Famed comic artist and editor Carmine Infantino has passed away; he was 87. Infantino began working as a comic artist in 1942, during the Golden Age of Comics, but was best known as a key architect of the Silver Age of comics, which began in 1956 with Showcase #4, in which Infantino created the new version of the Flash with writer Robert Kanigher under editor Julius Schwartz.
In the following years, Infantino worked a number of books for DC and eventually made his way to Batman, where he redesigned the team with writer John Broome. He also co-created Deadman with writer Arnold Drake and co-created Batgirl (Barbara Gordon) with Gardner Fox.
By the mid-sixties, Infantino was designing every cover in DC’s line and was eventually promoted to editorial director, where he hired Dick Giordano and promoted Joe Orlando, Joe Kubert, and Mike Sekowsky to editor. Neal Adams, Dennis O’Neil, and Jack Kirby were hired by DC during Infantino’s tenure.
Infantino was promoted to publisher in 1971 and held that position until 1976, when he was replaced by Jenette Kahn and returned to drawing comics. He worked for Warren, Marvel (where he drew its bestselling Star Wars title), and DC until his retirement in the 90s.
DC’s top three publishing executives all offered thoughts on Infantino’s passing.
"His contributions to the comics industry and to DC Comics in particular are immense and impossible to quantify," DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson said. "Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans during this difficult time."
"Carmine was a legend," DC Co-Publisher Jim Lee said. "The number of classic covers he created are innumerable. His influence, reach and impact is humbling and will always live on."
"There are few people in this world that have had as much of an impact on the industry as Carmine," DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said. "He bridged both the Golden and Silver Ages of comics… He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will remain forever."
George Lucas’ original draft of the “Star Wars” screenplay has always been the stuff of legends. Facts like Luke Skywalker’s original name (Starkiller) have peppered hardcore fan conversations for decades with only word-of-mouth to help spread the alternate universe version of the original “Star Wars.”
But today, Dark Horse Comics announced that they are adapting that original draft from 1974 as an eight-issue comic series. The books will come from the pages of that rough screenplay, as adapted by writer J.W. Rinzler. The limited series will launch in September.
Click past the jump to read the full press release from Dark Horse.
It’s no April Fools’ prank! Dark Horse is honored to announce a dream project: working with J.W. Rinzler, executive editor at LucasBooks, and artist Mike Mayhew (Avengers) to adapt the rough-draft original screenplay which spawned the biggest franchise in film history!
Three years before his 1977 film, George Lucas put down on paper his first story set in a galaxy far, far away—a tale of fantastic adventures, daring escapes, “lazer swords,” romance, and monsters. A story of Jedi Annikin Starkiller and General Luke Skywalker, an alien named Han Solo, and evil Sith Knights. The screenplay was titled The Star Wars!
“I’m not sure where I first read about The Star Wars—it was years and years ago—but the idea of Luke Skywalker being an older Jedi General, and Han Solo being a six-foot-tall lizard, turned my Star Wars fan brain on its side,” said longtime Star Wars editor Randy Stradley. “I always assumed this would be one of those stories that would be ‘lost to history,’ so getting to work on bringing it to life is kinda like a dream come true.”
The New York Times has just announced that very famous comic book writer Neil Gaiman is returning to Marvel, and that’s not even the weird part. The weird part is that he’s bringing Angela, a character he created for Todd McFarlane’s Spawn over at Image Comics with him… for some reason.
She — and Gaiman — will be part of the final issue of Age of Ultron, which Gaiman will co-write with Brian Michael Bendis and which Angela will somehow guest-star in; then she will appear in Guardians of the Galxay #5, which Gaiman will also co-write with Bendis.
Honestly, Gaiman’s jumped ship to Marvel before, so that’s not a particularly big deal. And Gaiman won the rights to Angela after he settled with Todd McFarlane last year, since Gaiman created the character, so that’s technically not a surprise either except for why Marvel would even want the character. Here are the big deals:
Following the brief appearance at the end of 2012′s The Avengers film as well as the recent news about the Thanos Rising limited series in April (see "‘Thanos Rising’ in April"), fans have hungered for the Eternal’s return.
