Archive | Comics by the Bay

OPB confirms Image Comics moving to Portland

FLymyoRc_400x400Oregon Public Broadcasting has confirmed Image Comics will move from Berkeley, Calif. to Portland, Ore. by early next year. Image publisher Eric Stephenson told OPB that a big part of the decision was due to the culture of the Bay Area changing so much. He said, “it’s become a lot more of a very corporate place.”

The arrival of Image, the third largest comics publisher, will further establish Portland as an important hub of comic-focused creativity. The City of Roses is already home to Dark Horse, Oni Press, and Top Shelf. Portland also welcomed the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund in June of this year.

Portland provides access to a pool of creators who are already part of the Image roster. “We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing, but hopefully better, thanks to our proximity to creative people,” Stephenson said.

Dozens of creators call the city home including Gail Simone, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Rucka, Joshua Williamson, Kurt Busiek and many others.

The move makes a great deal of financial sense. In the interview, Stephenson said the consideration of rent, wages, and healthcare all played a role in making the decision. The cost savings could allow the company to do more as it seeks to solidify its double-digit market share.

Image Expo unlikely to return to San Francisco

San Francisco has hosted four Image Expos over the years, but this year the company chose to try a new city and partnered with Seattle’s Emerald City Comic Con. Stephenson said Portland could be in consideration for the next Image Expo but, in the interview, was careful to note the city already has two successful comic conventions. These factors combined with San Francisco losing a significant amount of convention space in 2017 as the Moscone Center enters a significant renovation phase likely means Image Expo won’t return to our backyard anytime soon.

FCBD 2016: Bay Area Comic Shops List updated

Just in time for Free Comic Book Day I’ve updated my long outdated list of Bay Area comic book stores. The link is here and up in the menu under the directory tab. There have been two stores added since the last update. Yay! One store removed due to closure. Boo! And two address changes.

Please note, the information is pulled mostly from store Facebook pages and websites. Any errors are due to store owners not updating their websites. I also use “Bay Area” loosely because the list only encompasses (in most cases) the 15-miles around my place of residence. There are fabulous shops outside of that radius and I encourage you to explore. If you’re a shop owner and feel like you should be on this list please do feel free to contact me. My email address is


Launch: Cape and Cowl present Image+

image+ launch partyImage Comics is launching it’s newest promotional publication at the Bay Area’s newest comic shop. Cape and Cowl Comics, 1601 Clay Street in Oakland, is hosting a launch party on April 27 for the new magazine Image+. The monthly magazine will be distributed alongside the Diamond Distributors publication Previews. In addition to promoting up and coming Image titles, the magazine will feature exclusive content. The first 12 issues of Image+ will tell the backstory of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead big bad Negan. Each issue will contain four pages of an overall 48-page story. The first issue of Image+ will feature a profile of Cape and Cowl as well as interviews with creators like Marjorie Liu, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Leslie Hung.

According to an Image Comics press release:

Image+ will clock in at 64 pages and feature exclusive interviews, spotlight features, bonus never-before-seen preview pages, editorials from industry voices, and more in-depth, insightful and provocative comics coverage curated by David Brothers, Branding Manager at Image Comics.

Customers who purchase Previews will receive Image+ as an add-on. The title can also be purchased independently for $1.99.

As for the kick-off event, Cape and Cowl announced special guests including Nick Dragotta (East of West, HowToons), Jimmie Robinson (Power Lines, Five Weapons, Bomb Queen), Justin Greenwood (The Fuse, Stumptown), and Brad Simpson (Sex). Side note: Should I start listing creators as if their titles are nicknames? Jimmie “Five Weapons” Robinson! Brad “Sex” Simpson! Justin “The Fuse” Greenwood!


The party starts at 6 p.m. Food will be provided by El Super Taco Man food truck and the store will host a cash bar.

Last Gasp seeks to publish historic manga “Barefoot Gen”

Berkeley comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarterbarefootgen in an effort to print 4,000 hardcover editions of the historic World War II manga, Barefoot Gen. The manga, originally published in the mid-70s, tells the story of six-year-old Gen Nakaoka and his interactions with other survivors of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. Gen not only struggles with the horror that followed the aftermath of the bomb, but also being the son of a father who believes Japan’s participation in the war is led by the greed of the ruling class. It’s a gripping story dealing with themes of class, warfare, and power.

Last Gasp is seeking $36,000 to publish a hardcover edition of Keiji Nakazawa’s story and distribute it to schools. According to the Kickstarter “Keiji Nakazawa’s manga illustrates the true impact of nuclear weapons when used against a civilian population. It is vital reading for people of all ages, and especially for today’s youth. By keeping this tragedy in our collective consciousness, we can strive to never repeat it and guide humanity towards a course of peace.”

One interesting component of the Last Gasp Kickstarter is backers have the option of letting the publisher ship the finished product directly to a school of choice.

Signing: Kevin Wada at The Escapist on July 25

blackwidowkevinwadaWatercolor illustrator Kevin Wada is scheduled to sign at The Escapist in Berkeley on July 25. Wada, a fashion illustrator who’s turned his talents toward comics, has produced covers for titles including She-Hulk and Catwoman. The San Francisco-based illustrator was discovered by the world of comics when he started a project redesigning X-Men as fashion illustrations.


What: Signing with Kevin Wada
Where: The Escapist
3090 Claremont Ave.
Berkeley, CA
When: July 25, 1 p.m.

