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April 16, 2014

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New Comics Make Their Debut at San Diego Comic-Con

The cliché about Comic-Con International is that it isn’t about comics any more, but that’s not really true. While the cameras focused on people waiting in line to see the cast of Doctor Who or paying $75 to be chased through an obstacle course by zombies from The Walking Dead, the media largely overlooked a bustling comics and graphic novel scene. About 130,000 people came to this year’s event, held July 11–15 at the San Diego Convention Center.

One big announcement came just before the con: Marvel is shaking up its line (much as DC did last year with its New 52), with new titles debuting in October and a series of relaunches that will run through February 2013.

Dark Horse announced a new Star Wars monthly comic that’ll be written by Brian Wood (The New York Four, Conan the Barbarian) and will be set between two Star Wars films, Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

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Bloody Chester

Graphic novel publisher First Second books debuted Bloody Chester, a horror story set in the Old West, and hosted signings by Nate Powell, Faith Erin Hicks, and others. Hicks is illustrating a new book for First Second, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, about a high school robotics team.

The Bolt City booth was home base for a number of YA graphic novel creators, including Raina Telgemeier (Smile), who had advance copies of her latest book, Drama, and Dave Roman and John Green (Teen Boat).

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The Deep

Creator Tom Taylor came all the way from Australia to promote The Deep, an adventure story about a family of underwater explorers who live in a submarine. The first volume won an Aurealis Award, Australia’s literary award for speculative fiction, for Best Illustrated Book.

And standing a little aloof from the Babymouse and Lunch Lady graphic novels at the Random House booth was one lone copy of the graphic adaptation of Jeanne DuPrau’s City of Ember, due out in September.

Namco Bandai turned a nearby hotel pavilion into an arcade featuring classic video games to promote its new webcomics site, ShiftyLook, which publishes game-based webcomics by a number of creators, including Jimmy Palmiotti, Ben McCool, Dean Haspiel, and Jim Zubkavich.

In the manga department, Kodansha was promoting the sixth volume of its best-seller Sailor Moon with giveaway posters; the other featured book was its new series, Attack on Titan.

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Interview with a Vampire

Yen Press announced several new titles, including graphic-novel adaptations of James Patterson’s Zoo, Ransom Riggs’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, and Brent Weeks’s The Way of Shadows. At its booth, Yen was promoting its adaptation of Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire as well as the Japanese title Alice in the Country of Hearts, a series that was left unfinished by the demise of Tokyopop. Yen has published the complete series in three omnibus volumes. Seven Seas featured several related Alice in the Country of Clover manga at its booth alongside its homegrown graphic novels, Amazing Agent Luna and Vampire Cheerleaders.

Viz Media announced two additions to Shonen Jump Alpha, its digital magazine: Blue Exorcist, which Viz is already publishing in print, and a new series, Takama-ga-hara, which only recently launched in Japan. And the digital manga site JManga revealed plans for an unlimited-access manga site featuring single manga chapters that can be read for free.

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Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand

Comic-Con is the setting for the Eisner Awards, and this year’s award in the young adult category went to Vera Brosgol’s Anya, published by First Second. The graphic novel adaptation of Jim Henson’s screenplay Tale of Sand won three awards, as did the Marvel series Daredevil.

Oh, and budding comics creator Shia LaBeouf, whose day job has something to do with movies, made a surprise appearance at the con, sharing a booth with Keith Knight. This is the second time LaBeouf has done that; he had a table in Artists Alley at C2E2 last April as well.

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  1. Jack Baur says:

    Nice write-up! You’re absolutely spot-on about the media — and much of the audience — wanting to portray ComicCon as not for comics anymore. On the one hand I’m sympathetic to that; as a person who is there solely for the comics I get annoyed about people clamoring for whoever is in Hall H and having the navigate the floor past the ridiculous media booths. I also don’t like the fact that many, many comic book fans can’t get in now that tickets sell out in 3 minutes and registration regularly crashes the servers. On the other hand, if ComicCon isn’t about comics, how did I manage to spend 600 bucks on comic books there, and walk away with autographs from people like Bill Scienkewicz, Dave McKean, Ed Brubaker, Scott Snyder, etc. etc.?