Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand Preview

And what a lively and generous preview it is. Below is the official lowdown and you can check out a 20 page preview at Archaia’s site.

 

ARCHAIA UNVEILS A 20-PAGE SNEAK PEEK OF ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL

‘TALE OF SAND’

 

BASED ON AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY CO-WRITTEN BY JIM HENSON, THE PREVIEW IS TIMED TO COINCIDE WITH GOOGLE’S CELEBRATION OF HIS BIRTHDAY

 

In honor of what would have been the late Jim Henson’s 75th birthday, award-winning publisher Archaia Entertainment will debut the first 20 pages of the upcoming original graphic novel Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand, which is based on an unproduced screenplay written by Henson and longtime collaborator Jerry Juhl and visualized and illustrated by acclaimed artist Ramón Pérez, it was announced by Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy today. The pages will appear exclusively on Archaia.com starting on Sept. 24th.

 

“We are so pleased to be able to share with Henson fans a glimpse inside this groundbreaking project,” said Christy. “Ramón Peréz has created a stunning visual translation of Jim Henson’s only unproduced feature-length screenplay, and we are honored to debut this exclusive preview of the forthcoming graphic novel in partnership with The Jim Henson Company and Google’s celebration of Jim’s birthday.”

 

Tale of Sand, a dark, existential feature-length screenplay that built off of ideas Jim Henson had been developing since he produced his Academy Award-nominated short film “Timepiece,” tells the story of a man who is kicked out of a dusty town in the middle of the desert, with no memory of who he is or where he came from. Relentlessly pursued by an unknown assailant, and with only a rucksack of odds-and-ends to his name, he embarks on a desperate race across an increasingly bizarre landscape with only one thing in mind: survival.

 

Archaia and The Jim Henson Company entered into a multi-year publishing partnership in 2009 for Archaia to publish comics and graphic novels based on classic franchises like Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, as well as new, co-branded original properties.

 

Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (hardcover, 152pp, $29.95, ISBN: 978-1-936393-09-1) is scheduled to debut in comic book shops and wherever books are sold in November 2011.


Extra Sequential Podcast #51-Eisners & Old City Blues

49 mins. We discuss this year’s Eisner Award winners, including some surprises and a few faves, plus examine the recent OGN from Archaia, Giannis Milonogiannis’ sci-fi mash-up Old City Blues. Also, Home Alone 2, Garfield, the exclusion of Jedis and more.

LISTEN TO IT BELOW, DOWNLOAD IT HERE OR ON iTUNES

 

 

You can email us at kris (at)extrasequential(dot)com and befriend us on the NEW ES Facebook page.

3:26 NEWS

The rather subtle DC Relaunch protest at Comic-Con

New Judge Dredd film images

Marvel gets the film rights back to Blade and Punisher

Nerdcore duo Kirby Krackle’s new album, Super Powered Love is now out

Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga

New DC animated films

Jack Kirby’s estate loses court case to Marvel

Captain America: The First Avenger is awesome. Here’s my full review

19:07 EISNER AWARD WINNERS

See the full list here

27:03 FEATURE REVIEW – OLD CITY BLUES

Set in Greece after a devastating flood, this sci-fi tale wears it influences proudly on its sleeve.

More info here and behind the scene commentary from writer/artist Giannis Milonogiannis here.

 

 

 

Dark Horse and Archaia FCBD Previews

FCBD (that’s Free Comic Book Day) occurs on the first Saturday of May each year. It’s a great initiative to get newbies to sample the awesomeness of today’s sequential art. Hopefully your LCS is participating. The first 2 publishers to promote their offerings for this year are Dark Horse and Archaia.

First up, the Horse, and this note from editor Scott Allie.

