Koyama Press debuts on comiXology

‘Blobby Boys,’ ‘Drinking at the Movies,’ ‘Fata Morgana’ and more now available via the digital comics service.

Just in time for the annual Small Press Expo, 12 titles from Koyama Press debuted on comiXology this weekend, including material from Chris Eliopoulos, Julia Wertz, Britt Wilson and Jon Vermilyea.

Continue reading “Koyama Press debuts on comiXology”

Europe Comics and Cinebook debut on comiXology

comiXology debuts 15 new titles today, with many more coming soon, including ‘XIII,’ ‘The Survivors,’ ‘Thorgal’ and ‘Lucky Luke.’

comiXology debuted 15 new titles from Europe Comics and Cinebook today, including English versions of “XIII Vol. 17,” “Largo Winch Vol. 15,” “Lucky Luke Vol. 15” and other popular European comics. In addition, they announced more French comics will be available in the coming months.

“French comics have been making major inroads with U.S fans for the last few years at a rate never seen before. With both Europe Comics and Cinebooks, it’s wonderful to see the catalog of amazing English language BD grow at such a phenomenal pace,” said comiXology’s Chip Mosher. “Thanks to this deal, the ‘French Invasion’ of the comics on comiXology continues.”

Selections available today include:

  • 1066 Vol 1 by Patrick Weber
  • Antares Episodes 16 by Leo
  • Blake & Mortimer Vol 13 by various
  • Blast 1 by Mamu Larcenet
  • Crusade Vol 14 by Jean Dufaux and Phillippe Xavier
  • Harmony 1 by Mathieu Reynès
  • The Keeper by Yves Sente and François Boucq
  • Lady S Vol 15 by Philippe Aymond and Jean Van Hamme
  • Largo Winch Vol 15 by Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme
  • Lucky Luke Vol 15 by Morris, René Goscinny and various
  • Raptors by Jean Dufaux and Enrico Marini
  • Thorgal Vol 1-3 by Grzegorz Rosinski and Jean Van Hamme
  • Valerian Vol 110 by Jean-Claude Mézières and Pierre Christin
  • Water Memory by Mathieu Reynès and Valérie Vernay
  • XIII Vol 17 by Youri Jigounov, Yves Sente, Jean Van Hamme, William Vance, Jean Giraud and more

While those that are coming soon include:

  • Aldebaran by Leo
  • Alone by Bruno Gazzotti and Fabien Vehlmann
  • Alpha by Youri Jigounov and Mythic
  • Barracuda by Jérémy and Jean Dufaux
  • Berlin by Marvano and Mark Van Oppen
  • Betelgeuse by Leo
  • Billy & Buddy by Jean Roba
  • The Bluecoats by Raoul Cauvin and Willy Lambil
  • Cedric by Laudec and Raoul Cauvin
  • The Chimpanzee by Richard Marazano and Jean-Michel Ponzio
  • Cinebook Recounts by Chauvin, Uderzo, B. Asso, and Bergese
  • Clifton by Bob De Groot and Michel Rodrigue and Turk
  • Damocles by Alain Henriet and Joël Callède
  • Darwin’s Diaries by Sylvain Runberg and Eduardo Ocaña
  • Ducoboo by Zidrou and Godi
  • The Fascinating by André-Paul Duchâteau and René Follet
  • Insiders by Jean-Claude Bertoll and Renaud Garreta
  • I.R.$. by Stephen Desberg and Bernard Vrancken
  • Iznogoud by René Goscinny and Jean Tabary
  • Kenya by Rodolphe and Leo
  • Lament by Grzegorz Rosinski and Jean Dufaux
  • The Last Templar by Miguel Lalor and Raymond Khoury
  • Long John Silver by Xavier Dorison and Mathieu Lauffray
  • The Marquis of Anaon by Matthieu Bonhomme and Fabien Vehlmann
  • Melusine by François Gilson and Clarke
  • Namibia by Bertrand Marchal and Leo
  • Orbital by Sylvain Runberg and Serge Pellé
  • Papyrus by Lucien De Gieter
  • The Rugger Boys by Poupard and Béka
  • The Scorpion by Stephen Desberg and Enrico Marini
  • Spirou & Fantasio by Franquin, Tome and Janry
  • The Survivors by Leo
  • Wayne Shelton by Christian Denayer and Jean Van Hamme
  • Wisher by Giulio De Vita and Sébastien Latour
  • XIII by Youri Jigounov, Yves Sente, Jean Van Hamme, William Vance, Jean Giraud and more
  • Yakari by Job and Derib

Comics Experience launches digital comics line

Four new titles hit comiXology on Jan. 13.

