing platform to help organizers set up, promote, and sell out their events--from fan conventions and tournaments to local meetups, celebrity signings and press events.

Conference Sponsor: Publishers Weekly
Publishers Weekly is your number one insider's guide for all pre-publication comics and graphic novels.

Conference Sponsor: Heidi MacDonald's The Beat
The Beat, now in its ninth year, is dedicated to providing the timeliest and most pertinent news and information about comics, the people who make them, the readers who love them and the world that shapes them.


Conference Sponsor: New York Comic Con
New York Comic Con is the East Coast's biggest and most exciting popular culture convention.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

New pulp adventures featuring Lester Dent creation

information taken from the official press release . . . . . .

          The New Adventures of Foster Fade, The Crime Spectacularist

         From out of the past come new tales of one of Pulp’s gadget wielding gumshoes.  Pro
Se Productions
, in conjunction with Altus Press, presents a new volume in its PULP OBSCURA imprint featuring a character created by legendary Pulp Author Lester Dent, creator of Doc Savage.

Foster Fade

          The New Adventures of Foster Fade, The Crime Spectacularist is the return of Dent’s character, first appearing in Dell’s All Detective Magazine in 1934.  Fade is a private investigator who is employed by a major newspaper to investigate the strange and the bizarre with his assistant Dinamenta “Din” Stevens, a reporter who writes about his incredible exploits.

          Armed with extraordinary instruments of scientific wizardry, Fade and Din are back on their beat and plunging headlong into adventure.  Authors Adam Lance Garcia, H. David Blalock, Aubrey Stephens, Derrick Ferguson, and David White pen six new tales featuring mechanical marvels and maddening mystery in The New Adventures of Foster Fade,
The Crime Spectacularist.
From PULP OBSCURA and authorized by the Lester Dent Estate.

          The New Adventures of Foster Fade, The Crime Spectacularist is available in print at Amazon and  www.prose-press.com  and in digital format at Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Contribute to three charities and get huge Valiant bundle in return

Editor’s Note:  This is a great way to make a contribution (of your choice) and get a ton of digital copies of great Valiant books.  Donate $15 or more and also get access to the original Valiant masters  from the 1980’s.  A very worthwhile use of your charitable dollars, and a great bargain as well.

PRESENTING THE HUMBLE VALIANT BUNDLE – A MASSIVE DIGITAL COMICS COLLECTION BENEFITING DOCTORS WITHOUT BORDERS, THE HERO INITIATIVE AND CBLDF!
Pay what you want for Valiant’s ultimate digital comic collection of your favorite titles and characters, while supporting charities that make truly heroic differences around the world.

Humble Bundle and award-winning comic book publisher Valiant Entertainment are proud to present the Humble Valiant Bundle – the ultimate digital comics collection featuring more than 120 issues of some of the most critically acclaimed titles anywhere in comics today!
A special one-time offering loaded with collections of Valiant's best-selling series and online debuts, customers purchasing the Humble Valiant Bundle can choose to benefit three vitally important charities – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Hero Initiative, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF).
The Humble Valiant Bundle features a longbox-busting digital library of 24 graphic novels and collections, and spans all of Valiant's most popular superhero titles – including X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger, Bloodshot, Quantum and Woody, and more! With a total retail value of more than $420, the Humble Valiant Bundle is the single biggest comics offering ever presented by Humble Bundle.
Featuring work by an all-star cast of top talents – including writers Joshua Dysart (Swamp Thing), Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT), Bob Layton (Iron Man), Jim Shooter (Avengers), Fred Van Lente (Marvel Zombies), and Robert Venditti (Green Lantern), alongside artists Doug Braithwaite (Justice), Clayton Crain (Carnage), Cary Nord (Conan) and more – the Valiant Humble Bundle is the perfect place to discover why Valiant continues to win over fans and critics around the world with high quality storytelling and outstanding artwork.

