Monday, May 11, 2015

James O’Barr talks growing up Downriver, new ‘Crow’ movie in advance of appearance at Motor City Comic Con

“The Crow” is an iconic comic book series.
The graphic novel compendium is the best selling independent black and white comic of all time, with more than 1.5 million units sold.
That’s common knowledge among comic book fans, and the wider pop culture purveyors of the world.
There have been four movies, with a fifth on the way, a television series, prose novels and tons of spin off comics.
What isn’t well know, much of the basis for the story, and some of the writing and art was completed Downriver.
Creator James O’Barr is often hailed as being from Detroit, but before he moved to the big city, he grew up in Taylor and later River Rouge.
First published in 1989 by Caliber Comics, the story for the original run was born out of personal anguish and never intended to be seen by others.
“It’s easy to be fearless when you don’t think anyone else will see it,” O’Barr said. “I had a personal loss and needed to find a way to deal with it that wasn’t self destructive. I decided to use the comics as a diary with no intentions of it ever being published.”
After sitting on the story for years, O’Barr decided to let the book be published by Gary Reed and his start-up company Caliber Comics.
At the time Reed was a comic shop owner and could assure the books would see shelf space in his stores at least.
“I figured it would be nice to see in book format,” O’Barr said. “Figured they were an independent publisher that would make a few thousand copies and that would be it.”
O’Barr called the book atypical for the general comic book audience.
“It’s not for a mass audience,” he said. “There’s no superheroes in it, it’s dark and broody, black and white. It took a while for it to find a comic audience, but it did well in record stores right away.
“It was amazing to go to a record store and see my comic and wonder how they even found out about it. The musicians latched onto it and it grew from there.”
From there, history was made.The book quickly gained popularity, and was being stocked in more than just Reed’s stores. It was in just about every comic shop in Michigan, and quickly spread to more record stores and other locations as well.
O’Barr got used to being a “rockstar” of sorts in the metro Detroit area, but didn’t realize how far the book had reached. Not long after the book came out he travelled to England and Germany, where he saw his book in stores across the pond as well.
“It was kind of surreal,” he said. “I was still centered in Detroit and didn’t think about having an impact anywhere else. I did resist the urge go in and say ‘hey I did that, that’s mine.’”
Eventually the book was translated into more than a dozen languages and sold worldwide.
Not long after the book started selling, Hollywood came calling.
“The ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle’ movie was about to be released and it was going to make a ton of money,” he said. “Companies started buying up the rights to all the comics they could. I never expected it to get made.”
Not only was the movie made, but it was both a box office and critical success. It later spawned three sequels and a television series. O’Barr only worked on the first movie.
“I thought we made the movie we set out to make,” he said. “After that I didn’t want to be involved.”
That changed recently though. I new movie is being produced, and he’s involved as much as he can be like he was on the original. Due to contract negotiations there aren’t many details he can talk about, but he assures it will be a good movie.
“It’s not a remake of the Brandon Lee film,” he said. “It’s going right back to the source material. Everything is going amazingly well on it.”
O’Barr, who moved to Texas several years ago will be returning to the Motor City for the second year in a row as he is a featured guest at the Motor City Comic Con.
The show opens Friday at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
The show is open all weekend.
Friday 12:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday 10:30  a.m.  to  7:00  p.m. and Sunday, 10:30  a.m.  to  5:00  p.m.

Jean Michel Cousteau talks about invasive carp, diverting Great Lakes water

He was essentially raised underwater by his father Jacques Cousteau, and continues the same work today.
After a recent screening of his newest film “Ocean’s Secrets 3D” at the Henry Ford Museum’s IMAX theater, Jean Michel Cousteau took the time to meet with every person that attended the event.
PHOTOS: Jean Michel Cousteau at the Henry Ford
One of the topics he touched on during his time with the crowd was the invasion of the Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.
“As long as there is a way … to find food,” he said. “They’ll do it. It’s just like us, if you’re starving you’re going to go where you can feed yourself.”
He said that giving the species a new source of food would likely deter them from heading to the Great Lakes, provided it was easier to access than the food supply in the region.
“I think that’s what dictates them to move wherever they are,” he said.
Cousteau also spoke about the possibility of diverting Great Lakes water to other areas. He’s against it.
“I don’t think it needs to get to that,” he said. “Eighty percent of water we consume is wasted. Capture it and recycle it.”
The film will be playing at the theater at least through the end of the year.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

ComiqueCon, celebrating women in comics to debut in Dearborn

ComiqueCon is promising to be a celebration like every other, and like no other all at once.

