Friday, February 03, 2012

3,000 Students Attend Red Tails Screening for
Black History Month

“The movie inspired the students, challenged them and encouraged
them to persevere. On our ride home they chanted ‘we fight, we fight.’ I asked what are we fighting for
and they responded their education and future.” – Principal Germaine Jackson DeCree,
Lou Dantzler High School

TORRANCE, CA. – To launch Black History Month, 3,000 students from Southern California School Districts attended a screening of Red Tails across 18 screens at the AMC Del Amo Theatre on February 1, 2012. The George Lucas-produced action-adventure film is inspired by the true story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first all-African American military aviators and support crew in history who served with distinction in World War II. Joining the students were original Tuskegee Airmen and members of the film’s cast.
The event came courtesy of the Variety Children’s Charity and was organized by Wini Jackson, an advocate in service to children. “Everyone came out of the movie with an appreciation and understanding of the heroic contributions of the Airmen,” said Jackson.  “I heard students say to the original Tuskegee Airmen that were in attendance, ‘Thank you for what you did for us.’”
Ted Lumpkin and Levi Thornhill, both original Tuskegee Airmen, recounted their experiences to students, offering wise advice. “Education is the key,” said Thornhill. “Pay attention. If you got that, you don’t have to worry. You’ll never go hungry.”
Educators agreed that the action-packed film connected with the students. “The power of cinema held their attention,” said Dolores Sheen, Principal of Sheenway School and Culture Center. “Some asked if there was a second part to the story.  I told them that they were the second part to the story.”
“I used to be a person who thought I couldn’t achieve things but I see that people achieve things no matter what.  It doesn’t matter where you come from or what color you are or the race,” said eighth grader Maria Hernandez.

In attendance were Red Tails actors Nate Parker, Andre Royo and Marcus T. Paulk.  “Seeing those 3,000-plus young people engaged in a film that promotes excellence, education and perseverance was an indescribable feeling!” said Parker. He especially applauded the contributions that made a school event like this possible. “I was deeply moved to learn that one gentleman made this event possible with his generous donation to Variety. It is my hope to see that more people like him join forces to ensure that other underserved youth across the nation have an opportunity to see Red Tails during Black History Month.”
In theaters now, Red Tails is directed by Anthony Hemingway and executive produced by George Lucas.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

February 2, MILWAUKIE, OR—Eisner and Harvey Award–winning duo Juan Díaz Canales and Juanjo Guarnido are back with another incredible tale to shock and awe crime-fiction fans and comics-art aficionados alike! 
Detective John Blacksad returns, with a new case that takes him to a 1950s New Orleans filled with hot jazz and cold-blooded murder! Hired to discover the fate of a celebrated pianist, Blacksad finds his most dangerous mystery yet in the midst of drugs, voodoo, the rollicking atmosphere of Mardi Gras, and the dark underbelly that it hides!
Dark Horse’s Blacksad collection is already in its fourth printing, with 20,000 copies sold. Artist Juanjo Guarnido was voted the winner of the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Painter, and Blacksad Volume 1 won the Harvey Award for Best American Edition of Foreign Material.
“A lovingly crafted homage to the Hammett-Chandler chestnuts of old . . . and Guarnido’s watercolor panels feel like the unearthed film-noir storyboards of a master...A.”—Entertainment Weekly
Blacksad: A Silent Hell features an extensive making-of section, with tons of prelim sketches and watercolor studies, written by artist Juanjo Guarnido! This volume also includes two never-before-collected Blacksad short stories!
Blacksad: A Silent Hell is on sale July 11, 2012.

About Dark Horse Comics
Since 1986, Dark Horse Comics has proven to be a solid example of how integrity and innovation can help broaden a unique storytelling medium and establish a small, homegrown company as an industry giant. The company is known for the progressive and creator-friendly atmosphere it provides for writers and artists. In addition to publishing comics from top talent like Frank Miller, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Gerard Way, Will Eisner, and best-selling prose author Janet Evanovich, Dark Horse has developed such successful characters as the Mask, Timecop, and the Occultist. Additionally, its highly successful line of comics and products based on popular properties includes Star Wars, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Aliens, Conan the BarbarianMass Effect, Serenity, and Domo. Today, Dark Horse Comics is the largest independent comic-book publisher in the United States and is recognized as both an innovator in the cause of creator rights and the comics industry’s leading publisher of licensed material.