I really pushed to get our horror books in front of people for Free Comic Book Day. While there’s epic changes afoot in Hellboy, we also have big upcoming plans for Mignola’s Baltimore, and the FCBD story is a great intro to that. Niles and Criminal Macabre were away for a while, so we wanted to make this a strong comeback year. Steve’s showing you everything fun about the series in eight pages—monsters, mayhem, humor, and drug abuse. We’ll follow it up with the crossover with Eric Powell’s The Goon, and then another Cal oneshot this summer. We’re taking the character down a few pegs and starting his story fresh, so FCBD is really a perfect place to start. Free. All the new stuff is drawn by Chris Mitten, with amazing painted covers by Fiona Staples. We wanted to give the character a clean start with a really solid new team, so readers don’t have to have read everything that came before. But if you want to … there’s two omnibuses coming later this year, collecting everything that came before.

You can see an extra page from both both Criminal Macabre and Baltimore at Dark Horses’s blog.

And now – Archaia. With writer Brian Holguin (Spawn) and artist Alex Sheikman (Robotika) on the ’80s film based The Dark Crystal story and a peek at the just announced sequel to Return of the Dapper Men, this will be another one to pick up. Covers for the flipbook below.

MOUSE GUARD/THE DARK CRYSTAL Free Comic Book Day Flipbook

Retail Price: Free

Page Count: 32 pages

Format: saddle bound, 8” x 8”, full color

Release Date: May 7, 2011

(W) David Petersen and Brian Holguin

(A) David Petersen and Alex Sheikman

(Cov) The Dark Crystal – Brian Froud; Mouse Guard – David Petersen

Archaia presents two, amazing, all-new stories in one fantastic flipbook—David Petersen’s Eisner Award-winning MOUSE GUARD and Jim Henson’s beloved THE DARK CRYSTAL share the spotlight on Free Comic Book day! On one side of the book, a brand-new tale of the fan-favorite MOUSE GUARD, elite warrior mice tasked with protecting common mice from predators, the elements and other dangers. It’s the perfect introduction to MOUSE GUARD for new fans, and a rewarding treat for existing ones! On the other side of the book, Archaia Entertainment is proud to present an exclusive prelude to its forthcoming series of THE DARK CRYSTAL graphic novels, featuring covers, art direction and concepts by Brian Froud, conceptual designer of the original film! This prelude begins the epic creation story of the world of Thra, and explores the origins of the world of THE DARK CRYSTAL!

As a bonus, the issue will also contain a sneak peek of Jim McCann and Janet Lee’s TIME OF THE DAPPER MEN, a sequel to the critically acclaimed RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN, coming this fall. Additionally, fans of Jim Henson will also get an advance look at TALE OF SAND, an original graphic novel coming in September based on a never-before-seen screenplay written by Henson and Jerry Juhl!

Jim McCann And Janet Lee Interview

This interview, conducted with the writer and artist of the unique OGN, Return of the Dapper Men (now available from publisher Archaia) was scheduled for the print version of Extra Sequential. This is the last interview from the recent final days of ES, but you can see the rest of our almost-to-print articles right here. Now, read on to discover more about this gorgeous looking book.

A group of men in sartorial elegance floating to the floor like feathers. It’s an unusual impetus for a new fantastic tale, but inspired by said image, writer Jim McCann couldn’t help himself, as he and artist Janet Lee reveal about their new original graphic novel for Archaia, Return of the Dapper Men. The book exists in a world called Anorev, a world where adults do not exist, and books are used for standing upon, not reading, or as Archaia describe it, “a tale of a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play, and all the clocks have stopped at the same time.”