It will be like thousands of other comic book conventions across the country in that it will be a huge celebration of the culture, it’s fans and creators.
It will be completely unique in that it is celebrating specifically the women in comics, the writers, artists, inkers and editors that create comics.
“We're thrilled to bring today's most talented ladies making comics together for this one-of-a-kind event. Women don't just read comics - they make excellent comics, too!” said ComiqueCon founder Chelsea Liddy. “I’ve been following geek culture for a long time. I couldn’t believe that there wasn’t already a convention like this. That shocked me that it hadn’t been done before.”
Liddy said she doesn’t want to focus on the negative aspect of online life, but the idea sprung out of “Gamer Gate,” late last fall. Gamergate was a sustained long term attack on several female video game creators. The attacks ranged from complaints about the quality of work to rape and death threats.
“Comics and gaming are so closely related,” she said. “ You see some of that negative stuff and you have to think about creating a space where we can be positive.”
The reasoning behind the convention, set for Nov. 7 at the Arab American National Museum, is to stop the relegation of women in comics that tends to happen at other conventions.
“Women are often on a ‘Women in Comics’ panel, but not always noticed otherwise,” Liddy said. “There is so much more that woman can talk about.”
After having the idea, Liddy went to the only comic shop --Green Brain Comics--  where she knew she’d be able to find help with her newfound task.
“If  Green Brain hadn’t been so supportive from the beginning,” she said, “this might not have happened.”
Co-owner of the store Katie Merritt knows what it’s like to be a woman in the industry. Having worked in and owned a store for more than 20 years, and keeping a close pulse on the community, her knowledge was key in getting ComiqueCon off the ground.
“When Chelsea came to us with the idea,” Merritt said, “I said ‘that sounds awesome.’ They came to us as consultants to support the show.”
Merritt along with her husband Dan, both Allen Park residents, have put on their own small press conventions in the past, serve on the committee for the Kids’ Read Comics event each year in Ann Arbor and also put on dozens of other events at the store each year.
“We have always been big proponents of making everyone feel welcome,” Katie said. “Comic books are just a medium to tell stories. No one says TV or a movie should be just for boys, or you can’t read this novel because of your gender.”
The show will be a one-day celebration, and has announced some top of the line talent for the inaugural show. One of the guests will be Dearborn native Mairghread Scott, who went into television production and also writes comics for Marvel and IDW. Scott was the first woman to author a Transformers comic last year.
Other top talent that has confirmed to be attending includes: Leila Abdelrazaq, graphic artist and author of Baddawi; Nancy Collins, author of Vampirella; Marguerite Dabaie, author of The Hookah Girl; Alex de Campi, author of Smoke/Ashes, Archie vs. Predator, Sensation Comics featuring Wonder Woman and No Mercy; Nicole Georges, author of Calling Dr. Laura; Mikki Kendall, co-author of Swords of Sorrow.
Many of the talent coming is working on the new comic “Sword of Sorrows,” which is a six issue mini series produced by all women teams. Issue one was written by Gail Simone, who was unable to attend the convention this year.
The first issue of that mini series has a custom cover put out by Green Brain with art by Michigan resident Dave Acosta.
“All of the profit from that book will be donated back to convention,” Katie Merritt said.
Other planned events include a costume contest, artist VIP reception, discussion panels and a screening of the documentary “She Makes Comics.”
In an effort to help with the festival’s initial startup costs, ComiqueCon recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on The campaign will run through June 6 and includes numerous sponsorship levels. Sponsors who donate at the $25 level are eligible to receive the limited edition variant of Swords of Sorrow No. 1.
Other incentives include admission to ComiqueCon 2015, limited edition ComiqueCon 2015 buttons, and admission to a private meet and greet VIP reception on Nov. 6 with ComiqueCon artists and writers. To participate in the crowdfunding campaign, visit
For more information on the convention, find the show at, on Facebook or on Twitter @ComiqueCon