Opening with a keynote address from Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson on Friday night that will include some exclusive announcements, the programming at the upcoming Image Expo on February 24-26 in Oakland, California features some of comics’ most creative personalities discussing the industry’s hottest topics, as well as talking about their own work.
The programming ranges from large event panels, like those with
Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples and The Walking Dead superstar Robert Kirkman, to small, intimate workshops with the Image Comics founders that will require advance registration to attend. Panels on topics such as women in comics, writing and art, and comics on TV will offer cogent conversation; and workshops on retailing, combating censorship, writing, and design will engage with attendees’ creativity and passion for comics. And, of course, there will be an Image Comics 20th Anniversary panel that will reunite seven of Image Comics’ founders to talk about the future of comics and reminisce about their decision to leave work-for-hire behind for independent creator ownership.
A full list of programming follows.

Image Comics is a comic book and graphic novel publisher founded in 1992 by a collective of best-selling artists. Image has since gone on to become one of the largest comics publishers in the United States. Image currently has five partners: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino. It consists of five major houses: Todd McFarlane Productions, Top Cow Productions, Shadowline, Skybound and Image Central. Image publishes comics and graphic novels in nearly every genre, sub-genre, and style imaginable. It offers science fiction, romance, horror, crime fiction, historical fiction, humor and more by the finest artists and writers working in the medium today. For more information, visit

Image Expo is the premier Northern California comics convention in 2012. The three-day event takes place at the Oakland Convention Center February 24, 25 and 26. Celebrating the creative spirit of independence, Image Expo commemorates the twentieth anniversary of the formation of Image Comics. But more than just looking to the past, the event showcases the evolving the comic market by spotlighting the future of independent publishing.
Headline guests include Image Comics Founders & Partners Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. Special guests for Image Comic Expo include Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples, Blair Butler, Ed Brubaker, Joe Casey, John Layman, Jonathan Hickman, and many more!


6 p.m.
Keynote Address
Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson welcomes you to Image Expo, the comics convention that celebrates independent creativity. Expect some incisive commentary as only Stephenson can provide, plus some exclusive announcements.


11 a.m
Womanthology: What Zeitgeist?
It's no secret that diversity in comics takes up a large part of the critical discussion of the medium online. How does gender relate to who is telling a story, what story they're choosing to tell, and how that story is perceived by an audience? Womanthology started as an online discussion, then quickly blossomed into a full-fledged idea. And from there it went on to be one of the most successful comics projects on Kickstarter. Join some of the contributors and editors to discuss the experience of making Womanthology, the role of women in comics, as well the need for more anthologies that feature new creators from a variety of backgrounds. Plus, jokes about giant crab attacks and superheroes wearing underwear.
Panelists: Bonnie Butler, Mariah Huehner, Trina Robbins, Nicole Sixx, Fiona Staples
Moderator: Blair Butler

12 p.m.
Stories and Scripts: Writing Comics
How do comics readers get their vision from their minds, to script, to the drawn page? What do you need to know about successful collaboration with artists? Some of comics’ best writers will talk about the challenges, triumphs, and idiosyncrasies of the comics creative process. Find out how comics like Fatale, Haunt, Chew, Morning Glories and Saga are conceived, written, and brought to the printed page from the writers who knew them from “PAGE ONE, PANEL ONE.”
Panelists: Ed Brubaker, Steve Seagle, Joe Casey, Jonathan Hickman, John Layman, Nick Spencer, and Brian K. Vaughan
Moderator: Richard Starkings

1 p.m
Twenty Years of Independence: The Image Comics 20th Anniversary Panel
Twenty years ago, a group of young artists left their work-for-hire jobs to forge their own path in comics. The result was Image Comics, a publisher dedicated to creators’ individual visions and a champion of creative ownership. The Image Comics partners and some of the original founders now come together to talk about that momentous meeting of minds and talent.
Panelists: Robert Kirkman, Erik Larsen, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino
Moderator: Eric Stephenson

2 p.m.
Saga: A Conversation with Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
One of the most-anticipated new comics of 2012 is Saga, by best-selling writer Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Pride of Baghdad) and the amazing artist Fiona Staples (Northlanders, Jonah Hex). The sweep of the series is epic, but its emotions are intimate: a forbidden romance and a young family on the run, set against the backdrop of galactic war and racial hatred. Vaughan and Staples will talk about the conception of their gorgeous new comic, the creative process, and the overwhelming response that it has gotten from the media months before its first issue even hits stores.
Panelists: Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

