Comics Lowdown: IDW adapts ‘The Force Awakens,’ Ringos slated for BCC

Plus: Jack Kirby and William Messner-Loebs to receive the Bill Finger Award, why millennials like webcomics and more.

IDW announced its all-ages Star Wars Adventures comic series a few months ago, but they sprang a surprise this week: In August, they will publish an 80-page graphic novel adaptation of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The graphic novel, which is also intended for younger readers, is part of Disney’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing program, which is designed to gin up excitement for the eighth movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be out in December. The writer of the adaptation is Alessandro Ferrari, and the art is provided by “a group of Disney artists intended to bridge the gap between Star Wars and traditional Disney animation, making it more attractive for younger audiences.” You’d think people with that sort of ability would merit an actual name credit, but I guess not. This same anonymous group has done other Star Wars graphic novel adaptations that were published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, and in fact, Bleeding Cool notes that this graphic novel was announced in an article about them almost a year ago. That means the big news is really the publisher—it looks like IDW, will launch Star Wars Adventures in September, is becoming the chief publisher of Star Wars comics for young readers.

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Timm & Klein honor ‘The King’ on San Diego souvenir book

Comic-Con International’s annual publication will pay tribute to Jack Kirby, in honor of his 100th birthday.

Every year Comic-Con International in San Diego pays tribute to various anniversaries in their annual Souvenir Book, which features artists contributing pieces related to whatever comic or pop culture phenomenon is celebrating a milestone. With the upcoming 100th birthday of legendary comics creator Jack Kirby, this year’s edition will feature a cover by Bruce Timm of Batman: The Animated Series fame (which is also celebrating an anniversary) that honors the King in two ways.

Timm and award-winning letterer Todd Klein pay homage to Kirby’s cover to Superman’s Pal: Jimmy Olsen #141:

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Kirby and Simon’s ‘Fighting American’ returns from Titan Comics

Titan Comics has announced the return of the Fighting American, Jack Kirby and Joe Simon’s 1950s commie-punching patriot.

They’ve tapped Gordon Rennie (2000AD, Starship Troopers) and Duke Mighten (Judge Dredd) to essentially pick up right where Kirby and Simon left off in 1954, at the end of the comic’s seven-issue run.

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Gene Ha pinup pays tribute to Jack Kirby’s WWII service

Over on Tumblr, artist Gene Ha shares a stunning pinup he created for the Festival BD in Moselle, France, which is paying tribute to comics legend Jack Kirby in June.

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Team Allred assembles for ‘Bug!: The Adventures of Forager’ from Young Animal

Michael, Laura and Lee Allred team up to tell a story straight from Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

DC Comics’ Young Animal line will expand in May with ‘Bug!: The Adventures of Forager’ by Michael, Lee and Laura Allred. The six-issue miniseries is set to debut May 10.

“Every time I get to work with my ‘big bro’ Lee, it’s like tapping into our most thrilling childhood comic book daydreams,” Michael Allred said in the press release. “If you gave me the chance to list the characters I’d most like to get my hands on from Kirby’s ‘Fourth World,’ Forager the Bug sits squarely at the top. And now we are throwing him into the DC’s Young Animal mix, winding him up and letting him go! When you add in our not-so-secret weapon of Laura’s magical colors, I couldn’t possibly be more pumped about this series!”

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Artists #WakeUpAndDraw for Jack Kirby’s birthday

To celebrate the 99th birthday of the King, artists are drawing his creation to benefit the Hero Initiative.

Today would have been comic book legend Jack Kirby’s 99th birthday, and to celebrate artists from all over the world are waking up to draw various Kirby creations — everyone from the Thing to OMAC to Fin Fang Foom. Many of the drawings are also being auctioned off to benefit the Hero Initiative.

Here are a few of them … you can find more by following the #WakeUpAndDraw hashtag on Twitter and other social media, or check out our Tumblr, where I’ll be posting others I see throughout the day.

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IDW celebrates Jack Kirby’s 100th birthday next year with ‘Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition’

New edition collects comics featuring by Inhumans and the first appearance of Franklin Richards, as created by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott.

Legendary comics creator Jack Kirby would have turned 100 next year, and to help celebrate the occasion IDW Publishing will release Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition in January.

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Enjoy This Karl Kesel Treat from 1991

Today on Karl Kesel’s Facebook page he treated fans to a 1991 Throwback Thursday flashback:

“FEMALE FURIES, “NEW.” I’ve always loved Kirby’s “bad girl” characters, the Female Furies, with the original five each clearly reflecting a different stereotype/archetype of woman— Barda = Amazon, Lashina = Dominatrix, Stompa = Butch Dyke (this was the late 60s, after all), Mad Harriet = Hag, Bernadeth = Spinster. But the Furies are an entire battalion— there are a LOT more where those came from! So in 1991’s Hawk & Dove #21, I came up with a few more. Again, I tried to make each represent a type of woman— Gilotina = Girl Next Door, Speed Queen = Rebellious Teen, Bloody Mary = Seductress, Malice Vundabarr = Brat. (Gilotina first appeared and was named in a few Kirby Mister Miracle panels— but I gave her her personality and outlook.) Bloody Mary never quite jelled as a character (odd, because she seems to be the strongest, high-concept-wise) but I’ve always really liked the others. I actually stranded Gilotina in Project Cadmus for a while, and started a romance between her and Tommy (the typical boy-next-door). Of course, I’d revisit the Furies again when Tom Grummett and I introduced Superboy to a lady named Knockout a few years later. Side Note: Malice’s pet “Cheshire” was renamed “Chessure” in the printed comic, combining “cheshire” with “pressure.” It seemed more “Kirby” to me.”

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