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Comics Experience, the online school/community aimed at future comics creators that’s run by former Marvel and IDW editor Andy Schmidt, will begin publishing digital comics by its members and alumni later this month.

The comics will be sold through comiXology starting Jan. 13 and will include:

  • Past the Last Mountain by Paul Allor, Louie Joyce, and Gannon Beck, which “brings together an unlikely trio of fantasy creatures in a story of unity and survival.”
  • Karma Police by Chris Lewis, Tony Gregori, Jasen Smith, and Nic J. Shaw, “a bizarre generation-spanning mystery full of murder, intrigue, reincarnation and even luchador demons.” LUCHADOR DEMONS!
  • Wretched Things by Devon Wong, Ken Perry, and John Hunt, which features “a world where The Vermin reign supreme.”
  • Deluge by JD Oliva and Richard P. Clark, a crime drama set against the backdrop of a post-Katrina Gulf Coast.

“ComiXology offers us a unique way to get even more fantastic content to more fans around the world. And the more truly great creator-owned and controlled projects getting published, and that’s just good for everyone,” said Comics Experience founder and CEO Andy Schmidt in the press release. “The Comics Experience Digital Publishing program is the latest way for us to help bring new, talented creators to audiences around the world and put them in front of the industry’s largest publishers.”

This initiative follows the one announced last year where Comics Experience teamed with IDW Publishing to publish comics by members of their online community. That one brought titles like Tet and Gutter Magic to the publisher.

Check out covers from the new titles below.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Neil Kleid on ‘King and Canvas’

Kings and Canvas is a monthly, ongoing digital comic by Neil Kleid, Jake Allen and Frank Reynoso, published by Monkeybrain Comics and released via Comixology. It explores the lengths a man will go to find purpose after liberty and career have passed him by. I was pleased to interview Kleid.

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Tim O’Shea: What were the vital criteria were there for assembling the creative team?

Neil Kleid: Generally, when partnering with an artist, I like to make sure of three things: 1) That the artist is open to a collaborative partnership which allows for push and pull from both sides of the creative table. 2) That the artist is passionate about the material to not only invest his or her time and energy into the work, but also feel strongly enough about it to embellish on it, add his or her own signature touches, and 3) Finally, that my partner on the piece is dedicated, communicative, open and honest enough to tell me when something needs to be rewritten or whether or not the process is breaking down. Obviously fast, good, talented and savvy all help — but those three points always serve as the mark for whether or not the team can and will survive.

It’s funny, with KaC, I actually went through two creative partners before Jake and Frank. The series has been in the works for over three years now, ever since I began banging out a series bible in the wee hours of the night. There were starts and then stops, and though at the time I feel downhearted when a partnership fell apart, it helps now to know it was all leading to the right team. Jake’s linework has evolved in leaps and bounds since we collaborated together on BROWNSVILLE, our first graphic novel for NBM Publishing. Back then we were both learning what it meant to simply make comics. Diving into Mammoth’s world, allowing your eyes to roam over the landscape and linger on backgrounds and character details, it’s clear that this is the work of a mature, educated illustrator who has spent the intervening years honing his craft and process. And Frank, friend of a mutual friend, came along at the right time when we had lost a colorist and were casting about for the correct palette that would bring life to the bleak, gray wastes of Gaol and then the vast, lush, verdant environs of the Training Grounds. I couldn’t be happier and more privileged than I am to be working with them both…I imagine one day they’ll both be too famous for the likes of a young, humble writer from New Jersey.

Would you say Mammoth and Nik have a buddy picture vibe?

Oh, sure. There are elements from Bing and Bob (“on the road to Queensbury”) and more importantly, classic trainer-fighter matchups most vividly brought into focus by Balboa and Creed… or maybe more specifically if you’re referring to Stallone’s filmography, because of the age gap, Lincoln and Michael Hawk. But then, you can get that vibe from a great number of fantasy or action stories with dueling personalities tossed at some point within an epic journey or adventure. Hell, you’ve got Star Wars’ Han and Luke (and Leia and Chewie, et al), or Game of Thrones’ Brienne and Podrick (or Jon and Sam, or Tyrion and Varys, or…). Of course the Fellowship of the Ring could be the most classical of buddy pictures (Sam! Frodo! Sam! Frodo!) and if you hearken even further back, good ol’ Moses and Aaron, wandering in the desert for forty years with thousands and thousands of their closest, biblical buddies. Look, you get two disparate individuals whose fates have been joined together (Riggs and Murtaugh, Cagney and Lacey, Fred and Barney, so on and so forth…you’re gonna get that buddy vibe at some point.