VALIANT_HUMBLE-BUNDLE_logo
Fans can name their price to receive the first TWO volumes of X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Quantum and Woody, Harbinger and Unity. Plus: get the classic Shadowman video game as an extra-added bonus!
Contribute more than the average price to get even more of Valiant's blockbuster publishing line with the first two volumes of Bloodshot, Shadowman and Eternal Warrior – plus the first volume of Rai and Harbinger Wars!
For $15 or more, Valiant will open the vaults and unleash the entire Valiant Masters digital series, showcasing the legendary origins of one of the greatest universes in comics. Re-presenting the original adventures of Ninjak, Rai, Bloodshot, Shadowman, and H.A.R.D. Corps – plus a Humble Bundle-exclusive Valiant Masters volume of classic X-O Manowar not available in print – the Valiant Masters series celebrates Valiant's historic legacy, and include dozens of pages of rarely seen bonus materials and special features.
"The Humble Valiant Bundle is by far one of our proudest achievements," said Gavin Cuneo, Valiant’s CFO and Head of Strategic Development. "While this is a fantastic opportunity for readers to access the Valiant Universe, what makes this partnership so important is the support it provides to three incredible charities with crucial missions in comics and around the world. Each of the organizations – Doctors Without Borders, the Hero Initiative, and the CBLDF – serves an incredibly important cause, and finding a way to further their missions with the support of Valiant's fans around the world was just too good to pass up."
The Humble Valiant Bundle runs for two weeks beginning Wednesday, September 17, 2014 and ends Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 11 a.m. PDT.
About Humble Bundle
Humble Bundle organizes pay-what-you-want plus charity promotions for awesome digital content and puts the power directly in the hands of the consumers, offering them fully-featured titles at prices they set themselves. Consumers pay what they want and decide how to allocate their money between publishers, charity and a humble tip. Humble Bundle also offers the Humble Store, a digital storefront that features great games at great prices with a portion of sales going to select charities. Since the company's launch in 2010, Humble Bundle has helped empower its community to allocate more than $45 million toward charity to date. For more information, please visit https://www.humblebundle.com.

X_O TPB CreaseSafe_SpineAdjust_FINAL


About Valiant Entertainment
Valiant is a leading character-based entertainment company with a library of over 1,750 characters, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Shadowman, Eternal Warrior, and many more. Established in 1989, Valiant has sold over 80 million comic books, and today its characters continue to be forged in publishing, licensing, film, video games, and beyond. Since its summer 2012 relaunch, Valiant has returned to the fore as one of the most highly regarded publishers in comics, winning a 2012 Diamond Gem Award for Comic Book Publisher of the Year. Visit them online at ValiantUniverse.com.
About Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international, independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries.
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book artists and craftsmen in need. Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.
Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $700,000 to the comics veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today.
About the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF)
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization protecting the freedom to read comics! Our work protects readers, creators, librarians, retailers, publishers and educators who face the threat of censorship. We monitor legislation and challenge laws that would limit the First Amendment. We create resources that promote understanding of comics and the rights our community is guaranteed. Every day we publish news and information about censorship events as they happen. We are partners in the Kids' Right to Read Project & Banned Books Week. Our expert legal team is available at a moment's notice to respond to First Amendment emergencies. CBLDF is a lean organization that works hard to protect the rights that our community depends on. Please support our important work!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sometimes They Come Back