3 p.m.
From Page to Screen: Comics on TV
How do producers go about translating comics for the small screen? How does working in comics compare to working in television? A panel of comics creators who have worked in television — whether as producers like Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Brian K. Vaughan (Lost), writers like Jay Faerber (Ringer), creators like Joe Casey (Ben 10) and Todd McFarlane (Spawn), or a little bit of everything like Blair Butler — will assemble to talk about the ins and outs of the industry.
Panelists: Blair Butler, Joe Casey, Jay Faerber, Robert Kirkman, Todd McFarlane, and Brian K. Vaughan

4 p.m.
The Talking Dead Live
Is watching the recap talk show The Talking Dead after every episode of The Walking Dead part of your weekly viewing ritual? Then you won’t want to miss this panel! Chris Hardwick sits down with creator of The Walking Dead comic and executive producer of the hit AMC television series Robert Kirkman and actor Steven Yeun, who plays the fan-favorite character Glenn, for a lively conversation with The Talking Dead host Chris Hardwick about the latest shocking plot twists and what it’s like working on a show that has taken the world by storm.
Panelists: Robert Kirkman and Steven Yeun
Moderator: Chris Hardwick

5 p.m.
Spotlight on Chew
How does it feel for your comic book about an FDA agent who gathers clues by eating things — including people — to sell out, become a critical darling, win multiple awards, and appear on a New York Times bestseller list? Wait, how do you even come up with the idea for a comic about a cibopathic police-officer-turned-food-plant-inspector? You have questions about Chew. Creators Rob Guillory and John Layman just might be the right guys to answer them.
Panelists: Rob Guillory and John Layman

6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Warren Ellis sees the future. He is a comic book writer and cyberpunk philosopher living on the edge of tomorrow. He speaks to a cult audience of artists, journalists, scientists and fans who hail him as Internet Jesus. The new film Captured Ghosts features the most extensive interview Ellis has ever given, covering his life from his first memory watching the moon landing as a child, to his recent cross-media success with the film adaptation of Red. Along the way, Ellis' acerbic wit and core belief in humanity come across like never before. Complimenting Ellis' own words are interviews with his artistic collaborators, friends and admirers from across all media. Ellis' comic book collaborators also provide insight into Ellis' mind and creative workings. The film features numerous ambient interludes that spotlight Ellis' prose and writing from both his online columns and his comics.


Instructions for Workshops
Admission to workshop panels is limited and attendees will require tickets for entry. Tickets for each panel may be picked up at the Image Comics booth no sooner than one hour before the workshop begins. Tickets are given out on a first-come, first-served basis and quantities are limited.

11 a.m. - 12 p.m.
MAN OF ACTION: Ben 10 and Explosive Creativity
Join two of animation’s most influential creators as they talk about their creation - Ben 10 - the story of a shape-shifting boy that burst on to Cartoon Network and now boasts hit television series, movies, and video games all over the world. What’s in store for MAN OF ACTION? Founding members Joe Casey & Steven T. Seagle talk Ben 10, Generator Rex, their upcoming TV shows and the Image Comics projects all rolling out of their action-filled creative development company!
Panelists: Joe Casey and Steven Seagle

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Pro Tips with Todd McFarlane
In a world of comic book icons, comic superstar Todd McFarlane and his creation Spawn have clearly stood the test of time. Now McFarlane himself is inviting aspiring creators and fans to an extended workshop where he'll share behind-the-scenes tips and tricks about his creative process. Armed with a Wacom and more than 20 years of experience as one of the most successful pros in the business, McFarlane will show fans how to unleash their own creative beast within!

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Putting Words in Their Mouths: The Art of Lettering
With over 150 fonts in his Comicraft library, chances are you’ve read a comic lettered with a font designed by Richard Starkings. Join him, Chew co-creator and letterer John Layman, and letterer J.G. Roshell for a workshop on creating professional, pleasing lettering.
Panelists: Richard Starkings, John Layman and J.G. Roshell

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Image Introduces...
Some of Image Comics’ most exciting new creators assemble to talk about their new work and life as independent comics creators. Join the creators of Moriarty, Li’l Depressed Boy, Hell Yeah!, Witch Doctor, Peter Panzerfaust, and Skullkickers for an eye-opening conversation about what it’s really like to work in comics.
Panelists: Daniel Corey, Sina Grace, Joe Keatinge, Brandon Seifert, Kurtis Wiebe, Steven Struble, and Jim Zubkavich

