Tag Archives: San Diego Comic-Con

SDCC 2016 Review: THE DEATH OF STALIN, presented by Europe Comics

"The Death of Stalin," published by Europe Comics

“The Death of Stalin,” published by Europe Comics

The Death of Stalin” is a digital graphic novel presented by Europe Comics and is one of various select titles from Europe Comics being promoted at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. This is quite an audacious, vivid, and insightful look at the strange events occurring shortly after Joseph Stalin had a stroke: the chaos and the subsequent grab for power. It is highly accessible: drops you right in, as if you were a fly on the wall, a fly that Stalin, himself, would have thought nothing of swatting and flicking away.

Who was Joseph Stalin? If you’re too young to have a frame of reference, that’s understandable. Think World War II. Think dictator. Then add to that one of the great mass murderers in history responsible for the deaths of millions. Joseph Stalin was the Soviet Union’s dictator from 1924 to 1953. And, in that time, he ordered the deaths of an estimated 50 million of his own citizens. So, you can imagine that his death would be a pretty big deal.

It once was common to find in your newspaper a grainy official photo of the Soviet leaders proudly reviewing the annual May Day parade displaying Soviet military might. That very same photo would, at a later date, pop back into those same newspapers with the latest news from the mysterious world of the Soviet Union. But the photo was altered: someone had been erased and replaced with someone else. There was plenty of doctoring of photos and executing of comrades during Stalin’s regime. While that may seem primitive by today’s standards, you can see something similar going on in North Korea. I feel like Rachel Maddow now as I hope I impress upon young readers that Kim Jong-un’s regime is a small scale throwback to what the Soviet Union was like.

Who Will Take Over After Stalin?

Who Will Take Over After Stalin?

To best convey the inner workings of the Kremlin during the last days of Stalin requires a dedication to characters. Go back to that grainy photo of politburo leaders at the May Day reviewing stand. How do you give those ghostly figures some life? Now, that must have been a challenge. This book is up to the task thanks to both a lively script by Fabien Nury and compelling art by Thierry Robin. Without a doubt, you are that fly on the wall. We are told that truth is stranger than fiction. Did Stalin, the night before he had his fatal stroke, really force the national symphony to replay a concert they had just performed just for the benefit of his own personal recording? I would not be surprised.

This two part story will thrill political junkies as well as history buffs. We see a relatively young Nikita Khrushchev as he maneuvers for power. In 1953, he was a mere 59 years-old! That’s “young” for Soviet leaders. In a matter of days, the tide would turn in his favor and he would replace Stalin. But not before a chaoic, bloody, and sometimes comical, turn of events. That said, this intriguing story will prove insightful and entertaining for any reader of any age.

The Death of Stalin” is now available at Europe Comics, which launched in November 2015 by a coalition of nine comics publishers, two rights agents, and an audio-visual company, from eight different European countries. Europe Comics is working towards the creation of a pan-European comics catalog, available in English and digital format, a website with comics information for readers and professionals, and a series of author tours and events across Europe and the USA.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2016, Comics, Europe Comics, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, History, Russia

Preview: Jackie Estrada’s Comic Book People 2

ComicBookPeople90S_2 D1.indd

Jackie Estrada’s “Comic Book People 2,” a behind-the-scenes look at the comics industry in the 1990s, will be available at your local comics shop on September 2 and on Amazon on September 10. You can currently find the first book “Comic Book People: Photographs from the 1970s and 1980s,” right here. You can find “Comic Book People 2” scheduled for release at your LCS right here.

Comic-Book-People-2-Ellen-Forney

“Comic Book People 2” is a high-quality hardcover coffee table book that offers a unique peek at the comics industry in the 1990s. It features some 600 candid photos of comics creators taken by Jackie Estrada at the San Diego Comic-Con, WonderCon, Chicago ComiCon, APE, SPX, and other shows during the decade, along with commentary and anecdotes about each person. The photos depict not only the big names of the period but also up-and-coming stars early in their careers as well as Golden and Silver Age comic book greats who were still with us.

Comic-Book-People-2-Frank-Frazetta

“The 1990s were a great time for new faces that are now familiar fixtures, such as Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Jeff Smith, Terry Moore, Garth Ennis, Colleen Doran, David Lapham, and Paul Pope,” says Estrada. “But even as these new creators came on the scene, a number of Golden and Silver Age greats were still with us, and I was fortunate to be able to photograph many of them.” Among the venerated artists in the book are Frank Frazetta, Carmine Infantino, Gene Colan, Al Williamson, Sheldon Moldoff, Nick Cardy, and of course Will Eisner and Jack Kirby.

The 1990s were a transitional era in comics: Image emerged, lots of other new publishers got into the mix, the direct market flourished, and the self-publishing and indie comics movements really took off. The number of comic conventions also increased all around the U.S. And Jackie Estrada was there, capturing the scene in candid images.

