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Picks of the Week: January 22, 2014

Book of the Week

QU33R HC, including work by Amanda Verwey, Annie Murphy, Carrie McNinch, Christine Smith, Diane DiMassa, Edie Fake, Jennifer Camper, Kris Dresen, L. Nichols, Marian Runk, MariNaomi, and Nicole Georges

Edited by Ignatz-Award-nominated editor Robert Kirby, QU33R is an all-new 33-contributor anthology featuring a cross-generational lineup up of LGBTQ cartoonists. Where No Straight Lines set down our history, QU33R shines a light on the future. QU33R features over 240 pages of new comics from a cross-generational lineup of award-winning LGBTQ cartoonists including Jennifer Camper, Howard Cruse, Diane DiMassa, Edie Fake, Nicole Georges, Ed Luce, and more.

~Preview~

Singles of the Week

ElfQuest: Final Quest #1, co-written and art by Wendy Pini

The Wolfriders’ chief, Cutter, knows that change is coming. His tribe’s proximity to the Palace of the High Ones, a mysterious and magical oasis, makes this inevitable. As Cutter’s daughter Ember, chief of her own tribe, shares her father’s efforts to preserve the old ways amongst their kin, the human tyrant, Angrif Djun, ascends the mountain her clan call home and rocks the foundation of their peaceful existence.

~Preview~

Hacktivist #1, co-written by Alyssa Milano

WHY WE LOVE IT: From the creative mind of Alyssa Milano, with artist Marcus To (Huntress, Red Robin), and writers Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, Hacktivist is a fastpaced cyberthriller about friendship and freedom in a time war.

WHY YOU WILL LOVE IT: Fantastic characters and stunning action set pieces, beautifully illustrated by Marcus To (Cyborg 009, Red Robin) and Eisnernominated colorist Ian Herring (Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand).

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft are young, brilliant, and the cofounders of YourLife, a social networking company that has changed the way the world stays connected. In secret, these best friends are also “sve_Urs3lf,” the largest, whitehat hacking group on the planet, exposing information and sparking revolutions across the globe.

~Preview~

My Little Pony: Friends Forever #1, written by Alex de Campi, art by Carla Speed McNeil, colors by Jenn Manley Lee

Introducing a brand new ongoing series! Dedicated to exploring the magic that arises from the friendship of two different ponies, prepare for anything in this fun-filled team-team up comic! Our first pony pairing features none other than Applejack and Pinkie Pie! When the two enter a baking contest, you can bet the culinary hijinks are going to get messy!

~Preview~

Collection of the Week

Basil and Victoria: London Guttersnipes HC, art by Édith Grattery

London, 1887. While the British Empire is at its peak and influences the majority of the world, the majority of the population of London lives amid poverty and crime. Basil and Victoria are part of the thousands of orphans who survive by selling rats and whose only home is the docks. Helped by Cromwell, their faithful watchdog, the trio will wander from the streets of Whitechapel to lands far and wide, meet famous historical and literary figures along the way, and all the while bicker lovingly. Edith and the legendary Yann have created a magnificent and funny social fable in pure Dickensian tradition.

~Preview~ (pdf)

Weekly roundup of cool news: March 3-9, 2013

Here’s a new feature I’m trying, to draw attention to some of the news things I curate elsewhere and also get to talk about them more in-depth.

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Red Sonja roundup: As you’ve probably heard, Gail Simone is going to be writing that “iconic non-DC female character” Red Sonja for Dynamite starting in July, and she gave a ton of interviews on the subject with Comic Book Resources, Comics Beat, GeekMom, and MTV Geek. Though for my money, Simone’s best quote comes from the press release:

What I love about Sonja is that she isn’t polite, she says what she means and if you give her any lip about it, hello, sword in the gut. She’s smart, she has a heart, she has some compassion. But when it’s go time, she’s a hellraiser, a mad general, she’s a sword edge virtuosa, she’s death on wheels. She is the woman you never want to mess with. I can relate, Sonja. No offense to all her guy writers, but THIS Red Sonja is about sex and swords! It’s everything you love about Red Sonja, except with more monsters getting stabbed in the eye.

We’ll be getting covers from Fiona Staples, Nicola Scott, Jenny Frison, Colleen Doran, and Stephanie Buscema

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Penny Arcade’s Strip Search, a web reality series searching for the “next big webcartoonist” is three episodes in now. The winner will be getting $15,000 and will be “embedded” in the Penny Arcade offices for a year. In the first episode, contestant Katie Rice voiced relief at seeing just one other woman, but it turned out half of the original 12 contestants were women! I’d like to think that’s a nice little microcosm of the current direction of comics. The other women contestants are Abby Howard, Amy Falcone, Erika Moen (which frankly doesn’t even seem fair to the rest), Lexxy Douglas, and Monica Ray.