12 p.m. - 1 p.m.
Retailing the New Generation of Comics
With creator-owned hits like The Walking Dead, Morning Glories, and Chew grabbing their places on the sales charts and bringing in new readers to comic shops, the comics industry is excited about new titles and new ideas. What are the best retailers in comics doing to strengthen and support the creator-owned comic revolution while competing with faceless online outlets or big box bookstores? If you're a comic creator, retailer or fan, we'll help you understand how to stay on top of the next wave of hidden gems.
PANELISTS: Brian Hibbs (Comix Experience), Steve (Third Eye), James Sime (Isotope), Todd Martinez (Image Comics), Jim Zub (Skullkickers)

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Crossing the Line: Twenty Years of Shadowline
Join Jim Valentino and some Shadowline superstars for a rollicking question-and-answer session about Shadowline Comics past, present and future — plus dancing bears and a few surprises. Well, maybe not the bears (but we'll try).
Panelists: Jim Valentino, Jimmie Robinson, Kurtis Wiebe, Tyler Jenkins, Joshua Williamson and Jade Dodge

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Portfolio Reviews with Erik Larsen (a.k.a. Larsen Tears You a New One)

Image Comics partner and Savage Dragon creator Erik Larsen, will be imparting artistic wisdom via no-holds-barred portfolio reviews... for those that have the guts! A random drawing will be done during the workshop to determine which aspiring artists in attendance will be chosen to have the brutal light of truth shine upon their work. Larsen's ready to tell you what he really thinks! Can you handle it?

1 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Design Workshop with Jonathan Hickman
The creator of The Nightly News, Pax Romana, A Red Mass for Mars, and the upcoming Secret and The Manhattan Projects will address the basics of making your work stand out: cover design, book design, design strategies, personal branding, and understanding what appeals to your market.

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Top Cow Panel
Top Cow: We Create... REBIRTH
2012 is the best time EVER to jump into the Top Cow Universe with Rebirth. Get the scoop on what's changed, what remains the same, and where things are headed for the rest of the year. Get behind-the-scenes information on the making of The Darkness II video game and be the first to hear about what exciting new projects Top Cow has lined up for their 20th anniversary! Plus special surprise guests and a free giveaway for every attendee. Moo!
Panelists: Marc Silvestri, Matt Hawkins, Filip Sablik, and Joshua Hale Fialkov

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
Jim Valentino Workshop
Shadowline publisher and Image co-founder Jim Valentino discusses what he's looking for in new projects, the founding of Image, and his work with the Hero Initiative. He will be doing portfolio reviews with a donation to the Hero Initiative ONLY. We will have a donation jar in the room.

2 p.m. - 3 p.m.
CBLDF: The History (and Future) of Comics Censorship
Learn the shocking history of comics censorship and how even today comics and the people who make, sell and read them are still threatened.  CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein tells the sordid tale, from the public book burnings and Senate hearings that led to the Comics Code Authority in the 1950s through the attacks on retailers in the 1980s, artists in the 1990s, and readers today that the CBLDF is working to combat!

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Portfolio Reviews with Whilce Portacio
Whilce Portacio, creator of Wetworks and current artist on Incredible Hulk, will offer thoughtful tips and critiques for artists looking to break into the comic book industry. A random drawing will determine which lucky artists will get a personal review during the workshop. Bring your portfolio for an hour of a guidance from a master of the medium!

3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Writing Workshop with John Layman
The writer of the best-selling comic Chew (drawn by Rob Guillory) will talk about the fundamentals of crafting a story, drafting a script, and effectively communicating your intentions to artists.

3 p.m. 4 p.m.
Take to the Sky: Skybound and the Next Generation of Independence
Things continue to look up for Skybound, Robert Kirkman's imprint at Image Comics. The premiere original Witch Doctor has sold out nationwide, the all-ages hit Super Dinosaur  continues to soar, and And Kirkman’s first-ever writer’s room-driven crime drama, Thief of Thieves, is a critical success… what’s next? Join Robert Kirkman as he discusses the future of the imprint with his stable of creators, including the creative teams behind Witch Doctor, Thief of Thieves, and more! Expect only AWESOMENESS.
Panlists: Robert Kirkman, Brandon Seifert, and Nick Spencer

4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Robert Kirkman Q&A
Kirkman, one of the most successful writers in comics today, best known for his work on The Walking Dead, Invincible, and Haunt, will offer fans some insight into the genius behind their favorite hit comics. After becoming an Image Comics partner in 2009, introducing the internationally renowned hit TV show based on the comic, The Walking Dead on AMC, and recently announcing an upcoming video game adaptation of the same series from TellTale Games, he has proven to be an unstoppable creative force.