It was during the 1990s that Estrada and her husband Batton Lash formed Exhibit A Press to produce his comics series Wolff& Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre (aka Supernatural Law). Many of the photos in Comic Book People 2 were taken at shows where they exhibited, from the Chicago ComiCon and WonderCon to the Small Press Expo and APE, as well as the San Diego Comic-Con. The book covers the full spectrum of creators, from mainstream superhero writers and artists to small press cartoonists, as well as people behind the scenes in the industry, such as publishers, editors, retailers, and distributors. Among the events of the 1990s featured are the foundings of Milestone and Friends of Lulu and activities of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Jackie has been both a comics fan and a photographer since the 1960s, and she has been to every San Diego Comic-Con. Her involvement in comics has included editing publications for Comic-Con, being the administrator of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards since 1990, serving as president of Friends of Lulu, and being the co-publisher of Exhibit A Press, which has produced Comic Book People 2. Her photos of comics creators have appeared in numerous books and publications, from Paul Levitz’s 75 Years of DC Comics and Julius Schwartz’s autobiography Man of Two Worlds to Alter Ego and Comics Buyer’s Guide. Most prominently, dozens of her photos were used in Dark Horse’s Comics: Between the Panels and in Comic-Con: 40 Years of Artists, Writers, Fans, and Friends. Most recently, her photos could be seen in the PBS special, “Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle,” on the history of superheroes.

You could not ask for a better guide on the formidable world of comics than Jackie Estrada.

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Filed under Cartoonists, Comic-Con, Comics, Ellen Forney, Frank Frazetta, Jackie Estrada, Photography, pop culture, Will Eisner

Kickstarter: Comic Book People 2: Photographs from the 1990s

 Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson, and Dave Gibbons at the 1991 San Diego Comic-Con.


Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Bill Sienkiewicz, Bernie Wrightson, and Dave Gibbons at the 1991 San Diego Comic-Con.

Jackie Estrada is a Comic-Con legend. She knows everybody. And she’s photographed everybody. Her work has appeared everywhere, including the recent PBS program on superheroes. She’s been a supporter of Comic-Con from the very beginning and administrator of its Eisner Awards since 1990. She has vivid recollections and has documented them in her first book, Comic Book People, which covered the ’70s and ’80s. Now comes Comic Book People 2 which covers the ’90s. It’s a perfect next step in seeing the history and behind-the-scenes fun that is Comic-Con International in San Diego as well as the Chicago Comic-Con, WonderCon, the Small Press Expo, and APE. And you can make this new book a reality by joining in support of the Kickstarter campaign going on now through March 13. Join in your support and visit the campaign right here.

Press release follows:

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Filed under Comic-Con International, Comics, Jackie Estrada

Comic-Con 2014: Randy Stradley and Dark Horse Comics

Randy Stradley talks here a bit about Dark Horse Comics. He partnered with Mike Richardson to create Dark Horse and has led the way in its development. Stradley shares some thoughts on the first time Dark Horse made an appearance at Comic-Con. It was pretty humble way back then.

Looking forward, Stradley pointed to twelve new creator-owned properties that had just been announced. Among new Dark Horse projects to look forward to is Chuck Palahniuk’s “Fight Club 2,” a big step beyond his 1996 novel, full of supernatural spookiness, set for a 10-issue run debuting May, 2015. Brian Truitt, at USA Today, provides an insightful interview with Palahniuk about this new project right here.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can find at Dark Horse. For more information, visit Dark Horse Comics here. Some of the news you can find, like Dark Horse taking home five Eisner Awards this year, follows:

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Randy Stradley

Comic-Con 2014: On Being A Third Class Superhero

Comic-Con 2014: Star Wars Display

Comic-Con 2014: Star Wars Display

Comic-Con is many things: a focal point for learning about pop culture and a place to buy and sell pop culture. It is a fascinating place to be to observe a concentrated segment of consumer culture. With an estimated attendance this year topping off at 160,000, Comic-Con International: San Diego is an instant village. Not everyone is there for exactly the same reasons. But, at the same time, even the academically-inclined that claim that they are there only for the serious panel discussion, must admit to this event being like going to Disneyland.

You are there, caught in the sweep of humanity, and you can’t help but feel that you are part of something bigger. This is a mega-community all mashed together with various views and agendas. To be fair, I like to give credit to everyone for all the hard work they do. There is so much on display, with so many issues at play all at once. On the most basic level, we have a huge number of humans all seeking something. The only way it makes sense for me is to set up guideposts for myself ahead of time and go to the things that matter most to me. And, like a grand museum, you will only manage to see part of what you set out to see.