This May, Marvel reunites its greatest superhero teams to combat the most dangerous threat facing the Marvel Universe in Infinity.
Penned by Jonathan Hickman (Avengers, New Avengers, the Manhattan Projects) with art by Jim Cheung (Avengers, Spider-Men), Infinity is an all-new story pitting the Avengers, X-Men, Guardians of the Galaxy, Fantastic Four, Inhumans, Superior Spider-Man, and a host of other Marvel heroes in an intergalactic war against the evil Thanos.
Slated for Free Comic Book Day, Infinity will be launched on May 4, 2013 as a first shot in the war and a prelude to a new Marvel event.
This just in from Comic Book Resources:
ComiXology is expanding its reach with a new Paris-based division devoted to “spearheading the acquisition of international language content across the European continent.” Staff from comiXology Europe and the U.S. branch will have a presence this week at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, the second-largest comic-book festival in the world.
“ComiXology has already proven to be enormously popular with consumers in many countries around the world – and that’s just in English,” comiXology co-founder CEO David Steinberger said in a statement. “With comiXology Europe, comiXology takes the first step in becoming the platform for multi-language graphic literature from all over the world.”
It’s been an eventful few months for the digital-comics platform, which was the third-highest grossing iPad app of 2012, up from No. 10 the previous year. In December alone, comiXology launched a continuous-bookmarking feature, signed distribution deals with Andresw McMeel Publishing and Mark Waid’s Thrillbent, and rolled out comiXology Submit. In October, the company surpassed 100 million downloads, with more of than 50 million occurring in 2012.
An all-new Marvel NOW! X-Men series will launch in April with X-Men #1. The ongoing series, written by Brian Wood (Ultimate Comics X-Men) and drawn by Oliver Coipel (Avengers VS. X-Men), features a mutant lineup comprised entirely of females: April, Storm, Rogue, Jubilee, Kitty Pryde, Rachel Grey, Rogue, and Psylocke.
The all-woman group must formulate a plan of action when an old enemy appears at their doorstep, seeking refuge from an ancient foe. Complicating matters is Jubilee, who brings home "an orphaned baby who might hold the key to the Earth’s survival."
Marvel has also given more information on the new storyline in Thunderbolts (see "‘Thunderbolts’ #1 set for December"), which is getting a new artist with issue #7, also releasing in April. Phil Noto (Uncanny X-Force) joins writer Daniel Way as the Punisher, Deadpool, Red Hulk, Elektra, and Venom battle evil robots (see "March, April Marvel NOW! Teases"). The issue will advance the contentious (and apparently romantic) relationship between Punisher and Elektra.
Like all Marvel NOW titles, X-Men #1 and Thunderbolts #7 will feature special "augmented reality" content available exclusive through the Marvel AR app, including cover recaps and behind-the-scenes information. X-Men #1 will also include a code for a free digital copy.
Today Marvel Comics issued two more minimally-worded teasers for upcoming Marvel Now story arcs. The "Game On" teaser for the Avengers Arena arc shows X-23, Hazmat, Nico, and Darkhawk on the cover of what is called a ""Killer" Board Game." Since Darkhawk was apparently killed at the conclusion of the recently released Avengers Arena #3, speculation abounds as to why the character appears in this teaser for the new story arc that begins in April. Unlike many of the new arcs that Marvel has been teasing, the creative team of Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker will remain on Avengers Arena at least through the second arc.
Earlier in the day Marvel released a teaser for Kathryn Immonen’s Journey Into Mystery, which also inaugurates a second storyline in April. The teaser image by Matteo Scalera, who will be taking over art chores in April (from Valerio Schiti) features the single word "Ravenous" as well as Sif, who will be the focus of the new story arc, along with Thor and the Warriors Three.
