– For the first time since 1995-1996, Sonic The Hedgehog will actually have some company in ARCHIE COMICS’ “adventures” line. Capcom’s very own Blue Bomber, MEGAMAN, will return to comic books in April (or May; an interview says one month, the official advertisement another). Writer Ian Flynn (a veteran from SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and YOUNG SALEM) and artist Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante (also from SONIC but he has some TRANSFORMERS credit as well) tackle the classic video game character in a monthly ongoing series. In keeping with tradition from Marvel and DC, the first issue will have a variant cover. Flynn talks to Comic Book Resources about his ambitions for the series (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30707); he states that the series starts Megaman’s story at square one and goes from there, with him theming arcs around each particular boss (can’t wait for the Woodman saga). The irony is that a crossover between Sonic and Megaman could probably never happen in the video game world, it could quite possibly occur at Archie Comics. While it is easy to scoff at Archie’s SONIC series, it has remained one of their best sellers for nearly 20 years – the U.K. version of it helped start off the career of Mark Millar. Originally debuting in 1987, MEGAMAN has remained one of Capcom’s longest running and viable video game series, although opinion is mixed upon all of the changes that the character has received in recent decades. His last North American comic book appearance was a four issue series from Dreamwave Productions, which went defunct in 2005 (with many of their licenses, such as for Transformers, heading to IDW). Capcom have released two 8-Bit sequels to the series on virtual consoles, and the Japanese manga series is being translated and brought to America. The character has also appeared in TV animation as well. Given the similarities between Megaman and the legendary manga series ASTRO-BOY, it is perhaps amazing that no long term comic series has been attempted before. It will be curious how this license performs for Archie in comparison to Sonic, although they sell most of their comics outside the direct market. Often licensed products for other third party companies, such as IDW and Dark Horse, are among their best sellers. Launched in November 1992, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG has even been entered in the Guiness Book Of World Records for the longest running comic series based on a video game character. 1996 was the year that Archie’s licensed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics officially ended.
– Georgia Congressman John Lewis, alongside associate Andrew Aydin, will team with Top Shelf Productions to pen a graphic novel called MARCH, which will hit stores in 2012 (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/02/07/congressman-john-lewis-to-pen-graphic-novel/). The series is expected to chronicle Lewis’ efforts in the civil rights movement during the 1960’s, where he led non violent protests. While this comes on the heels of Bluewater Press making comic books based on no end of political figures (from Hillary Clinton to Sarah Palin), and Barack Obama appearing in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and no end of Image Comics, this is the first graphic novel to be written by a sitting member of Congress. For the record, Obama is a professed fan of comic books (CONAN THE BARBARIAN in particular). No artist has been lined up, although Top Shelf is best known for publishing many of Alan Moore’s most recent works, such as LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN.
– Comics website ICv2 has a three part interview with Ted Adams, the CEO of IDW Publishing, about a variety of topics such as his take on digital publishing, and on the future of IDW (http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/19343.html, http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/19335.html & http://www.icv2.com/articles/news/19336.html). While IDW has been more willing to explore digital comics than the big two (it has 650 titles available for digital sale), Adams has noted that it won’t be the be-all of IDW and probably the comic book industry for some time – IDW’s digital sales make up 1% of their income. It is a company that has sat on the sidelines of the recent cover price wars, as their comics have always been $3.99. He considers comic books an “expensive” hobby and has no plans to lower the prices of any IDW titles to better compete with DC and Marvel. As for the future, Adams lists off a roster of their current and upcoming licensed products, which include TRANSFORMERS, G.I. JOE, GHOSTBUSTERS, STAR TREK TRUE BLOOD, and the upcoming GODZILLA. The company was founded in 1999 and one of their biggest non-licensed hits was 30 DAYS OF NIGHT. They will be losing their ANGEL license, which will shift to Dark Horse Comics (which holds the rest of the BUFFY Universe license as well as employs creator Joss Whedon to write it). IDW survived the collapse of several other upstart companies of the time, such as CrossGen and Dreamwave, and has won acclaim and recognition by Diamond Comic Distributors. They are planning a zombie themed crossover event (written by “Marvel space” architects Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning) with a slew of their licensed comics; will the Ghostbusters get to fight alongside the Joes, the Star Trek crew and the Transformers? Stay tuned.
– Marketing coordinator Aaron Colter has left Dark Horse (http://www.comicsbeat.com/2011/02/02/aaron-colter-leaves-dark-horse/). He managed their Facebook and Twitter feeds but perhaps was too irreverent for his own good.
– Movement continues on Universal Studios’ film adaptation of Peter Lankov’s R.I.P.D. (Rest In Police Department). While it was previously announced that Ryan Reynolds was set to star in it (which may doom his ability to play Deadpool in the near future), L.A. Times hears that Zach Galifiakanis, better known for comedies such as “THE HANGOVER” and “DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS”, is also gearing up to appear in the film (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2011/02/zach-galifianakis-ripd-ryan-reynolds-dark-horse-movie.html). It is being directed by Robert Schwentke, who directed “RED” for Warner Brothers. The Dark Horse comic is about dead policeman Nick Cruz (Reynolds) who patrols the underworld with other dead cops. While Galifiakanis has played a mental patient in “ITS KIND OF A FUNNY STORY”, it remains to be seen how “gritty” he can get. Galifiakanis would co-star alongside Reynolds as another dead cop; is this becoming a buddy comedy?
– Platinum Studios is uniting with Top Cow (the “Mini Me” of Image Comics) and producer Andrew Lazar (“COWBOYS & ALIENS”) to make film adaptation of V.I.C.E., created in 2005 by Matt Hawkins, the president of Top Cow (http://www.deadline.com/2011/02/andrew-lazar-platinum-studios-and-top-cow-target-vice/). The series is about a squad of super powered (and ethnically diverse) teenage felons who agree to work with the FBI’s Critical Response Unit to take time off their sentences – think a combination of the Deadly Dozen, “The Mod Squad” and X-Men. Hawkins as well as artist Marc Silvestri will also act as executive producers.
Last Week’s Indie News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-for-1-31-11-comixolog-news-the-guardian-project-bprd-film
Last Week’s Marvel News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-news-for-1-31-11-marvel-spoils-a-story-again-maybe-lowers-prices
Last Week’s DC News: http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-for-1-31-11-wb-finds-their-superman-flashpoint-promotion-more