We’re only human, right? We are more complex than we give ourselves credit for. Comic-Con is not a bunch of rats set loose, even if it may seem like that at times. We are human. Comic-Con seems like one big spectacle sometimes but, just like they say about going to school, traveling, and life in general, you get back what you put into it. The thing to remember about Comic-Con is that, at its roots, it is about fandom and a love for comic books is at its core. If you gather together a group of young (and not-so-young) people who are sensitive to seeking out something more, whatever that might be, you’re on a good track right there. That something more, whatever it might be, will be an anchor, a gateway, a portal, all at once.

From Charles Yu’s Third Class Superhero:

I know this is as good as it will ever get for me and it’s not that good. I have a small heart, a dark heart, a heart filled with exactly equal amounts of good and evil, one that is weak and will take us only so far, but for now it propels us higher and higher and higher.

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Filed under Charles Yu, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Media, pop culture

Comic-Con 2014: George R.R. Martin Signing Game of Thrones Graphic Novel Prequels

The-Hedge-Knight-George-R-R-Martin

As part of a full roster of exciting events from comiXology, you can expect the Game of Thrones scribe himself, George R.R. Martin. Yep, Booth #2547 is the place to be.

On Sunday at 12:30pm, author George R.R. Martin and artist Mike S. Miller will be making a special appearance at the comiXology booth to promote and sign copies of The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel and The Sworn Sword: The Graphic Novel published by Jet City Comics. There will be 200 copies of The Hedge Knight: The Graphic Novel available for free, first-come, first-serve. Signing will be limited to these two titles.

ComiXology will be in full swing at Comic-Con International giving away $5 Amazon Appstore credits toward comiXology content, moderating 8 news-making panels, providing free limited edition art card signings at their booth all during the con, and, yes, hosting an appearance by author George R.R. Martin! More information, including full signing and panel details, follow. Judging by the line-up of talent and speakers, you really could make this a ComiXology Comic-Con.

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Filed under Amazon, Comic-Con 2014, Comics, Comixology, Game Of Thrones, George R.R. Martin

Comic-Con 2014: UNCLE GRANDPA

Uncle-Granpa-Kaboom-Boom-Studios

Batman, meet Uncle Grandpa. Oh sure, we are going to see a full-on Batman at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego. But there’s also room for other compelling characters, like sweet little ole Uncle Granpa. It sounds surreal already, doesn’t it? Well, if you like comics greats Don Martin, Gary Larson, and Robert Crumb, as well as Golden Age-era animators such as Tex Avery, then Uncle Grandpa has something for you! Uncle Grandpa debuted on Cartoon Network last September as the #1 telecast of the week among boys 6-11. That says it all, right? You can hear it from Uncle Grandpa himself, Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. (ET/PT). And you can read the new comic book series coming to you from KaBOOM!, an award-winning imprint of publisher BOOM! Studios, and Cartoon Network Enterprises, the licensing and merchandising arm of the network. More details follow:

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Filed under Boom! Studios, Comic-Con, Comic-Con 2014, Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, KaBOOM!

Henry Chamberlain’s Campaign To Support A Comics Reviewer and Creator

From Henry Chamberlain's "Ballard Comics"

From Henry Chamberlain’s “Ballard Comics”

I am heading out to Comic-Con International in San Diego this year and this is the year that we take things to a new level. With your support, we can do some exciting new things here at Comics Grinder and beyond. You can check out the new campaign, “Support A Comics Reviewer and Creator,” over at GoFundMe right here.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, Comics Grinder, Comics Journalism, Crowdfunding, Geek Culture, Geeks, George Clayton Johnson, GoFundMe, Henry Chamberlain, Interviews, Jim Woodring, Mark Z. Danielewski, Media, Nerd Culture, Nerds, San Diego Comic-Con

Greg Koudoulian’s Campaign To Raise Funds For Comic-Con Documentary

Greg-Koudoulian-San-Diego-Comic-Con-A-Legacy-In-Time-Documentary

Greg Koudoulian is a distinguished supporter and archivist of Comic-Con International in San Diego. His roots go back to the early years of Comic-Con. He has an impressive collection of rare memorabilia that has reached the level of museum quality. And Greg knows everyone.

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Filed under Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Comics, Greg Koudoulian, pop culture, San Diego Comic-Con

Comic-Con 2015: Conan O’Brien To Broadcast TBS Show

Conan "The Flaming C" O'Brien

Conan “The Flaming C” O’Brien

Yes, you read that right, Conan O’Brien will be broadcasting from Comic-Con in 2015. True Comic-Con fans are quite familiar with announcements made way in advance. I’m sure Conan will get a lot of love and support from his fans at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

Details follow from Deadline Hollywood:

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comic-Con International, Comic-Con International: San Diego, Conan, Conan O'Brien