The Walking Dead topped both the Top Comics and Top Graphic Novel charts for 2012, according to information released by Diamond Comic Distributors today. The bestselling comic of the year to comic stores was The Walking Dead #100, a multi-cover extravaganza that shipped in July, and the top graphic novel of the year was The Walking Dead Volume 1: Days Gone Bye TP. The Walking Dead’s chart dominance was near total for the graphic novel format, where TWD volumes took seven of the top 10 and 16 of the top 25 slots in the year-end ranking. The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 1 was the top dollar graphic novel in comic stores in 2012.
Marvel’s Avengers Vs. X-Men and Marvel NOW! titles took the rest of the top ten comic slots for the year. DC had two Batman volumes (Batman: Earth One and Batman: The Court of Owls) and Top Shelf had one (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen III: Century: #3) to round out the top ten slots in the graphic novel chart.
Market share rankings were unchanged through #7, although there were some shifts in share percentages. Marvel, which took the #1 share slot in comic stores, lost over 3% of share vs. 2011, as stiffer competition from DC and a two-point jump by Image made it more competitive for the top publisher in a growing market (final, year-end figures haven’t been released yet, but Diamond indicated that the final growth rate would be between 14 and 15%).
The Big Two collectively lost 2.7% of market share to smaller publishers in 2012, wiht a 3%+ decline by Marvel not offset by a small increase by DC.
Image Comics gained over 2% of market share, primarily driven by The Walking Dead but also fueled by Saga and a generally good year.
IDW Publishing gained nearly a point of share, with My Little Pony topping off a very good year for its licensed books, extending its lead over Dark Horse Comics for the #4 slot. Read more
As we reported back in October when the deal was announced, the geek culture company with the most at stake in the Disney-Lucasfilm deal may be Dark Horse, which has published Star Wars comics for over 20 years (see "Will ‘Star Wars’ Comics Stay at Dark Horse?"). We may now have the answer to Disney’s intentions, as Disney-watching blog Blue Sky Disney has reported that the Dark Horse license is up after 2013, and will not be renewed. The report indicates that Marvel will begin publishing Star Wars comics (again) in 2015, when Star Wars Episode 7 premieres. If accurate, that would give some time for Dark Horse to sell down its inventory and to clear the channel of Dark Horse Star Wars products before Marvel’s start shipping.
While the blog is not an official source, it would fit what Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson said when the Disney-Lucasfilm deal was announced, which was that "Star Wars will be with us for the near future."
Dark Horse does have some positive prospects from one of its other cash cows, as two films based on Frank Miller comics are scheduled to release in 2013: Sin City 2 is shooting for a release in August (see "New Manute in ‘Sin City 2′"), and the sequel to 300 is scheduled to release in October (see "New Title for ’300′ Sequel").
The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman told Comic Book Resources this week that digital sales are now 25% to 30% of his comic and graphic novel sales. "[W]hen it started at comiXology, we were doing 5% and as we’ve continued to work with comiXology and branched out into other digital platforms, we’ve seen digital sales go from 5% of print sales to we’re getting close to 25 to 30% of print sales," he said. Kirkman said he was also seeing the trend on his other titles, such as Invincible.
Of course, the print versions are also bestsellers, both in the bookstore market (see "Nothing Can Stop ‘The Walking Dead’") and the comic store market (see "Top 300 Graphic Novels–November 2012").
Digital sales of 25% to 30% of total sales are higher than other publishers have been reporting (see, for example, "Interview with IDW’s Ted Adams," in which Adams revealed earlier this year that digital was 10% of IDW’s sales). But media-driven properties have been among the bestselling digital comics, perhaps because digital comics are easier to find for consumers that don’t regularly visit comic or book stores.
Kirkman said that the show was also driving new consumers into comic stores. "I’m hearing from lot of comic book shops that there are new people that they haven’t seen before coming in and seeking out The Walking Dead comics," he said.
The show is currently in a break between the first and second halves of its third season, and is the #1 show, cable or broadcast, for adults 18 to 49 (see "‘TWD’ the Top Fall Series").
–Disclosure: ICv2 has a business relationship with comiXology as a representative for its Retailer Tools; ICv2 CEO Milton Griepp also serves on the board of comiXology.