But let’s not forget—Mammoth and Nik are only the first of our boon traveling companions we meet on the road to Queensbury (or wherever they should finally, inevitably alight). Issue #2 introduced us to Milla, our would-be polar bear boxer from the North, and I daresay even more stalwart associates will join the cast as we wind down the first arc of our series. When we say “buddy picture,” it suggests give and take, comedy and a bit of friction. There’ll be plenty of that to spare, but also a great deal of emotional turmoil and perhaps a tragedy or two. Here’s looking forward to walking down that road together.

When you take characters to a new town, do you give a glimpse into your world building process?

Generally, we start with the idea — whether it’s larger or small, a hook or place or line or in this case, a visual that inspires. For Kings and Canvas, the world began with an image. Someone, somewhere on our wonderful world wide web tossed out two subjects in tangential relation to one another: “Frank Miller” and “dinosaur.” I believe it was in discussion of The Dark Knight Strikes Again, the graphic novel in which the Atom fights a dinosaur. Those two phrases made me think of “Frank Miller’s Dinosaur,” as a story concept which immediately put me in in the mind of an aging brawler, past his prime, bandaged and bruised with hands like cinderblocks and lonely, wounded eyes. That was my first-ever picture of Mammoth, the lead character in Kings and Canvas, and simply typing out a character description led to my winding an entire world and history around his desperate, despairing, yet-to-be-molded form.

After the character, I needed a reason for him to exist. So I started fashioning the place that he was —a hole, a cell (physical or metaphysical) from which he needed to be released, and started painting outward. The room outside his cell. Then the town, then the nation. I knew I wanted it to be in some version of America—having been influenced at the time of the bible’s creation by the landscape of Millar’s Old Man Logan —and so I grabbed a map and started naming towns and charting the path Mammoth might take once he escaped that dreary little cell…and more importantly, the reason for why he would take that path. And were there other paths, paths with which Mammoth’s might cross? And if so, why? Did it have anything to do with the vast history I was spinning for my beloved, broken lead character? And what did the world look like ten years ago? Twenty? Thirty? What would it look like in fifteen?

The bible became a tool I’ve adopted on other projects since finalizing the one for Kings and Canvas, because it serves as a map to not only place and location, but also time and space. It allows me to flesh out social norms, currency, etiquette for a particular town or watchtown on the edge of the Western Kingdoms, for example. The bible charts ties between every settlement in the Training Grounds, and connects the dots from one point of Mammoth’s journey to the next…stretching back to the cell from which he’d escaped at the beginning, even farther than that—ten years, twenty, thirty…the steps and dots that led him to the cell in the first place.

A proper history—a fleshed out map—is key to understanding where your characters stand, where they’ve been, where they might be going. I’d get lost without it, especially on a journey of such scale. And my partners—Jake and Frank— help ground me to where I’m standing with amazing visual landmarks, intimate and culturally specific color tones and architecture (the town of Southporte in issue #2, for example, is much different than the town of Westgate mere pages later). Merging all of that—the history, the factoids, the map of culture, progress and society along with incredibly diverse and yet completely relatable illustration—helps bring a vivid, unique and exciting world to life not only for our readers, but also for the creative team as we navigate the journey at Mammoth’s side.

What do you most enjoy about being published by Chris Roberson?

Chris —and Allison—really have amazing taste. Not saying that as a brag, honestly, but merely as fact when looking at the wealth of truly incredible stories they’ve shepherded under the Monkeybrain banner. I’ll be blunt: many of the creators working with Chris are friends or tangential colleagues of mine, and each of them have produced a library of work that I love, consume and respect. That includes Chris, by the way, a writer and creator whom I’ve followed even before Monkeybrain came into being.

I always knew that I wanted to do something with Monkeybrain after digging through some of the titles in their stable…and because I knew I wanted to do something specific for a digital audience. But I didn’t want to self-publish—I’d been down that road before and quite loathed the idea of taking that path again. Working with Monkeybrain seemed like an ideal scenario: fit a project I was passionate about into a family of books and creators I admired, generally be able to chart my own course and focus on making the story sing while not having to worry about the distribution, and get to work with and know publishers I dug and partner with them on a project that not only I, but they felt extremely passionate. I couldn’t be prouder to put Kings and Canvas out under the Monkeybrain label. I respect what Chris and Allison have done with the company, and hope to continue providing more great issues for them to publish in the future.