A look back at @Freecomicbook day 2015

The first Saturday in May has become a comic lover’s dream. The annual celebration on Free Comic

Book Day has become a huge draw nationwide.
Several local comic shops across Downriver and Dearborn held huge celebrations to honor the day.
PHOTOS: Free Comic Book Day across Downriver, Dearborn
Crowds at Allen Park’s Big Ben’s Comix Oasis, Dearborn’s Green Brain Comics and Lincoln Park’s Quick Stop Comic Shop were as large as ever. Other area stores, Taylor’s The Pack Shack, Southgate’s Hero Time Comics, and Trenton’s Comic City also celebrated the day.
The goal of Free Comic Book Day is to promote the comic book medium to new customers young and old and celebrate independent comic book retailers and their stores. In addition to giving away books, many local comic book stores are making the day into an event with writers, artists, bands and other attractions at their shops.
Celebrations at Green Brain and Quick Stop were the first of their kind. Green Brain has moved to a new larger location since last year, and Quick Stop is a new store open from the owner’s of the former Wonderworld Comics which was in Taylor.
“Welcome to the first ever Free Comic Book Day at Quick Stop Comic Shop,” owner Dennis Barger bellowed to a crowd or about 100 people who were there hours after the store opened.
Barger said the crowd was the shortest it had been all day.
“We were wrapped around the building this morning before we opened,” he said.
Patrons were welcomed to the store through a new “fully functioning,” Tardis replica that replaced the store’s main entrance. It debuted for the celebration.
It was a big hit among the crowd.
At Green Brain the celebration was bigger than ever, with the parking lot filled with comic creators and artists. It was almost like a mini comic book convention.
“We’ve been busy all day,” co-owner Dan Merritt said. “I’m really happy with the turn out.”
At Big Ben’s they tried a new system of handing out tickets to avoid the up to four hour lines they’ve had in years past. It seemed to work as the store filled up, instead of having lines wrapping around the building like in the past.
Overall there there more than 100 titles available from the major comic book publishers, with more titles from the smaller and independent publishers also available.
“This was my first time out here,” Dearborn Heights resident Katy Harrison said while in line at Quick Stop. “I can’t believe they just give away books.”

Friday, May 1, 2015

Malta Comic Con returning in December

It only comes once a year. But when it does it Rocks! Good vibes, friendly atmosphere, colourful costumes, smiling folk and the whole of St. James Cavalier buzzing with creative energy. You’re right! We are indeed talking about the Malta Comic Convention; the event you’ve all been waiting for! We’re back to make more of your dreams come true. Wicked Comics are proud to announce that the 7th edition of the Malta Comic Con will be held on Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th December 2015 at St. James Cavalier in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. The impressive venue was originally a bastion (part of the fortifications of the City) constructed by the Knights Hospitallers which was later converted to a vibrant Art’s and Creativity Centre.
Way back in 2007 we dreamt of having a comic convention in Malta. So we held a small comic gathering to see if there were any more people who shared our dream. The amazing response we received confirmed that we were far from alone. So in 2009 we made this dream a reality and held the first comic convention on the Island. One we’ve been holding annually ever since. Many were the challenges we faced along the way, but thanks to the strong local and foreign support we are blessed with we continued to grow each year, improving on each passing show. So now we’re proud to say that the Malta Comic Convention is not just a viable platform for the multitude of talented creators that continue to exhibt each year, and a credible destination for comic symposium but also an entertaining event that brings joy to the lives of many. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the many people who each year help us realize this dream and promise to deliver another 2 fun-filled, exciting and memorable days” said Chris Le Galle co-founder of Wicked Comics.

