Golden Apple

Cross-Appeal Comics (or How to Get KISS fans to read Archie Comics)

The first installment in a story teaming up Archie and his Riverdale pals with the legendary band KISS was released yesterday from Archie Comics. To celebrate the event, KISS co-founders Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were joined by Archie’s writer Alex Segura and artist Dan Parent for a signing last night at Golden Apple Comics in LA.

Jaded comics readers were quick to deride the idea of an Archie/KISS team-up when it was first announced over the summer, but it’s actually not only picking up on several traditions but it’s just plain smart marketing. KISS has a long history with comics, going back to their 1977 special published by Marvel Comics and printed with their own blood mixed with red ink. KISS also has extremely loyal and enthusiastic fans, and a number of those fans are passing their love for the band down to their kids, and they will gladly check out whatever the band produces. The crossover is also reminiscent of the bizarre meeting of Archie and Marvel’s gun-toting vigilante, the Punisher.

I checked out the signing at Golden Apple last night. The first one hundred to show up at 10 am were given wristbands to stand in line for the signing. And the fans definitely turned out. The store had the line weaving around the store and out the front door. The other rule was that they would only be signing the comic (so no signing records, etc.). With 100 people and only an hour to sign, some pressure was on, but Simmons and Stanley treated their fans great. They also reminded them of who actually made the comic, frequently directing attention to Segura and Parent. Simmons in particular is a definite comics fan with extensive knowledge of who worked on what going back to the ’50s and ’60s. And unlike some celebrity-related comics, he was very hands-on in the approval process. Having a rock ‘n’ roll star direct focus to the art form is nothing but good news in my book. How many other comic book signings does the LA Weekly cover? Sure, the only reason they were there was because Gene Simmons was in town. But it still resulted in the LA Weekly photographer enthusiastically getting shots of Segura and Parent in front of big Archie Comics banners, and the LA Weekly reporter taking pains to get it right of which one did “the words” and which one did the art.

Is it the biggest victory ever in getting the act of reading comics back in the consciousness of America? No, but how many other comics are reaching out to glam and heavy metal fans who otherwise maybe wouldn’t buy a comic? A great reminder that almost every demographic not reading comics now is worth pursuing.

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This Friday is brought to you by Human-Tolerating Kittehs

Things to do this weekend in and around LA:

FESTIVALHollywood Fringe is on! See a ton of everything in a bunch of places all over Hollywood, until June 26. Includes a variety of art, such as Pulp Shakespeare (What if Pulp Fiction was written by William Shakespeare?), Marathon Redux (a sampling of Theater of NOTE’s eclectic mix of performance art), Voices From Chornobyl Jr. (interactive/educational theater for kids about the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Disaster), and much more. Tickets: various.

COMICS – Book signing by Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese) and Thien Pham for their new graphic novel Level Up published by First Second Books, at Secret Headquarters in Silver Lake, Friday, 7-9 PM.

COMEDY – The X-ecution: Final 5, with Kathie Bostian of the Magic Meathands in the top 5! It’s elimination-style improv comedy with $500 and meetings with top talent agencies at stake. Find out who gets eliminated and who moves on to the next week at The Improv Space in Westwood, Friday, 8-9 PM. Tickets: $10.

THEATER – The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), a parody of Willie the Shake’s plays performed by 3 men in 2 hours from Accidents Happen Theatre, at Nadia’s Rhythm Room, Sherman Oaks, Saturday, 8-11 PM. Tickets: $12 online, $15 at the door.

COMICS – Graphic Novel Sale where you can buy 2 and get 1 of equal or lesser value free at Golden Apple Comics, Hollywood, until Sunday.

This Friday is brought to you by Gravity Defying Kitteh

Things to do in and around LA this weekend:

COMICSReed Gunther Release Party! Celebrate the debut of the all-ages cowboy comic book from Image Comics with creators Shane and Chris Houghton who will be signing and sketching for free. Plus a giant snake! At Golden Apple Comics in Hollywood, Friday, 7 PM – 9 PM.

COMEDY – I perform improv comedy with the Magic Meathands at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica, Friday, 8 PM. Immediately after us will be the always hilarious Waterbrains and Mission: IMPROVable. Tickets: $10.

ACTIVISMSlutWalk LA is the latest in a series of demonstrations across North America in response to a Toronto police officer who advised students to not dress like “sluts” as a safety tip to avoid rape. Believing that “those who experience sexual assault are not the ones at fault, without exception,” participants will begin in West Hollywood Park, Saturday, 12:00 noon.

COMMUNITY – The Long Beach Basket Brigade has their 3rd annual fundraiser to help families in and around Long Beach. Silent and live auctions, Texas Hold ’em and Bunco Tournaments, and a fine dinner all help to raise money. At The Grand Event Center in Long Beach, Saturday, 6 PM – 11 PM.

Free Comic Book Day 2011 is this Saturday

Do you want FREE comics? You’re in luck! This Saturday, May 7, is Free Comic Book Day!