“I’ve known Jim for about 15 years, I think,” Lee reveals. “He’s one of my closest friends. We met socially when he was still living in Nashville, worked at the same company for a while, lived less than a mile from each other. At one point, we had a mad scheme to go on Trading Spaces together. Eventually Jim sold his house in Nashville and moved to New York, but we’ve always kept in touch. He visits me when he’s in town to see his family, and I visit him when I’m in NYC.” The pair admit that it was three images in particular that set off the creative chain of events that would be the creation of these very well-dressed gents and the world in which they live. “A couple of years ago, Jim was visiting for the holidays; while in Nashville, he came to see one of my gallery shows,” Lee elaborates. “He saw three particular pieces: a six-foot-tall, Magritte-inspired image of men in bowler hats and striped suits raining over the rooftops of Paris; a tiny image of a steampunk boy with goggles; and a small illustration of a robot girl. About a month later, he sent me an email with what turned out to be the opening lines to Return of the Dapper Men and a note asking if I wanted to do an OGN. Of course, I said yes!” McCann aggress with Lee’s assessment of the project’s genesis in that it, “was born from three pieces she had created for different gallery shows but in my strange mind formed this story that I had to write. And every time she’d send me a sketch or I’d come across a doodle, more story would spring to mind. It’s truly a collaborative process, inspiring each other.” The writer also admits that in a broader sense, he finds inspiration in many corners of the world. “I love fairy tales and the fantastical. Anything that transports you away from the cabs and crowds and bills or changing cat litter, the things we all do or deal with as part of daily life. I want to remind myself (and others) of that overwhelming sense of wonder you feel when you see something new and exciting for the first time. In approaching Return of the Dapper Men, I looked back at my own youth and the worlds I would create with action figures or on paper or acted out in my backyard with an imaginary legion of characters. I thought about the feelings I had when I first saw Empire Strikes Back. The first time I read Shel Silverstein aloud. Acting like a Wild Thing or building a pillow and blanket fort. And the 50th time I saw Empire Strikes Back. All of that is what I wanted to bring to this, but also the perspective of the adults that are now my peers and the man-child I sort of have become by not letting go of dreams and instead making them destiny and reality.”

A huge part of making Dapper Men a reality was finding a publisher that would understand the unique book and trust the vision of the duo behind it. Janet recalls that during a trip to New York for a trade show, she and McCann, “spent about a week hashing out the story line and character concepts. We also came up with a short list of publishers we thought would be a good fit for the book. Archaia was at the top of that list. Later that year at San Diego Comic-Con, Jim pitched Return of the Dapper Men to Mark Smylie [Archaia’s Chief Creative Officer] and Stephen Christy [Archaia’s Editor-In-Chief], and the rest is history!”

Speaking of history, creating the background for Anorev and its uniquely enchanting world was one of the first challenges for the tale. “I remember our early discussions as being the time where we really fleshed out the world of Anorev,” Lee recalls. “What did it look like where the robots lived, where the children lived? What did the children and robots look like; what did they wear? I spent a week in New York making character sketches and bouncing ideas off Jim. Initially, my thought was that the city would look a lot like my neighborhood in Nashville, which is filled with Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, lots of trees. We ended up with a cross between Paris and East Nashville with a fairy-land of gears beneath the streets for the children to play in.”

McCann mentions that the scope of Dapper Men can not necessarily be contained in one book. “It’s also large in scale in that this is actually the first in a trilogy of books. Wait until you see what’s planned for the future.” He describes the tale as, “both incredibly large and universal in scope, and at the same time a very personal and microscopic story. At its center, there are three main characters and their actions determine their fates, and also the fate of the world even though two of them don’t know it. It deals with larger themes of clockwork universe and some theology if you dig deep enough, but then if you just read it as a story with no analysis, it’s a tale about kids not wanting to go to bed (for the first time in as long as any of them can remember) for fear of change. But without sleep, you can’t dream, and without growing up, there is no such thing as destiny. It’s about discovering that, and learning that first step of growing up and embracing what you are meant to become.” Within this steampunk/fantasy/sci-fi realm exists Ayden, the sole boy to possess curiosity, a cherished robot girl named Zoe and a Dapper Man referred to as 41. These three must discover why time has frozen and come to grips with who they truly are in their world. The aforementioned 41 is just one of the many Dapper Men who fall upon Anorev. McCann refers to Lee as his “amazing co-creator and artist” and reveals that she “finds it large in scope when I tell her that there are 314 Dapper-Looking men raining down from the sky. She loves me for that, don’t believe otherwise.”

As an artist Lee’s hands on collage approach couldn’t be more different from the slick renderings most comics readers are accustomed to, but its visual approach is key to cementing the inherent dream-like nature of the book. “When Jim talked to Mark and Stephen at SDCC, he showed them images of some gallery pieces,” Lee reveals. “For the past several years, I’ve been working in a sort of “original collage” technique where I draw images on vellum, cut them out and then layer them onto wood or canvas or paper with other components (like art papers, or pages from old books). It’s a type of decoupage—very ’70s. Archaia was always completely clear that they wanted me to illustrate the pages my way using my style, so that’s the way I’ve approached it. Now that being said, I did discover pretty quickly that paper wasn’t heavy enough to support the number of layers I was using and that I wanted to build each page as a single board rather than making individual images which we’ve brought together during Photoshop layout.”