The intimate and friendly atmosphere prevailent at the Malta Comic Con ensures that our visitors can spend quality time with their favourite creators who are always happy to chat, sign, sketch and create commisioned artwork for their fans. As customary, we will once again provide a varied guest roster of professional writers and artists who have worked on a number of popular characters for all the major comic publishers as well as other who have been publishing quality independent books. With virtually no queing the Malta Comic Con provides the ideal platform for fan-creator interaction. Complementing our guests will be a number of up and coming creators from abroad as well as a plethora of talented local creators promoting their exciting work.
The official Malta Comic Con Cosplay competition and the Fat Spidey Roaming Cosplay Awards will be returning. In addition to the various skits performed by our fabulous cosplayers, Marianne Galea and her Fantasy Showgirls will also be performing themed dances at the theatre. We’re also working on providing more interactive and cosplay oriented events which we will reveal in due time. Professional photographers will be available on both days for everyone in attendance who wishes to have some quality pictures takens. So get started on those wonderful costumes!
The video game area will once again be buzzing with activity ranging from retro to currents gaming and the fan favourite competitions will also be returning to determine the best gamers in Malta. There will also be more table top gaming than there has ever been before. Along with a number of gaming clubs and exciting game developers, the popular war gaming organisation W.A.R.S will also be present running a variety of introductory table-top and role playing games. So both hardcore gamers and begginers can join the fun.

Free movies and animations will be running in the in house cinema for the duration of the show. Fans can also look forward to much more exciting and interactive activities such as quizes, sktech challenges, work shops, informative and entertaining talks, Q&As and discussion panels featuring a number of professional guests and moderated by leading pop culture journalists! Visitors can also feast their eyes on the majestic artwork of our guests comprised in the three official Malta Comic Con exhibitions we’ll be running during the show. To round things off nicely one of the Islands most popular comics retailer Pandora’s Box Collectables will be joining a number of other retailers in offering an assortment of comic related memorabilia. In other words there will be something fun for everyone!

Wicked Comics will also be offering a number of packages for fans wishing to travel to the Malta Comic Con from abroad, which include heavily discounted accommodation rates and local transport from hotel to convention centre. Similarly Wicked Comics have a number of packages tailored for foreign creators who wish to exhibit at the Malta Comic Con including heavily discounted tables.

Anyone wishing to know more about these packages, and local creators/retailers wishing to exhibit at the Malta Comic Con 2015 are kindly requested to email us for more details on

FCBD: Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite Prelude

"Worlds Unite: PRELUDE" - It’s TWO free comic books in ONE! Just in time for the start of the ALL-NEW epic Sonic the Hedgehog and Mega Man crossover event, "Worlds Unite," comes a primer issue exclusively for Free Comic Book Day! The road to "Unite" began in the history-making "Worlds Collide" storyline, continued in 2013's "DAWN OF X" storyline, and once again our heroes must meet—Mega Man's journey chronicled on one side, and Sonic the Hedgehog's on the other! This is the must-have primer for the biggest comic book event of 2015—as two video game icons must come together… or risk dying alone! Featuring art from both Sonic and Mega Man comic book fame!

Archie Comics Celebrates Free Comic Book Day 2015 With New Titles, Creator Appearances

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day across North America and the world – a day where participating
comic shops give away comic books to anyone coming into their stores.

Archie Comics – a Gold Sponsor of the event – will have two offerings: FCBD DARK CIRCLE COMICSand FCBD SONIC THE HEDGEHOG/MEGA MAN WORLDS UNITE PRELUDE, giving readers a look into this year's critically acclaimed new superhero line and kicking things off for the biggest Archie Action crossover event ever!


THE BLACK HOOD! THE FOX! THE SHIELD! Get in on the ground floor of Dark Circle Comics and experience the cinematic and creator-driven reinventions of these iconic properties. Who is the new Shield? How did the Black Hood come to be? Can things get more unpredictable for The Fox? Learn the secrets of the Dark Circle universe from the creators themselves via sneak peeks at the new series, creator interviews and a first glance at the next Dark Circle series – all held together by an eye-popping cover from AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE artist Francesco Francavilla!