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Though I meant what I said the other day about not expecting women to make comics about (predominantly) Women’s Issues, they can and I’d like to share a few that have. Paula Knight talks about talking about miscarriage and the comics she’s made to deal with hers. This reminded me of Diane Noomin’s comic about her four miscarriages, which she discusses in an audio interview with the Jewish Forward. On the other side of the ex-pregnancy coin, Samantha Meier interviewed Lora Fountain, the creator of “A Teenage Abortion”, from Wimmen’s Comix #1, published before abortion on demand was legal in the US and depicting a teenager attempting to get a back-alley abortion— a process that struck me as a dystopian fever dream, but of course was all too real. Fountain also edited Facts o’ Life Sex Education Funnies, which she also talks about. I own Facts o’ Life and find it still basically holds up except for the absence of HIV/AIDS, which was not yet a thing when it was published.

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There are ElfQuest T-shirts on WeLoveFine.com in celebration of the 35th anniversary of Wendy and Richard Pini’s classic fantasy comic. A new story is running on boingbong.

Bonus Art Thing:

Emily Carroll has a new comic up, "The 3 Snake Leaves", and you never want to miss a new Emily Carroll comic.

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A year ago, Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes produced this fan trailer for Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest. At the time, the film rights were held by Warner Brothers. But then in January, WB let the rights lapse and return back to the Pinis (they decided to put all their eggs into their Hobbit basket, with which ElfQuest shares superficial similarities).  The project had been in development hell for four years, and Wendy stated that such an outcome was not unexpected, but that “It is a relief, at last, to know.”

Then, earlier this month it was announced that none other than Thorpe and Rhodes had acquired the film rights themselves! Wendy Pini stated:

"With their deep love and understanding of the property, they represent a new direction for ‘ElfQuest,’ new creative energy and new connections in the larger media."

ElfQuest began in 1978 and ran fairly regularly until 2000, with several specials, minis, and reprints published since then.  The series takes place on a world similar to Earth, with two moons, populating by various races of elves who must learn to co-exist if they are to survive.  The entire series is available for free on the official ElfQuest website, where the Pinis also have details on how to get the series in print.  It is a fantastic way to spend long winter’s night!

Rhodes and Thorpe have a long road ahead of them, from seeking financing, to casting to actual production, editing, and distribution, and I wish them all the success in their own quest.  But I have little doubt that someday in the not-too-distant future, I will be munching popcorn while enjoying a feature-length film based on the longest-running comic co-created by a woman, with strong and varied female characters, that was produced by two women.  In both the comics and film industries, all of the above are rarities.  I am thrilled to see that at least in some corners of the entertainment industry, women can forge a place for themselves.

Yes I did post this partly in non-reaction to the James Gunn crap. What are you going to do about it? (Re-)read ElfQuest, I hope.

Warner Bros. Shuts Down ElfQuest Movie So As Not To Compete with ‘The Hobbit’

This weekend, Wendy Pini posted this to the official ElfQuest Facebook:

After close to four years of suspense - and longer than four years of your much-appreciated interest and support - the word has come down from Warner Bros. And the word is “no.” Their simple explanation is that they don’t want to compete with “The Hobbit.” This was a possibility, among several, that we were prepared for. It is a relief, at last, to know.

So…where that leaves us is that Wendy has done all she can, for three decades, with regard to an Elfquest movie. There is nothing more she can do or wants to do. As for Richard, he will continue to manage Warp Graphics’ properties and pursue publishing and licensing opportunities.

Thank you so much for all your love and encouragement. Believe us, it has not fallen on bare rock. We will spend the next few years producing Elfquest “The Final Quest.” Then, who knows? Our capacity for dreaming big has not diminished.

I can’t say that makes much sense.  Apart from the vast differences in story, it would make sense to me that Warner Brothers would want a new fantasy movie/franchise to follow up the two Hobbit movies.  Hopefully they’ll look back into it in a few years.

You can bid on this Wendy Pini Original Leetah/ElfQuest Art for Women of Wonder Day, benefiting domestic violence shelters and charities.

You can bid on this Wendy Pini Original Leetah/ElfQuest Art for Women of Wonder Day, benefiting domestic violence shelters and charities.

ElfQuest Screenplay Gets Rewrite from Doctor Who Director

According to Deadline, the quest to bring Wendy and Richard Pini’s ElfQuest to the screen has taken another step forward.  Joe Ahearne, director of five episodes of the Eccleston series of Doctor Who, and creator of Channel Four series Ultraviolet and BBC series Apparitions, has been hired by Warner Brothers to rewrite the ElfQuest screenplay first drafted by attached director Rawson Thurber (Dodgeball, Mysteries of Pittsburgh).

The Pinis have been trying to get an ElfQuest movie made for decades, and Warner Brothers has a huge hole to fill in their annual slate since the end of Harry Potter.  Perhaps this will be the successful comic book franchise WB has been looking for?

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