revivalfriendsREVIVAL Vol. 1
Writer: Tom Seely
Artist: Mike Norton
Image Comics | graphic novel | $12.99
Image is one of my favorite publishing companies. Along with Vertigo and Dynamite, Image is a great place to find creator owned, non-capes and tights stories that are consistently compelling. Revival is the latest breakout hit from the same company that brought us such fan favorites as FataleElephantmenInvincible and Saga.
You might know Tim Seely as the writer of Hack/Slash and as the penciler of the New ExilesMike Norton has illustrated extensively for DC and has his own webcomic, Battlepug.
Revival is the story of a small town in Wisconsin where the dead are returning to life but it’s not a Walking Dead wannabe. When the dead rise they are just as you remember them, a doting grandmother, a son taken too soon or a dearly missed spouse. In a town that is under government quarantine, decried by the clergy and under siege from grave robbers looking for the key to immortality, Officer Dana Cypress is trying to solve a murder that may have been committed by the of the Revived.
The writing in the book often jumps from the main narrative to short vignettes of people in the town dealing with the otherwordly implications of the dead returning to life. While I usually don’t like straying far from the main narrative, Seely does a good job at this. Sometimes he weaves some minor characters into the main tale and other times the small stories help to flesh out the town while having unexpected payoffs. The art in Revival is clean but detailed. The flat tones help impart the noir feel the book is going for but also works well for action scenes of which there are many.
The book succeeds at turning the zombie genre on its head and exploring its novel premise with asides while moving the main story forward in the first trade. I eagerly anticipate buying the second.
Final rating (out of 5): 5_Star

Guest Columnist = Current Trends: Are Super-Heroes finding the Young Adult market?

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: I agree with Matthew Phillion:  we definitely live in interesting times.  One of the things I most appreciate is the ease of networking compared to a decade ago.  This guest column is the result of that, and here’s how it occurred thanks to networking:  When I receive a press release that I believe would be of interest to BC Refugees readers, I follow up with a thank-you email to the publisher or marketing source.  I emailed PFP Publishing to thank them for the information about The Indestructibles and they in turn forwarded my email to Matthew Phillion, the author.  My preface to the blog article intrigued Matthew, and he wrote to me to ask if I was going to expand my thoughts and write about a connection between Young Adult (YA) novels and comics.  I wasn’t prepared to do that, but thought the idea was a good one.  So, I invited Matthew to write about it.  . . . And, here we are . . . . . .

Guest column by author MATTHEW PHILLION

As superhero or comic book fans, we live in interesting times.

The names and faces we’ve loved in sequential art for decades have become mainstream.  They’ve certainly taken over the box office (that terrifying list of superhero movies scheduled for the next three years borders on overkill) and you don’t hit that level of movie magic without reaching outside your core audience.

It feels only natural that the superhero novel should see a new popularity as well, and it has—Peter Clines, for example, with his wonderful zombies-fight-superheroes series beginning with Ex-Heroes is a household name, at least among fans of the genre, and he’s not alone.

And Young Adult novels have got the literary world in a stranglehold.  Vampires and teen romances, coming of age stories—the YA market is more popular and more influential than ever.  Stephen Colbert might call YA “books that people actually read,” but in defense of YA, it’s a fictional category—it’s only been around a few decades and acts more as a marketing technique and shelving suggestion than a hard and fast category (books like Catcher in the Rye, for example, would have fallen into YA if they were published now, which is a bit mind-boggling).

Indestructibles_cover_emailsize

With my own superhero novel, The Indestructibles, I have to admit it feels very strange marketing it as YA.  I don’t disagree—it’s about a team of rookie, teenaged superheroes fumbling their way toward heroism—but, well, it’s a book I would read myself as a guy in my mid-to-late thirties.  What is YA, and where do superheroes fit in to all of this?

I’m convinced most YA authors don’t set out to write YA.  I admit I wanted to keep my own book closer to all ages. As a prodigious user of curse words in my day to day life, I had a note over my desk saying DON’T SWEAR while I was writing as a reminder to keep it clean—this is not hyperbole.  However, my real goals were to write a story that would entertain myself and my fellow superhero comic book readers in a prose setting.  I wanted to try to write a love letter to comics, with all of the snappy patter and cinematic fight scenes from the superhero stories we grew up with, while hopefully creating something new and fun.

And in the end I thought, oh no, I think I wrote a YA book.

Given the market trends right now, it was a lucky accident, and one I think a lot of writers find themselves in.  Can this be categorized as YA?

