AM-frank-quitely-pic

A TRIP BACK THROUGH THE WIRES
In 1992, I was still at sixth form college up in Barnet but it was the year that I started TRIPWIRE. 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the magazine and so I thought, just like back in 2002, that we should do something special to mark this milestone. TRIPWIRE 20th Anniversary will be a must-buy book featuring art, rarely seen and new, from the likes of Frank Quitely, Mike Mignola, Walter Simonson, Phil Hale, Howard Chaykin, Drew Struzan, Dave Taylor, Duncan Fegredo, Chris Weston, Jon Haward, Henry Flint and more. It will also represent the cream of the interviews and features of two decades of TRIPWIRE, with everyone from Alan Moore to Frank Miller, Mike Mignola to Guillermo Del Toro featured in its pages. Additionally, TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary will include the best writing on subjects and trends that have shaped and influenced comics and its related media from 1992 to now like the best and worst comic movies, digital comics, creators who have left us, the 20 most iconic TRIPWIRE covers and the best graphic novels 1992 to 2012. Whenever I put a book together, I try to make it the sort of book that, if I wasn’t doing it, I would buy myself.
And we are putting it out in a different way to the recent Annuals and magazine issues. I had been following Unbound for a few months as I was curious about the crowdfunding model. Unbound is crowdfunding just for books, so it allows writers, authors and creative people the opportunity to get their work out there without the traditional trappings of big monolithic publishers.
TRIPWIRE 20th anniversary is up on Unbound now and we can’t publish it without people’s support. Pledges start at a very reasonable £10 for UK pledgers. That’s only about three cups of coffee these days and you’d be supporting us;). The more you pledge, the more unique collectibles you get. We are planning a Foyles event in September to commemorate this with special guests and panels.
Here’s a work in progress version of the cover design, a few interior images from some of the great artists we have in the book and a few classic TRIPWIRE covers.

If you’re at the Bristol Comic Expo this weekend (12th -13th May), then we’ll be set up so you can come by and pick up our exclusive anniversary print by Duncan Fegredo (his magnificent painting to TRIPWIRE Annual 2007)

Don’t forget: We can’t do it without you…


Marvel-avengers-poster-280212

HOUSE OF LIMITED IDEAS?

I went to see Avengers Assemble, as it is called in the UK because the Sixties TV series called The Avengers trumps Lee and Kirby’s creations. Before I begin, I just want to say that Avengers Assemble isn’t a bad film: it rolls along at a decent pace and there are moments that make you smile. But one of the big problems with gathering together half a dozen or so characters on screen means that it is nigh on impossible for any character development or much characterisation. Every review so far has been falling over themselves to declare Avengers Assemble as a movie classic, up there with the best films ever made. Now, Whedon has made a decent fist of bringing Marvel’s franchise movie creations into a single film but there are occasions when Avengers Assemble feels like The Transformers it’s okay to like. Action sequences descend into Michael Bay-style video game artifice very quickly and the mcguffin of the film, Loki bringing alien invaders to Earth to rule it, is a plot so slight that it disappears if you look at it sideways. For anyone reading this review who thinks that I am damning it because I don’t enjoy films of this kind, that is not the case. Branagh’s Thor was a fun superhero movie that offered intelligence and some well-orchestrated action and Favreau’s first Iron Man was a mainstream delight. Downey Jr’s Stark has a few zingers here, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor has a few moments that match the best that Thor had to offer and Jeremy Renner looks the part as Hawkeye. But Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow couldn’t be much less wooden if she tried and Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/ The Hulk really doesn’t have a great deal to do. Plus, Samuel Jackson’s Fury almost makes you forget that there was a time that he was an actor to contend with. There is no sign of director Joss Whedon’s smarts here and Avengers Assemble really does feel like a toy movie with some decent scenes in it, created by committee. As of writing this, it has had the third biggest opening weekend in UK cinema history so it will clean up at the box office. So Disney/ Marvel must be pleased as must its shareholders but Avengers Assemble is a likeable piece of fluff that goes out of your head almost as soon as you’ve seen it…