In what ways have you most improved as a storyteller in the past 3 years?

Rewriting, trust and consuming more than my usual fare.

The first is obvious: your first draft is never your best. I developed a method in which I allowed myself time to backtrack before driving forward—write 4 pages one night, and on the second night I polished those pages before writing 4 more. Then the third night I polish pages 1-8 and then write 9-12. And so on. Overlap, backtrack, tighten and polish. Your first instinct might not be your best. Edit the fat, trim the superfluous dialogue. Rewrite until it’s ready — even if the deadline looms. Rewrite all the way until it has to get delivered.

Trust. So, I realized this last year and a half that my LARGEST fault when working with a collaborator was having the tendency to give too many notes. I’m talking about art and attempting to micro-manage an artist/partner to the point where I was focused on getting a specific picture or angle in my head down there on the paper. I didn’t trust my partner enough to let them get their vision on the page—I wanted what was in my panel descriptions (and in my head) down there on paper. I know I lost one collaborator on Kings and Canvas that way, and I nearly lost Jake as well. The email I got from Jake, explaining that the pages he was working on would be his last, really gave me a wake up call and made me realize that I needed to let go of the red pen. And I couldn’t be happier (and, I hope, Jake feels the same way). We have our own great process now — I writer the script, doing my best to get as much character/location description into the document without obsessing about angles and layout. Then we discuss the script on the phone, walking through it together to make sure we’re on the same page. Jake sends thumbnail layouts which I review and discuss with him, as well. Then he takes it to pencils and inks, which are usually stellar. I’ve learned the last two years really to let my partner breathe. And, well, you can see the results, right?

Finally, consuming more than my usual fare. Books I would have never read—many non-fiction, mostly in worlds through which I’d never traveled. Movies, comics, music, television…I exposed myself to challenging topics, interesting opinions and often, somewhat tedious research and legwork designed to expand my horizons. Writers write, but writers also read. And they experience — if you don’t have the funds to travel, then travel inside a book to a land you’ve never known. Politics not your thing? Force yourself to make sense of the front page news. Study up on what exactly happened to Lehman Brothers in 2008—not the sound bytes, but the economics involved. Writers read, but just as the greatest challenge is to write something out of your comfort zone, so too must writers consume. Because only then do you learn and grow…and that’s what I’ve been doing the last few years.

What characters if any grew beyond their original scope because you saw untapped potential?

The character of Argos Dane, who appears in issue #2 for the first time, went from being a kind of tall tale character to someone who could be a fan favorite should the series skyrocket in popularity. He was really a one-note character who served a specific purpose but as Jake, Frank and I started fleshing out the series we all kind of took a shine to him…and I realized how much more he had to offer to Mammoth’s past and future. If we compared this to Rocky, Argos might be Mammoth’s Apollo Creed. Or more to the point, if Mammoth were my Ned Stark, Argos might be his Robert Baratheon. Loud, boisterous, coarse…but wise, loyal and takes no bullshit, if you please.

The other character that surprised me was that of Milla, our polar bear apprentice boxer from the North. I had originally plotted other students for Mammoth to train on his road into the West…but I knew we were heading toward a specific direction by the end of the first arc, and the idea of a boxing polar bear was a notion that had survived from the bible’s very first paragraph—the pitch document. What I didn’t know was how much I really wanted to bring that concept forward, to diversify Mammoth’s world and make it plain as day that this journey would be something special…and that we might see it through a few different eyes. Mammoth’s, tired and jaded and weary; Nik’s, idealistic, spunky and youthful; and Milla’s…wary, more unsure of herself than anyone else in the band of would-be champions. There’s a reason that MIlla wants to become a boxer, and a reason she’s so out of her element—she’s a polar bear traveling and living in what is essentially the American south, a mite warmer than a locale she is used to. All of that will open up and get explored in our second arc, sure, but as I started adding her story to the original I realized that her relationships with the others—Mammoth and, more specifically, Nik—gave me an entirely new view as to what she could not only offer the trajectory of the story, but also the growth of the character with whom she would study, fight and travel. I’m intrigued by how much more I’ll learn about Milla as we head further down Mammoth’s path. For now, though, I’m pretty excited by the notes I’ve taken along the way

Anything we neglected to discuss?