And I think I got lucky with my content as well.  There is something inherently not childish but rather all ages about superhero stories, and our society and culture have finally realized that.  For a long time, adults were shamed for loving superhero stories.  They’re stories for kids, we were told.  Grow up.  But just because something is accessible to young readers (whether they are four-color Archie comics, Watchmen, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower) doesn’t make it exclusively so.  While we get more and more restrictive with the categories we put books into, I think readers—and let’s face it, the readers are the most important part of the equation here—have figured out that the most important thing is to read what brings you enjoyment.

I didn’t write a YA superhero novel myself because superheroes and YA were the hot sellers this year (though admittedly it didn’t hurt).  I wrote a superhero novel because in my mid-thirties I realized what I really wanted to do was write about superheroes.  I was a far stronger writer than artist.  (I deliberately kept my heroes’ costumes a little vague in the book to allow for reader imagination, but also because I probably couldn’t draw them accurately myself if I tried.)  And I inadvertently kept the content all-ages enough to fit into a YA mold.

Someone once told me that, similar to the rush of vampire and werewolf books by mainstream authors in recent years, they wanted to tell authors to go write superhero books to hop on the current trend.  My reaction wasn’t “No!  Not competition!”  My reaction was: “You can’t fake this.”

Kayt_Silvers_Matt_Portrait1_cropped

I spent the weekend at Boston Comic Con recently and was blown away by the sense of community, by the shared experience, by the knowledge that everyone there was on the same team, from readers and collectors to cosplayers and vendors.  While I was at my booth a young woman crossplaying at Spider Jerusalem walked by and I yelled out to her to compliment her choice, because Spider in all his vulgarity actually inspired me to become a journalist myself.  Because I knew who she was, and I knew the shared experience of loving that character.

That’s the real beauty of reading, whether it is comics, novels, superheroes, romances.  The wonder of shared imaginative storytelling.

You can’t fake the joy of loving comics.  You can’t fake an understanding of the culture of superheroes. It’s got to be in your veins.  And I think this is why we’re seeing a bumper crop of new superhero prose fiction—there’s a lot of love out there for this type of content, and it’s out in the open.  It’s a big old tribe and it is having its day in the sun.

We live in interesting times.  And I’m excited to be a part of it, as a writer, as a reader and as a fan.

ABOUT MATTHEW PHILLION:  

Matthew Phillion is a writer, actor, and film director based in Salem, Massachusetts.  The Indestructibles, a Young Adult superhero adventure story, is his first novel.

He has appeared in feature films including the sci-fi romance Harvest Moon and the independent horror flick Livestock.  His screenwriting and directing debut, the romantic comedy Certainly Never, premiered in 2013 at the Massachusetts Independent Film Festival where it was nominated for five awards including best screenplay and best New England film.  An active freelance writer, Phillion continues to write about both local issues and the medical industry as both a freelance journalist and newspaper editor.

Friday, August 22, 2014

PLB Comics debuts Halloween Special at Baltimore Comic Con

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you’re going to Baltimore Comic Con, please spend some time to check out and meet the many indie comics publishers who will be there. They need your support, and a Comic Con is a great way to get introduced, beginning with PLB Comics.

from the official press release . . . . . . .

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - August 21, 2014 - PLB Comics will be debuting their third annual Halloween Special at Baltimore Comic-Con 2014.  The special offers up tales of horror and suspense from such notable creators as Nikkol Jelenic (table A220), Cheltsey Vann, Brian Spicer, Ryan Thompson, Frank Dawson Jr., Josh Shockley, James Dufendach, and Isai Jose Leal Garza, with a cover by the incomparable Neil Vokes.

PLB is the Eastern Shore of Maryland's most prolific indie comics publisher, with 14 books in print and thousands of copies sold.  Their main titles, The Fall (a gritty vigilante title) and Gideon & Sebastian (a buddy cop, vampire slayer, action comedy with no sparkling) have been featured at BCC for over eight years.  PLB Comics is an independent group of artists and writers based on the Eastern Shore of Maryland with contributing artists and writers all over the world.  PLB Comics offers original concepts and fresh perspectives on the world of Sequential Art, while maintaining an appreciation of mainstream classics.