Going from the art gallery to the comic book shelves is a transition for the artist, but hopefully one that others will also continue to make as the line between art forms, whether sequential or otherwise, continues to blur. Lee reveals, “After Roy Lichtenstein, I’m not sure anyone can possibly claim that the art world at large is unfamiliar with comics. I suspect that the percentage of gallery artists who read comics is probably pretty similar to that of the general population, a little higher number amongst the forms that respond to contemporary culture, a little fewer amongst the more traditional forms. That last part’s a guess, but comics are so pervasive now, anyone relating to pop culture must be aware. Lee continues, “In some cases, it’s probably true [that gallery artists don’t recognize or value sequential art] but heck, the oil painters look down at people working in acrylics. Old-school painters wouldn’t even draw their own figures, but would call in “draftsmen” to take care of that chore. My first teacher wouldn’t let me sketch out a piece on canvas with a pencil, but insisted we only use a brush and paint. In any type of artistic venture, people seem to want to classify something as “better or worse.” The trick is in realizing that all true artistic merit comes from how effectively the artist communicates with his/her audience.”

Considering this is Lee’s first foray from the gallery to the comic shop, the artist admits that she’s, “never been a “normal” gallery artist, and I’ve always been a huge comics geek, so in a sense it’s been surprisingly easy. I’ve been experimenting for a while with things like sequential portraits where I incorporate images and stories of the person’s life into their portrait. I’ve also played a bit with things like “sequential shows” where the individual pieces tell a story as you walk through the gallery. I find art to be a narrative medium, but it’s all well and good to produce a limited series of related images, and another thing entirely to phrase them on page after page in a way that’s interesting and supports the narrative. In that sense, the learning curve has been incredibly steep. I read just about every sequential book I can get my hands on to get ideas and, hopefully, become better.” The key to any good comic is a good collaboration, as Lee freely admits. “Fortunately, Jim has a great way of letting me know (kindly) when something sucks, and letting me bounce ideas off him. That’s one of my favorite things, so far, about sequential art: it’s wonderfully collaborative. The team works together to build something that’s better than the sum of its parts.”

McCann is not new to the process of working with other creative types however. Originally working as a script writer on the popular ABC drama One Life To Live, he moved to New York in 2004 and soon stared working for Marvel in their PR department before gradually writing their characters in stories such as Dazzler and New Avengers: The Reunion, featuring archer Hawkeye and the recently resurrected Mockingbird, two former Avengers team-mates and their life and death love life.

“The amazing thing about Marvel,” he reveals, “is that they always knew I wanted to write, and when it came time for that to happen, they helped me make that happen. I’d written for the stage and TV, and am a massive comic book fan, so it came as no surprise that the writer in me would finally say, “OK, time to get to work on THIS part of my life.” McCann has not left Marvel behind completely though, as his writing chores on crime-fighting lovers Hawkeye and Mockingbird prove, as does his new relaunch of Alpha Flight, focused on Canada’s foremost superhero team. “I love the Marvel offices and miss being a part of it. Fortunately, I am local, so I can pop over any time,” McCann mentions. “That said, I still miss being on the super-duper inside track. However, that has freed me up to explore and really work out my writing more than I imagined.” McCann is also aware that sitting behind the keyboard means, “I have more time to write, which means I HAVE to write! This is my source of income and it’s also what I’ve said I’ve wanted to do for all my life, literally. So, time to DO it.”

McCann’s scripts dedicated to long-time lovers with a generous dose of superhero action in the monthly series Hawkeye and Mockingbird are a great delight to fans of adventure and the scribe reveals that, “it was originally pitched as the Mr. and Mrs. Smith of the Marvel U, but I recently discovered the incredible show Burn Notice, which I watch faithfully now. The characters of Hawkeye and Mockingbird have a very human aspect as well, and for that I look to Nick and Nora Charles (of The Thin Man), Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and many other classic film pairings.”