After enjoying the new Marvel Studios movie Thor opening this Friday, head out to your local participating comic book shop and get yourself some all-new comics for absolutely nothing. It’s a great way to discover comics for the first time, get back in to them if it’s been a while, or just celebrate the American art form of comics! (It’s also a great way to prepare yourself for the other big comic book movies this summer: Priest (May 13), X-Men: First Class (June 3), Green Lantern (June 17), Captain America (July 22), and Cowboys & Aliens (July 29).)

You can get exclusive comic books made just for Free Comic Book Day featuring the Amazing Spider-Man, Avatar the Last Airbender, Star Wars: Clone Wars, Green Lantern, Betty & Veronica, Darkwing Duck, Kung Fu Panda, Richie Rich, the Dark Crystal, the Simpsons, Captain America, Thor, Inspector Gadget, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Tick, Mickey Mouse, Young Justice, Batman: the Brave & the Bold, and so many more. See here for a complete list of free comics available at participating stores.

Lots of stores are also holding special sales and events including signings with comics creators.

Locally, comic stores all around Los Angeles County will be celebrating with free comic books, discounted comics and graphic novels, guest appearances by comic book artists and writers, and more! Additional announcements will probably be announced this week, so keep your eye on your favorite store’s website or Facebook page.

Some stores have really pulled out all of the stops:

Golden Apple on Melrose will be open an hour earlier than normal for the big day. Starting right at 10 AM, there will be comics creators giving free autographs and sketches all day, plus 20% off everything, free Lipton Brisk Green Lantern tea & hot dogs, free Priest movie stuff, a bounce house for kids (!) and more! Creators signing: 10 AM – Top Cow Productions president Matt Hawkins, writer Jeff Cahn (Red Spike), writer Owen Weisman (Samurai’s Blood) and cartoonist/animator Scott Shaw! (The Flintstones, Simpsons Comics); 12 noon: actor/writer Walter Koenig (Things to Come); 2 PM – writer Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead, Super Dinosaur) and artist Jason Howard (Super Dinosaur); 4 PM – writer Marc Andreyko (True Blood: Tainted Love, Let Met In: Crossroads), and writers Brian McCarthy & Michael Lent (Brimstone).

At Earth-2 Comics both store locations will have plenty to do, like free sketches from 10 AM to 12 noon by Todd Brocasso Harris (in Sherman Oaks) and Justin Rodrigues (Northridge). Then from 12 noon to 2 PM, writer and DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, The Flash), and writer and Executive Vice President of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb (Batman: Hush, Spider-Man: Blue) will be available for autographs in Sherman Oaks. The two will be at the Northridge location from 3 to 5 PM. The store will also have an Earth-2 exclusive Green Lantern comic.

Free Comic Book Day 2011 (by Darwyn Cooke)

Meltdown Comics will be holding amazing special events all day long! From 11 AM to 3 PM, including a free screening of Jim Henson‘s classic movie The Dark Crystal and life-sized Skeksis statues used in the original 1982 movie! Writer Brian Holguin, who wrote a new Dark Crystal story in the free comic book flip book released for Free Comic Book Day, will be on hand for autographs, as will David Petersen, writer/illustrator of Mouse Guard, which makes up the second half of the flip book. Plus free posters, prizes, giveaways, and gourmet grilled cheese from The Grilled Cheese Truck. At the same time, from 11 AM to 2 PM, Jason JFish Fischer of Studio JFish will be present to sell his new underground comics, the adults only Junqueland #1, art anthology Fine Literature #2, and fantasy/adventure Jaephisch and the Dark Rainbow Chapters 1 & 2. At 1 PM, Shane and Chris Houghton, creators of the all-ages comic Reed Gunther, will hold a comics creating class just for kids. From 2:00 – 3:30 PM, writers Jeff Cahn (Red Spike) and Owen Weisman (Samurai’s Blood) of Benaroya Publishing will be signing. Finally, at 4 PM in the Meltdown Gallery, there will be a Graphic Noir panel with writer Joshua Hale Fialkov (Echoes, Tumor) and writer/artist Kody Chamberlain (Sweets, Punks: The Comic), as they discuss their creative processes and influences, followed by a brief signing.

Burbank’s House of Secrets will be going all day long, from 11 AM to 7 PM. From 12 noon to 2 PM, they’ll have Tom Kenny, the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants and Sherm Cohen, cover artist of the new SpongeBob Comics.

The Comic Bug in Hermosa Beach has a ton of creators lined up, scheduled for 12 noon to 3 PM giving free sketches and autographs in addition to huge sales and live super-heroes for photo ops. Their line-up will include writer/artist Mike Mignola (Hellboy, Baltimore), writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre), TV & comics writer Christopher Yost (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, New X-Men), writer Joshua Williamson (Fractured Fables, Yo Gabba Gabba Comic Book Time), writer/letterer Richard Starkings (Elephantmen), animator/artist Phil Ortiz (The Simpsons), Jeff Stokely (Fraggle Rock) and lots more. Artist Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika) will be there 3 – 5 PM.