"Baltimore is a fantastic show.  It is by far our favorite big show.  BCC's continued support of indie publishers and focus on the medium makes it an extremely welcoming place for creators and attendees alike," said James Dufendach, Editor/Letterer at PLB Comics.

Be sure to stop by tables A218 - A219 to check out PLB's full line of titles and prints, and to pick up their 2014 Halloween Special. And as always, free high 5's are available for the asking!
Find out more about PLB:  www.plbcomics.com  or  facebook.com/plb.comics

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

New “young adult” novel debuts with super-heroes

EDITOR’S NOTE: I was contemplating the state of young adult novels just the other day, wondering if the recent interest in reading would drive some new customers to comics and whether anyone has written a young adult novel featuring super-heroes, when  I hear about this . . . . . .

. . . from the official press release . . . . . . .

The Indestructibles: an ‘indefatigably entertaining’ new superhero novel

A solar powered girl.  A ballerina vigilante.  A boy with an alien living inside his brain.  A werewolf with confidence issues.  A girl with a black hole for a heart. Five teenagers, each with their own unique abilities, are gathered by veteran hero Doc Silence to become their generation’s super-team.  But when they find out someone else is building their own monsters to change the world, will the Indestructibles be ready in time?  Or will their inexperience be their downfall?

Both a coming of age adventure and a love letter to comic book heroes, The Indestructibles, the first book by author Matthew Phillion, is the story of five reluctant super-powered teenagers as they set out to save the world while trying to figure out their own place in it.

“It’s an origin story,” says Phillion.  He had developed the characters individually for years before realizing they worked best as a unified team, playing off each others’ quirks, strengths, and weaknesses.  “They’re out to save the world, but at times their greatest challenges are their own insecurities and doubts.  It’s only after they learn about themselves that they can change the world.”

Superheronovels.com calls the book “indefatigably entertaining,” and writes: “At the beginning of the novel, the Indestructibles weren’t very indestructible.  During their first official mission, for example, they looked like a bunch of toddlers in a bouncy castle.  But over time, and through experience and good-fellowship, they figured out how to become superheroes.  ‘Every so often humanity gets lucky and a hero is born,’ says Doc Silence.  ‘And these heroes shine in the sun.’  Three cheers for Solar, Dancer, Fury, Straylight, and Entropy: the five brightest stars in the sky.”

While each of the heroes undergoes a transformative journey, The Indestructibles isn’t just about introspection – the characters must face down everything from a sentient hurricane to giant monsters, armed robots, out of control cyborgs, evil magicians, and even each other.

Sci-fi fans will find a lot of winks and nods to the decades of genre classics that helped inspire the story.

“It’s a self-aware book,” says Phillion.  “These characters grew up in a world with its own super-powered heroes, but also a sense of history and pop culture shared with our own.  It is almost impossible to tell a story like this without tipping your hat to the past, and the characters, without breaking the fourth wall, are able to let the readers in on the secret handshakes of this genre.”

Phillion wanted this story to avoid the sense that it was a “book for boys” or “book for girls” by focusing on challenges both universal and uniquely personal.

“Each of our heroes must combat the problems inherent with being a young person with their own fantastic challenges – setting barns on fire with your thoughts, sharing your brain with an alien – in a realistic, relatable way,” says Phillion.  “They each have a part to play in making the world a better place, but they have to learn how to get out of their own way to get there.”

Pop culture blogger Peter Chianca writes: “The Indestructibles is a so-called YA novel, although to quote Stephen Colbert, that usually just means it’s a regular novel that people actually read.  And this one is definitely well-suited to your average 12-year-old superhero fanatic.  But if you’re like some of us, you have an inner 12-year-old that you can access at a moment’s notice… and if that’s you, and you know who you are, you’ll probably get as much out of the Indestructibles as any [younger] superhero junkie.”