Kings and Canvas is a monthly, ongoing digital comic by myself Jake Allen and Frank Reynoso, published by Monkeybrain Comics and released via Comixology. It explores the lengths a man will go to find purpose after liberty and career have passed him by. Punching his way out of prison, Mammoth journeys across a changed frontier in which honor is gained not by using weapons but rather fists and wits, to dethrone an unjust monarch and win back both title and family stolen from him years before. “Game of Thrones meets Rocky Balboa,” but with sea dwarves, rhinoceros-mounted kings, boxing polar bears and a healthy dose of revenge, Kings and Canvas journeys across the frontier of a changed America in which honor is gained not by using guns or swords. but rather fist, wits and the courage to change.

The comics can be purchased here (issues #0-2 are currently for sale. Issue #3 comes out on January 13th, 2016):
http://www.comixology.com/Kings-and-Canvas/comics-series/54355

We’re on Tumblr and Twitter:
http://kingsandcanvas.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/kingsandcanvas

comiXology offers deals on DC Comics, Dark Horse and more for Cyber Monday

Digital comic provider offers buy one, get one free deal on most DC comics and trades.

For Cyber Monday, digital comics provider comiXology is not only continuing its Black Friday discounts, but has added several more deals to the mix.

Of note is a “first time ever” sale on DC Comics — a buy one, get one free sale on all DC Comics and Vertigo titles released digitally before Sept. 1. Just use the code DCBOGO at check out.

Here’s the rundown of all the sales happening today:

Cyber Monday:

DC Comics Buy One, Get One Free Sale – Use promo code DCBOGO at checkout
Offer good on all DC Comics and Vertigo titles released digitally before 9/1/15
Dark Horse Sale – 30 trades for $2.99 each
VIZ Sale – 10 volumes for $2.00 off each
Marvel X-Men & The Black Vortex Sale

Continuing Black Friday Sales:

Image Comics 50% off Sale- Use promo code IMAGE at checkout
Marvel Black Friday Collection Sale
Marvel Spider-Verse Sale
Kodansha 99¢ Black Friday Sale including Attack on Titan Vol 1

 

Cyber Monday:

DC Comics Buy One, Get One Free Sale – Use promo code DCBOGO at checkout

Dark Horse Sale – 30 trades for $3.00 each
Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone
Aliens: Fire and Stone
ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times
Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow Part One
Archie vs Predator
Big Guy and Rusty
Conan Red Sonja
Courageous Princess Vol 1
Drug and Drop Vol 1
EI8HT Vol 1: Outcast
Ghost Fleet Vol 1 Deadhead
Green River Killer
Halo: Escalation Volume
Heart in a Box
Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: 1952
How to Pass as Human
Lady Killer
Predator: Fire and Stone
Prometheus: Fire and Stone
Plants vs. Zombies: Bully For You
Rat God
Rexodus
Serenity: Leaves on the Wind
The Goon Vol14: Occasion of Revenge
The New Deal
The Witcher: Vol 2 – Fox Children
Tomb Raider Vol 1 : Season of the Witch
Veda: Assembly Required
Buffy: Season Ten Vol 1 : New Rules
BloodC Vol 1

VIZ Sale – 10 volumes for $4.99each
My Hero Academia Vol 1
Assassination Classroom Vol 1
Ultraman Vol 1
Twin Star Exorcists Vol 1
Tokyo Ghoul Vol 1
Time Killers Vol 1
Demon Prince Momochi House Vol 1
Kiss of the Rose Princess Vol 1
My Love Story! Vol 1
Spell of Desire
Vol 1

Marvel X-Men & The Black Vortex Sale 
     The Black Vortex Alpha #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #24-25
Legendary Star-Lord #1-11
All-New X-Men #38-39
Guardians Team-Up #1-3
Nova #28
Cyclops #12
Captain Marvel #14
The Black Vortex Omega #1

Continuing Black Friday Sales:

Image Comics 50% off Sale – Use promo code IMAGE at checkout

Marvel Black Friday Collection Sale
Avengers/X-Men: Utopia
Avengers Vs. X-Men
Death of Wolverine
Fear Itself
House of M
Marvel 1602
Original Sin
Secret Invasion
Secret Wars
X-Men: Battle of the Atom

Marvel Spider-Verse Sale

Superior Spider-Man #32-33
Spider-Man 2099 #5
Amazing Spider-Man #1-18
Spider-Verse #1-2
Spider-Verse Team-Up #1-3
Spider-Woman #1-4
Scarlet Spiders #1-3
Spider-Man 2099 #6-8
Amazing Spider-Man #1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 16.1, 17.1, 18.1, 19.1, 20.1

Kodansha 99¢ Black Friday Sale
            Attack On Titan Vol 1
Say I love You Vol 1
Seven Deadly Sins Vol 11