4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Covers and an Eye for Talent: Marc Silvestri Workshop
Join Top Cow founder, Image partner, and top industry artist Marc Silvestri as he takes a look at two facets that have helped define his career. Silvestri is best known in the industry as a highly-sought cover artist and as an incredible mentor for young artists who have come through his studio system at Top Cow. In this intimate workshop, Marc will present his thoughts on what makes a dynamic, memorable cover using his own pieces as examples and also tell young, aspiring artists what he looks for in undiscovered talent. Find out what draws the eye of the man who discovered Michael Turner, David Finch, Joe Benitez, Francis Manapul, Mike Choi, and many, many others!

4 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Creating Living Legend: Eric Shanower and Age of Bronze
Relive the Trojan War in Age of Bronze, Eric Shanower’s award-winning comics version of the world's greatest story. With words and pictures, Shanower will detail his creative process from initial idea, through research into literary sources and archaeological remains, to writing and drawing comics pages and coloring for the digital edition.

Berkeley, CA – February 2  – Top Cow Productions, Inc. is proud to announce that the winner of the Pilot Season 2011 event is Jeremy Haun’s and Jason Hurley's THE BEAUTY.

THE BEAUTY beat out seven other competitors to take the Pilot Season crown in the most competitive voting period in the history of Pilot Season. This year saw the adoption of elimination-style voting as titles competed over three rounds to determine the overall winner. At the deadline, nearly one million votes total had been cast by fans for the Pilot Season 2011 titles. Other Pilot Season 2011 contenders included THEORY OF EVERYTHING by Dan Casey, Nick Nantell and Thomas Nachlik, ANONYMOUS by Matt Hawkins, Alan McElroy and Michael Montenat, MISDIRECTION by Filip Sablik and Chris DiBari, THE TEST by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal, SERAPH by Lance Briggs, Phil Hester and Jose Luis, FLESHDIGGER by Shannon Eric Denton, Brad Keene and Alex Sanchez and CITY OF REFUGE by Morgan Davis Foehl and Dennis Calero.

In the world of THE BEAUTY, a new STD spreads across the world, but this is a disease you want to catch. It makes all infected people unspeakably attractive. But after the world's face-lift, two detectives discover some nasty, undesirable side effects. Will the world decide to stay beautiful at an unspeakable cost, or resign themselves to an ordinary-looking life?

With THE BEAUTY having been declared the official winner, the creative team will now work with Top Cow's editorial department to plan out the full series.

"Now that we've won we're going to be able to finish the story. I'm really excited to do that. It's exciting to be co-writing and drawing something like this," said Haun. "The process is surprisingly fast and a hell of a lot of fun. The trick of it is going to be balancing work on The Beauty with my regular art duties on The Darkness monthly book. Luckily, they're both books that I absolutely love. It also doesn't hurt that I just love to work. As crazy as it may seem, drawing two books is kind of my idea of fun.”

"Winning Pilot Season is easily the biggest moment of my career so far, and I couldn't be happier. It was a hard-fought battle, but thanks to all of the fans of The Beauty, we came out on top," exclaimed Hurley. "I can't wait to get back to work on the book. We've got a lot of exciting stuff planned for the future of The Beauty, and since we've won Pilot Season, we'll be able to share all of that with our fans. More than anything, I just want to send a huge thank you out to all of our family, friends, and fans for their support throughout the entire voting process. It's thanks to them that we're able to continue The Beauty."

This PILOT SEASON, the fans came out in full force, crashing the first poll several times for the chance to vote for their favorite 2011 Pilot Season one-shots.  Pilot Season is an annual initiative Top Cow began in 2007, inspired by a concept from the television industry: a number of “pilot issues” are submitted for consideration to be “picked up for a season,” except instead of TV executives deciding their fates, it's the fans!

Previous winners of Pilot Season include: CYBLADE, VELOCITY, TWILIGHT GUARDIAN, GENIUS and 39 MINUTES.  The CYBLADE, VELOCITY and TWILIGHT GUARDIAN series have been released and can currently be found at your local comic book shop or through Top Cow’s digital distribution partners. 39 MINUTES and GENIUS are currently in production and  will be given release dates soon. All eight of the 2011 competitors are available at your local comic shop or through Top Cow’s digital distribution partners including comiXology, Graphicly, and iVerse. A trade paperback collecting all eight titles is planned for release in March 2012 and will carry a price of $19.99.