The Indestructibles is the first in an ongoing series. Book 2, the Indestructibles: Breakout, will arrive in print and e-book formats this October.

Phillion has worked as a journalist, writer, and editor for almost 20 years.  He is also the writer, director, and producer of the feature film “Certainly Never,” a romantic comedy about what he calls “the stupid things we do to try to find our own happiness.”  “Certainly Never” premiered at the 2013 Massachusetts Independent Film Festival.

Print copies of The Indestructibles are available from independent bookstores everywhere, Ingram, Baker & Taylor, and Books-A-Million (BAM) as well as from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Digital versions are available in Barnes & Noble NookBook, Amazon Kindle, Apple iBook and Kobo eBook formats.  For additional information, please contact theindestructiblesbook@gmail.com or visit www.theindestructiblesbook.com

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Preview for August 20, 2014: Valiant DELINQUENTS mixes hobo culture with treasure hunts and hilarity as popular duos team up

THE DELINQUENTS #1 of 4  (Valiant Entertainment, August 20, 2014 release date) Written by James Asmus.  Story by James Asmus and Fred Van Lente.  Art by Kano.  Letters by Dave Sharpe.

  Hidden amongst the very entertaining but serious (and often dark) action-adventure series published by  Valiant Entertainment  are two successful titles that manage to take a light-hearted approach to story-telling and mix in some humor and satire in clever ways that don't insult the intelligence of the reader.  If you are not reading  ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG  and  QUANTUM AND WOODY then you are missing out. Good news!  Valiant has teamed up both couples in a mini-series called THE DELINQUENTS that debuts tomorrow. It is truly the perfect jumping on point if you have been curious about either of these books and weren't sure where to start.

DELINQ_001_COVER_RIVERA

     THE DELINQUENTS  is a funny book in every sense of the term.  It may not make you bust out laughing (that could be embarrassing, depending on where you choose to read your comics) but it will bring a smile, a grin, and possibly a little suppressed chuckle.  If it's not the situation, the jokes, one-liners, double-entendres, or the style of art that tickles your funny-bone then the complete package will win you over. After two readings, I'm eager to see Issue #2 and where this goes.

For the uninitiated, here's a short overview of the two eggs that hatched  THE DELINQUENTS. In the words of a reviewer (who we respect) featured in  BLEEDING COOL MAGAZINE #11: Archer & Armstrong are two mythos-busters walking a very fine line on the sword's edge between order and chaos, hoping to keep the balance shifted properly”.  This same reviewer (a friend of ours) calls Quantum and Woody “an even odder and more dysfunctional couple as the world's worst super-hero team gets into and out of threatening situations purely by accident and come out smelling like . . . well, it's not roses."  In  THE DELINQUENTS both Archer & Armstrong and Quantum & Woody possess parts of a map drawn in code on a tattered pair of moldy, smelly boxers. The map, when put together and deciphered, will lead to the lost treasure of the Hobo King.  Whether the two teams will cooperate with each other remains to be seen.  Issue #1 seems to indicate that they will be adversaries. However, knowing the capabilities of each team, anything and everything is possible. The only certainty is that is will be funny.

DELINQ_001_VARIANT_LUPACCHINO

     Many years before Armstrong paired up with Archer, he spent a lot of time as a vagrant, running with the citizens of the hobo kingdom, hopping trains and seeing the continent with just a knapsack for baggage along with the obligatory hip flask.  While escaping from an shotgun-wielding irate farmer, the feeble hobo Rudy (Armstrong’s companion) was shot and died from complications. He entrusted Armstrong with his most valued possession - - the treasure map written in hobo code on some underwear. Not the most trustworthy individual to give such a valued item to, as soon as Armstrong becomes distracted during a nightly fireside hobo hoedown, some junkyard dogs rummage through his belongings and end up separating the map.  In a wonderful panel montage that illustrates what happens to one half of the map over several decades (battlefield gear, flea market item, overpriced art deco object, etc) we see that it finally ends up in the wrong hands. Recognizing the object as a treasure map, these new owners of dubious intent then hire Quantum and Woody to recover the missing half. The issue ends with Stinky Wally, who works at a hobo museum/village, tipping off Armstrong  about the half he no longer possesses.

