Monthly Archives: December 2006

Bechdel’s FUN HOME Time’s Book of the Year!

Blog entry by Jeff

This is the story of 2006:  A comic book has been named Time’s Book Of The Year.  It was announced a week ago that Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel FUN HOME topped the list of best books – - not just GNs – - but of all books.  You can read about it on Heidi MacDonald’s blog The Beat. Heidi has a picture of Alison and some links, including to an interview with the cartoonist reacting to the announcement, and the Time article itself. We are in new territory. Congratulations, Alison!

Happy Holidays!

Blog entry by Jeff

Merry Christmas, everyone!  This is downtown Montreal. I attended the Book Fair there in November and it was the first time I’d been to this beautiful city of cathedrals, glass and tree covered hills. I've fallen a little behind on my travel blog, so it's time to catch up…

World Tour: Montreal, Canada. 

That first night I went out with Tom Devlin and Chris Oliveros from Drawn & Quarterly. They took me to a little tappas place on St. Laurent, the main drag in downtown Montreal.  These guys are heroes of mine; D&Q was part of that first wave of publishers that treated comics like books worthy of good design and real world distribution. There is a new interview up right now with Chris Oliveros over on Tom Spurgeon’s site, The Comics Reporter. Here's a short excerpt:

SPURGEON: Are you selling a greater percentage of your books in the book market versus the direct market than you were last year?

OLIVEROS: I hear a lot about comic retailers ordering through the book market. I know that stores like DreamHaven and Quimby's order straight from our FSG rep, while there are probably countless comic shops that order from Baker & Taylor. So the lines are blurred. But yes, compared to ten years ago, most of our books go out through the book market. I would estimate that 1/4-1/3 of each title is sold through direct market venues, the rest being the book market. However, I still view the direct market as being essential and valuable to the continued growth of comics. There are still a number of stores like Jim Hanley's, Comic Relief, Chicago Comics, the Beguiling, Rocketship and so on who can be counted on to have the best and most informed selections of comics and graphic novels — something that is still uneven in many book chains."

To read the whole interview, click here and go to The Comics Reporter.

Tom and Chris also gave me a copy of one of their new titles: Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strips. The book is gorgeous, and is flat out the best Moomin book I've ever seen. Tove Jansson was a natural cartoonist. These strips are clever, gentle, witty, and completely engrossing.  I can’t wait for the next volume to come out.

Saturday at the show began with my being surprised at the size of the event – - the hall was huge! More like what you would expect from a national show.

The Saturday signings were fun and filled with lots of kids and families… well as other cartoonists!  That’s Johane Matte from FLIGHT standing in line with her Bone book held aloft.  She didn’t need to stand in line since we had plans later on – - but she likes to support her pals! Thanks, Johanne.

Isabelle Jodoin and Marc-Andre Audet from Modus Vivendi/Presses Adventure, my French Canadian publisher.

Either my pen is flashing magic lightning, or this kid has some reflective materiel on his jacket. I hope it's magic lightning.

Saturday night we had wine, cheese and cold cuts at Johane’s apartment. 

From L to R, Azad Injejikian, also a cartoonist from FLIGHT, me, Saskia latendresse, Johanne’s roommate who baked me some flakey, gooey baklava. Cheers!

Sunday morning, Modus Vivendi founder Marc Alain took me to breakfast at Beauty's Cafe, where I saw this drawing on the wall.

Chuck Jones ate here!

Thanks to everyone. I had a great time, and I can't wait to visit again! 

Bone Game nominated for IGF Award;games and signed books up for charity raffle

Blog entry by Jeff

Just received an e-mail from Emily Morganti at Telltale Games telling me The Great Cow Race game has been nominated for an Independent Game Festival Award.  Click here to read about it on the Telltale blog.

Also Telltale has donated a BONE: The Great Cow Race game to Joystiq Raffle  that benefits the Child's Play charity, and we are sending them signed copies of the first two Scholastic books – - hardcover copies with sketches in them. But you want to enter, you'll have to hurry! There's not much time left. Click on the highlighted Joystiq Raffle!

Shazam Production Journal; Monster Societies and secret codes

Blog entry by Jeff

Not long ago, I described the 4 issue mini-series I’m working on as “Shazam: Year One”, but  that’s misleading. Shazam: Monster Society of Evil isn’t really a “Year One” project as much as it’s a remake of a nearly legendary comic book serial from the early 1940’s.  "Captain Marvel and the Monster Society of Evil" ran in monthly installments from 1943 to 1945 in Captain Marvel Adventures #22 – #46.

It was the first really long story in comic books, and it was full of cliff hangers and secret  messages that could be read only if you had a Secret Decoder Ring.   At the heart of the Monster Society are the monsters, of course, and my favorites from the original serial were the alligator people.

In the original, they were crocodile men, but because I love Albert from POGO, I made them alligator men.

Here's a couple panels from MSoE #1.

Yes, I know I misspelled savior in the first panel. I'll fix it! 

Evolution of Bone covers analyzed

Blog entry by Jeff

Chris Butcher, the manager of The Beguiling comic book shop in Toronto, has put an analysis of the Bone graphic novel covers on his blog.   It’s an interesting look at the progression from the earliest version of 1993 to the current Scholastic editions. He doesn’t have the final version of Bone 5: Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border, which is posted above… hopefully,  Chris will like this one better!

Thanks to Kean over at the FLIGHT forum for catching this.

Bone games: The Director’s Cut now available

Blog entry by Jeff

Last Spring, Telltale Games,  maker of the episodic on-line adventure games Bone, Sam & Max, and CSI: Miami,  asked me if I would be interested in taking a second pass at the first two Bone games.  They wanted to make a Director’s Cut version of Out From Boneville and The Great Cow Race.

Bone: Out From Boneville was the very first episodic adventure game and a lot of software has been developed since it was originally released, so we had an opportunity to go back in and not only update the game engine, but add new scenes and lines to smooth out the story. Out from Boneville got mixed reviews when it first appeared, but has undergone some good reassecessment of late. The Great Cow Race game received IGN’s Editors’ Choice Award and GameTunnel’s Gold award. You can read a short interview about my involvement in the Director’s Cuts on Telltale’s site.

The new Director’s Cut editions of the games are available now for free if you already own them, and for a short time will be offered together for $19.99. Normally they are $12. 99 each.

Here's an excerpt from the Telltale's press release: 

‘Customers who have already purchased the Bone games from Telltale can upgrade to the new versions for no additional charge. Instructions for doing so are available at
"We've learned a lot about making episodic games since Out from Boneville came out," says Telltale CTO Kevin Bruner. "In the Director's Cut editions, we've brought the Bone games into our updated game engine and also made some content changes that we weren't able to do the first time around. The great thing about digital distribution is that it's really easy for us to get these improvements out, not only to new customers, but also to all of the customers who have already bought the Bone games."

The Director's Cuts were created in close collaboration with Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone graphic novels, and include updates to the core game engine and the addition of new content. Features include:

-A new animated prologue at the beginning of Out from Boneville, which provides backstory and establishes the episode in a larger context.

-Updated voice acting and character model for female protagonist Thorn in Out from Boneville, to more closely resemble her characterization in The Great Cow Race.

-Technical improvements, such as scalable resolutions and better game stability.  

-Added dialogue lines to improve story flow and enhance character development.’