Collector’s Paradise Comics & Gallery in Winnetka has a full day of events planned, including featured guests like Whilce Portacio (Wetworks, Artifacts), Tomm Coker (Undying Love, Daredevil Noir), Joshua Fialkov (Tumor, Echoes) and a lot more giving autographs and/or sketches to raise money for the non-profit organization The Hero Initiative from 12 noon to 3 PM. Plus the store will be having its biggest sale of the year, costumed superhero characters, and the Calbi gourmet food truck.

Read more on the history of Free Comic Book Day… (more…)

Comics Events in LA: Week of 2/20/11

If you’re interested in finding out more about comic books and graphic novels, a great way to discover new stories is to check out a local comics event. There’s a vibrant comics community here in Los Angeles, where you can meet artists, writers, publishers, and other readers who are ready and willing to turn you on to some amazing material.

Here are some local Los Angeles events coming up that celebrate the sequential art form.

This week:

Monday, February 21 – Sunday, February 27: Henry & Glenn Gang Bang art show featuring Henry & Glenn Forever by The Igloo Tornado (Tom Neely, Gin Stevens, Scot Nobles and Levon Jihanian) and artwork by Eric Yahnker, Coop, The Clayton Brothers, Ed Luce, Johnny Ryan, Kaz and more, at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, 4633 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles 90027. Tickets: $0.

Tuesday, February 22, 7 PM – 9 PM: Writer/actor Felicia Day will be joined by some of her cast mates of The Guild, actors Vincent Caso (Bladezz), Amy Okuda (Tinkerballa), and Robin Thorsen (Clara), to sign copies of their graphic novel and season four DVD at Barnes & Noble: The Grove at Farmer’s Market, 189 The Grove Drive, Suite K 30, Los Angeles 90036. Tickets: Wristband with purchase of graphic novel or DVD starting at 9 AM that morning.

Wednesday, February 23: NEW COMICS DAY! Find your local comics specialty shop.

Wednesday, February 23, 6 PM – 9 PM: ReggiesWorld.com launch party and signing with writer/director Reginald Hudlin (Black Panther) and special guests writer Dwayne McDuffie (JLA, Static), artist Denys Cowan (Black Panther, The Question), writers Mike Benson and Adam Glass (Luke Cage Noir), musician/comics creator Ziggy Marley (Marijuana Man), actors/comics creators Eriq La Salle (25 to Life) and Rashida Jones (Frenemy of the State), and sci-fi authors Tananarive Due (My Soul to Keep) and Steven Barnes (Lion’s Blood) at Golden Apple, 7018 Melrose Avel, Los Angeles 90038. Tickets: $0.

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Vote Best Comics for CityVoter LA’s Hotlist

Collector's Paradise - Currently at 1st place

CityVoter LA has posted online ballots to determine their LA Hotlist for 2010. They’ve been doing this since 2007 and this year there’s a Best Comics category. Oh how far we’ve come!

Collector’s Paradise in Winnetka has been appealing to their customers to vote for them, and so far it’s paying off. They’re at 1st place right now, followed by Metropolis Comics in Bellflower for 2nd and Njoy Games & Comics in Northridge has 3rd place. Other nominees include The Comic Bug, House of Secrets, and Golden Apple Comics. If your favorite store isn’t listed, you can also do write-ins.

Comic shops also pop up in other categories. Best Art Gallery has three comics-related nominees: comic shops Meltdown Comics and Collectibles and Secret Headquarters both have galleries, and Every Picture Tells A Story specializes in comics art. Hi De Ho Comics is running in the Best Bookstore category.

As an added incentive, voters are entered into a $10,000 Staycation Sweepstakes.

Voting ends March 18. Winners will be announced March 25.

Comics Events in LA: Week of 1/9/11

You don’t have to sit at home alone reading to get into comic books and graphic novels. There are always great events going on that celebrate the vitality and creativity of comics. Just here in Los Angeles, there are more events I can ever make. But I try, and so should you. You never know what you’ll discover.

Here are some local Los Angeles events coming up that celebrate the sequential art form.

This week:

Monday, January 10, 7 PM: Tales of the Extraordinary, a 1920s pulp radio serial, spends the month performing their live story “Islands,” using the audience as sound FX, at Meltdown Comics, 7522 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles 90046. The band Windows to Sky opens. Tickets: $8.

Wednesday, January 12: NEW COMICS DAY! Find your local comics specialty shop.

Wednesday, January 12, 6 PM – 8 PM: Todd McFarlane (co-founder, Image Comics) signs Spawn #200, the second-longest running independent comic book series in history, at Golden Apple Comics, 7018 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles 90038. Limit 2 items per person. Tickets: $0. (more…)