DELINQ_001_VARIANT_VALIANTCRAFT

    Among the highlights of Issue #1 is the discovery of hobo hieroglyphics, the crudely scrawled symbols that serve as code/messages to fellow hoboes. Many of these symbols are detailed throughout the story; and the symbols that represent Quantum and Woody are hilarious.  THE DELINQUENTS makes fun through satiric commentary of modern farming, dominated by giant chemical conglomerates who utilize gene splicing and synthetic proteins to develop their tainted agricultural goods -  and smothering the smaller organic farmers. There are several jabs taken at “hippies” and the 21st century vestiges of same - - exotic religions, mysticism, holistic medicine, Zen and gurus.  There are several Easter eggs planted throughout the art, as well as asides to current popular culture including an implied shout out to X-O Manowar, another popular Valiant character.    

    Just as amusing and entertaining as the story, the art by Kano is worthy of repeat inspections. Kano utilizes some very expressive faces and puts a lot of detail into some very tiny panels. Because the story features much exposition and dialogue, there are many multi-paneled pages as well as the use of smaller, wider, panoramic views. Once in awhile Kano is allowed to move the story along in caption-less, word-balloon free panels and he pulls it off in great fashion. Apparently he also inked and colored his work and it really shines.  These are great visuals. 

  There is a lot to appreciate in this book.  Make sure you don’t miss it.

DELINQ_001_002                   DELINQ_001_003

Hobby Game Market Wins As It Reaches $700 Million !


EDITOR'S NOTE: Great to see that geek culture is making a significant contribution to the economic recovery. Read more
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From the official press release . . .



(August 18, 2014-Madison, WI) Pop culture experts ICv2 released today the results of their study on the hobby game market and it shows that the North American market totaled $700 million at retail for 2013. Breaking down the estimate for the total industry by category shows that collectible games was the largest at $450 million; miniatures second at $125 million; boardgames were third at $75 million; card and dice games fourth at $35 million; with RPGs coming in last at $15 million. “Hobby games” are defined as those games produced for “gamers” and are most often sold in the hobby channel or game and card specialty stores, but these items are not limited to sales in that market.



ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp commented, “A $700 million market is a significant geek culture market segment. With the growth it’s been experiencing, a billion dollar market is within reach in the next few years, and hopefully this kind of industry analysis will help us get there. I cannot thank enough the industry insiders who helped us compile these estimates. Without their willingness to speak frankly with us about their own estimates of market size and the reasoning behind them, we would have been unable to complete this project.”

The hobby game industry remained strong in the Spring season of 2014, according to information compiled by ICv2. In collectible games, WizKids' Dice Masters was the red hot and hard-to-find item due to high demand. Magic: The Gathering led the pack, but not as strongly as previous seasons. Boardgames continued to grow with support from hard core gamers and an influx of mainstream gamers coming over from other markets. The heat in the miniatures category came from Star Wars X-Wing and Star Trek Attack Wing, with any extra space filled by anticipation of the new edition of Warhammer 40K. The big news in the Card and Dice Game category was high interest and quick sell-out of both Boss Monster and Adventure Time Card Wars. The largest change overall in the RPG category was the failure of Dungeons and Dragons to hit the Top 5 list for Spring, before the release of the new edition. This change is a first in ICv2's decade long history of sales reporting on the hobby game industry.

About ICV2.Com:
For the people on the front lines of the pop culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn’t something that can be left to chance—it’s a basic necessity for being successful. That’s why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines. ICv2 is where trend-watching has become a science



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