With his TV past and current comic book scripting there’s not necessarily a lot of difference in the approach to scripting for the writer. “Not really in the form of storytelling; they are both serialized mediums, dealing with years of continuity and existing characters, and have vocal fan bases. With an original graphic novel like Return of the Dapper Men, it’s more like a pilot or a film, where you put something new out there and hope people buy.”

Speaking of which Dapper Men was inspired not only by his co-creator (“Janet’s art continues to inspire me.”) but also those darker tales and fables that all good parents read to their kids, despite their darkness that some may not embrace in today’s sensitive world. “I went back and re-read the texts of Grimms, Barrie, Carroll and they all had dark overtones that have been glossed over in today’s cartoon adaptation world or pop-up book incarnations. They had real lessons there, some were deeper and hidden, something left for you to discover when you re-read them as adults. As a child, you take away one level from the story—the face value. That’s what’s become the modern way of remembering these classics. But they were intended to educate the adult as well. I love that, and I hope that Dapper can achieve something remotely close to that.”

As for his own status as a dapper men McCann reveals, ”I am the least Dapper Man you’ll meet (on the outside, at least). I’m a t-shirt and jeans (or shorts) guy. All the time. I don’t know that I have a suit…I’ll have to check,: and as for his favourite garment in his wardrobe? “There is a t-shirt two sizes too big that I’ve had for 15 years now. It’s been washed so many times that it’s like a blanket. It’s nothing special, a drab green/brown shirt. But it is my “serious writing” shirt. I always make sure it’s washed and if I’m wearing it, then it means I am in the zone or have a deadline. I only wear it when writing (but not every time I write) and I can’t imagine ever getting rid of it.”

One man who knows a thing or two about sartorial elegance is a certain Tony Stark, and the man who plays him on the big screen. McCann met the stylish man himself at Comic Con and relates an awkward tale about the encounter, though he does admit that when it comes to conventions, “I see something new and funny at every one of them. Personally, my most embarrassing moment was when I almost pushed Robert Downey Jr. in a pool at a party in SDCC trying to get to Katee Sackhoff and Joss Whedon to introduce them to each other (they had not met yet). I jumped over a stanchion at the corner of the pool and there he was—RDJ! I stammered out, “So sorry, Mr. Downey Junior!” and kept running.”

The 4 part Widow Maker storyline begins in December and runs through both Black Widow #9-10, written by Duane Swierczynski and Hawkeye and Mockingbird #7-8, written by McCann.

The luscious Return of the Dapper Men hardcover is out now from Archaia, containing 120 pages of whimsy, fantasy and very well-dressed gentlemen, as well as introduction from fashion guru Tim Gunn and a diverse and dazzling gallery from some of the industry’s best artists.


Okko: The Cycle of Air #3 Preview

Inspired by my podcast co-host Mladen’s love of non-American comics, I present to you, courtesy of Archaia an elegant preview of this week’s issue of Okko.

OKKO: THE CYCLE OF AIR #3
Retail Price: $3.95 U.S.
Page Count: 32 pages
Format: 6.875” x 10.25”, full color
On-sale Date: September 29, 2010
Written, illustrated and cover by Hub

Left for dead after a terrible duel, Okko lies abandoned in the countryside as the Celestial Winds rise and the season of kamikaze cocoons begins. His traveling companions have but one thought: to avenge their friend and master. But can they, even together, hope to defeat that killing machine, the dread demon hunter known as Kubban Kiritsu?

Teen + 13 (this series contains material suitable for (Teen Readers 13 and above)

Dapper Men Pin-up Preview

Coming in November from publisher Archaia is what looks set to be an enchanting tale, Return of the Dapper Men, by writer Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird, Alpha Flight) and artist Janet Lee. Below is the official description, plus some just released , and gorgeous, pin-ups that will be included in the book.