Signing: “Death Head” creators Zack and Nick Keller at Dr. Comics

deathhead“I heard he lures kids into the tunnel… then chokes them till their necks snap!”

Dr. Comics and Mr. Games is hosting a signing for Nick and Zack Keller as they celebrate the release of their new series Death Head. The series was announced in March by Dark Horse Comics at Emerald City Comicon. The first issue will finally hit shelves on July 15 and the Nick and Zack will be holding court at the Piedmont neighborhood comic shop on July 18 at 3 p.m.

After the Burton family discovers an ancient mask fashioned in the style of those worn by plague doctors in the 17th Century they’re soon targeted by the mask’s owner. In an interview with CraveOnline, Zack explained “there are many haunted locations, but only one Plague Doctor. Like an urban legend, everyone knows about the creature wearing the white beaked mask. However, no one truly knows what it wants, where it comes from or why it so often takes the victim’s head. These locations—the cemetery sewer, an abandoned town in the redwoods—are real places near where we grew up that have scared us since childhood. By writing this story we’re exorcising our demons and passing them on to you.”

The story is especially relevant to those of us who call Oakland home. The graffiti sewer tunnel in Mountain View Cemetery serves as inspiration for a similar tunnel which makes several appearances in the series. It might be a fun place to set up camp and read the first issue. Or not, because plague doctors.

Find Death Head on Tumblr and Facebook.
Creator Website: Zack Keller
Creator Website: Nick Keller

What: Death Head signing with Nick and Zack Keller
Where: Dr. Comics and Mr. Games
4014 Piedmont Street
Oakland, CA
When: July 15, 3 p.m.

The Advocate names “Stripling Warrior” creator Brian Andersen one of top 15 queers to watch in 2015

Stripling_Warrior_Issue_One_Page_1-374x559Hat tip to Whatever…, 548 Castro Street, for catching that Advocate named San Francisco’s comic creator Brian Andersen one of the top 15 “Queers and Allies to Watch in 2015.” Andersen has most recently been writing the series Stripling Warrior which features the world’s first gay Mormon superhero. According to Advocate “the series tells the tale of Sam Shepard, a happily out and newly married gay man whose life is changed forever after he is visited by an angel from heaven on his wedding night and is summoned to be the Hand of God on Earth.” If you’ve been looking for a title to break the superhero mold it’s quite possible you’ve unknowingly been waiting for Stripling Warrior. The title’s available online at Andersen’s website or, if you’re local to the Bay Area, at a number of our fine local comic shoppes including the aforementioned Whatever…

Call to Action: San Jose’s Slave Labor Grahics needs support from the comic community

slggraphicSlave Labor Graphics is one of the longest running independent comic producers in the industry. Over the company’s nearly 30-year history the publisher has brought us uniquely quirky titles like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Milk & Cheese, Action Girl Comics, and many more. Now this classic company needs the help of what the crowdfunding-era has proven to be a very generous community. SLG Founder Dan Vado has published a plea on GoFundMe to help keep the company running. The company was foced to move locations recently and that has led to a financial downward spiral:

After running up our credit line during the move our bank decided to review our account and decided that the balance on the credit line was too high and, in their infinite wisdom, demanded immediate repayment in the form of a high-interest loan. This created a domino effect where, when reporting the change in my credit status to the various credit bureaus caused them all to cut my credit and in a couple of cases close my accounts.

Because of the nature of my businesses all of our debt was secured through personal guarantees and now I am in a spot where not only am I unable to get my business righted, but I have blown through all of my personal assets other than the home I live in to keep things going.

Even if you don’t have a single SLG title in your collection or on your bookshelf its worth supporting this effort. After you pledge consider swinging by your local comic book store and picking up something from the publisher.

SF Weekly is nothing but funny pages

I haven’t picked up a copy yet, but SF Weekly’s issue this week is mostly entirely comics. The weekly will be hosting a launch party this evening at 111 Minna from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Admission is free, but $10 will get you three specialty cocktails and benefit our treasured Cartoon Art Museum.

If you want a taste of what to expect before you get ink on your fingers the paper has some of the cartoon articles (carticles?) on their website. For example: Sex Worker Super Powers.


Madefire will bring motion book format to Archie, Clive Barker, and others

madefire-logoMadefire has added four new partners to a growing list of independent publishers signing on with the company to create digital motion comics. This week the Berkeley-based start-up announced partnerships Archie Comics, Lion Forge, Arcana, and Clive Barker’s Seraphim.

Author Clive Barker said in a statement, “Never before have I seen anything like this. Madefire, has created a radical way in which to read comics and I’m excited beyond words to be a part of the revolution.”

As Publisher Weekly notes, the addition of Barker’s name to the roster is perhaps one of the more significant additions in terms of potential innovation. The horror and fantasy author brings a unique perspective to motion comics through his lifelong commitment to both cinematic and comic format storytelling. Madefire will be publishing motion comics of his infamous Books of Blood series as well as original material.

The company launched in June of 2012 with a Madefire specific title created by Dave Gibbons called Treatment. Since then the company has built momentum by establishing partnerships with mostly independent publishers, including IDW and Top Cow. Late last year, DC stuck it’s pinky toe into the motion comics pond by releasing the digital first title Injustice: Gods Among Us on the Madefire platform.

Related Links:
Berkeley’s Madefire adds Hellboy to motion comic line-up
Berkeley’s Madefire releases IDW motion books

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