HEROES WORSHIP

We are just about to start planning our TRIPWIRE Special for the end of February and we have decided that, rather than just cover Heroes, we shall look at Superheroes in comics, on TV and Film. So hopefully we’ll have a Joss Whedon interview, a DC feature that chats to Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns about the current state of play in the DC Universe, a Marvel feature that chats to Brian Bendis and Ed Brubaker and also looks at Marvel in the wake of Secret Invasion. Plus we intend to talk to Gerard Way about Dark Horse’s Umbrella Academy and there should be a look at Invincible, Spawn and Savage Dragon at Image with their creators. Also, features on forthcoming comic movie Kick Ass and probably Watchmen the film will be included in its pages too. I’ll keep you posted…












SAN DIEGO ROUNDUP 2008 PART TWO
Rather than bore everyone to tears with a report of each day, I’m going to try and move along a little quicker (especially since the show ended ten days ago!). So Thursday was a good day for us: we held a TRIPWIRE panel at 10.30 in the morning which was very badly attended but it was the first morning of the first day of the show so that wasn’t surprising. With 10 copies of Studio Space to last us until lunchtime Friday, interest in the Annual was pretty high. I didn’t do as much reporting and film stuff this year because I wanted to focus on the Annual and the book, so I spent most of Thursday at the table. I had a very productive meeting with James Killen, my rep at Barnes & Noble, and Doug White, my B & N rep at Diamond Books and so B&N are taking 1000 copies of this year’s Annual, which is great. It was the first day that I attempted to find my friend Mark Chiarello, who works at DC. In fact it became a running joke that Jeff Carlisle saw him quite a few times and in fact could locate him seemingly at the drop of a hat whereas I, who have known Mark for a number of years, introduced him to artist Robert McGinnis and always have lunch with him when I go to New York, never saw him once. We had great neighbours next to us at the Image booth: Andy Suriano, artist on Image’s Charlatan’s Ball, and his wife Carlyn were both lovely people and made the show a pleasure to set up at. Thursday night I had dinner with Andy and Susie, don’t remember where, but we had tickets for some party that we blew out because we couldn’t be arsed to go to. What people don’t realise is just how exhausting San Diego is, especially if you’re set up there. You get into the hall pretty early and three of the four days, it doesn’t close until 7pm. So once you pack up and walk back to the hotel, you’re not in much of a fit state to go carousing til the early hours at night. So Thursday ended better than Wednesday because I had resigned myself to the fact that we wouldn’t be getting books until Friday. Friday was a very good day if a bit of a blur: I did two film-related roundtables, one on Watchmen and one on Star Wars: Clone Wars. At first, they wouldn’t let us take photos at Watchmen but they relented so I have some nice shots of the cast and Zach Snyder, who I gave a copy of Studio Space to. Speaking of which, the books turned up halfway through Friday, which was a relief. We did our Studio Space panel on Friday morning with Tommy Lee Edwards, Bryan Talbot and Howard Chaykin, which was pretty well-attended (although I foolishly had forgotten what time that started so I rolled up halfway through it!). I got to meet Frank Darabont, director of The Mist, and showed him a copy of the book. Also, while I was away from the table, Gary and Jeff Carlisle gave copies of the Annual and Studio Space to Joss Whedon, who was passing by, and Gabriel Macht and another guy from The Spirit. Friday night, we went to the Weta/ Dark Horse/ Gentle Giant/Lucasfilm party, where I spent an hour with Jim Steranko, discussing film, which was rather cool. I’m going to leave Saturday and Sunday for another post but here is a selection of more random photos including the ice sculpture from the Weta party, Spider-man waiting for the trolley, the crowds around the convention on Friday afternoon, some shots from the Watchmen roundtable and more…