ALL-STAR ARTISTS GO ‘DAPPER’

‘RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN’ TO FEATURE AN ALL-STAR PIN-UP GALLERY

As the buzz for the upcoming Archaia original graphic novel RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN continues to grow, so does the roster of Dapper men and women who are contributing to the book Examiner.com has called “groundbreaking” and iFanboy.com says is “shaping up to be the ‘it-book’ of New York Comic Con.”


In addition to award-winning designer Todd Klein providing the cover and interior design work, an incredible array of artists have put on their best bowler hats and pinstripes to create a remarkable gallery of pin-ups that will be appearing in the book. From some of today’s hottest comic book and graphic artists comes a variety of takes on the incredible world and characters of RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN (hardcover, full color, 128 pages, 9.5” x 11”, $24.95), created from the minds of Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird) and acclaimed visual artist Janet Lee.

The full list of contributors to the 12 pin-ups featured in the book is as follows:

Adrian Alphona and Christina Strain
Joyce Chin
John Tyler Christopher
– http://www.johntylerchristopher.com/
Katie Cook – http://katiecandraw.typepad.com/
Colleen Coover – http://www.colleencoover.net/
David Mack – http://www.davidmack.net/
Dave Perillo – http://montygog.blogspot.com/
Mike Perkins – http://www.mikeperkinsart.com/
Evan Shaner – http://www.evanshaner.com/
Mark Smylie – http://www.archaia.com/blog/titles/artesia
Tom Whalen – http://strongstufftom.blogspot.com/
Skottie Young – http://www.skottieyoung.com/

Return Of The Dapper Men Cover Revealed

This looks like another great book from Archaia. Press release below about this unique OGN, that will be in shops in November.

ARCHAIA UNVEILS FINAL COVER TO ‘RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN’ ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVEL FAIRY TALE BY JIM MCCANN AND JANET LEE FEATURES COVER DESIGN BY EISNER AWARD-WINNING DESIGNER TODD KLEIN

Turning to one of the most well-respected designers in the comics industry to create an elaborate cover for one of 2010’s most anxiously awaited titles, Archaia revealed the final cover to RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN, designed by the award-winning Todd Klein (America’s Best Comics). RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN (with pre-order sales nearing 5,000 units even before official solicitation) is the highly anticipated all-ages title coming from writer Jim McCann (Hawkeye & Mockingbird) and critically acclaimed and award-winning visual artist Janet Lee.

“Having a master designer like Todd Klein on board Team Dapper is a great honor,” said Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy. “I’ve been talking for months about how special this book is, and how much fun it is as an editor to be working on a fairy tale entirely unlike anything seen in comics before. With Todd joining creators Jim McCann and Janet Lee as we bring Dapper down the homestretch to publication, I can promise readers that this is one of those instances where the quality and artistry of this book lives up to the hype!”

The cover draws in many influences both within literature and without. “We wanted to go for a timeless feel, given both the importance that time plays in the story and the fact that this is a sort of classic fairy tale of old with some modern twists,” explained McCann. Janet Lee’s stunning découpage art is featured prominently in the cover design. “I love the look of books from the turn-of-the-century and classic children’s fiction. I love how they incorporate filigree and natural elements with illustrations that are now iconic,” said an excited Lee. “Todd was able to reference that feel and yet make it very today.”

RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN (hardcover, full color, 128 pages, 9.5” x 11”, $24.95) is a visually stunning fairy tale that combines steampunk with fantasy and science fiction with Renaissance style. Together, McCann and Lee have created a world where J. M. Barrie, Lewis Carroll and Maurice Sendak meet Jim Henson and Tim Burton—all sharply dressed in a pin-stripe suit and a dapper bowler hat!

“Seeing this whole package come together with this level of production and talent involved, along with more surprises to be announced in the coming weeks, is a dream come true,” beamed McCann. “Knowing that Archaia is behind us and recognizing their established high quality production values in their hardcovers makes RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN even more exciting as it gets closer to hitting shelves!”

A limited amount of advance copies of the RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN hardcover will be available at New York Comic Con (Oct. 8-10 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York, NY) and will go on sale in comic shops and wherever books are sold in November. To pre-order a copy, use ISBN code 978-1932386905.

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