Comic Wire

Thu, April 19th, 2001 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

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MICHAEL CHABON WINS PULIZTER PRIZE FOR NOVEL ABOUT GOLDEN AGE OF COMICS

[The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay]When "Unbreakable" hit movie theaters last year, there was a lot of talk about comic books getting recognition as more than just kid's stuff. On Monday, real critical attention was turned, after a fashion, on the comic book industry.

Novelist Michael Chabon won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," the tale of two comic creators in 1939.

"I'm very excited and thrilled and excited," Chabon told the Washington Post. "It took me a long time to write this book."

While Chabon's prize money -- $7,500 -- is small potatoes in the realm of awards, a Pulitzer Prize can catapult a book onto the best-sellers chart.

Chabon, who is also the writer of "Wonder Boys," which was adapted into a film starring Michael Douglas last year, beat out Joyce Carol Oates and Joy Williams for the prize.

WILL THE LAST APE OUT OF THE JUNGLE, TURN OUT THE LIGHTS?

GORILLA GOES EXTINCT

[Ape Nation]If gorillas wore shoes, the other one would have just hit the floor.

On Wednesday, Kurt Busiek announced what many had expected for some time: The Gorilla imprint is no more.

"As of the end of May, we'll be closing down the ApeNation website," Busiek said in the State of the Ape newsletter. "With no Gorilla projects on the schedule at the moment beyond 'Tales of Tellos,' there simply isn't enough stuff coming out from Gorilla to justify keeping it open -- it's already been a while since we were able to justify maintaining it regularly, as some of you have already noticed.

"As for the rest of Gorilla ... well, there really isn't anything else to shut down."

The Gorilla imprint was founded by Busiek and friends as a creator-owned line that would branch out beyond the superhero works they were best known for. Speculation about the future, or lack thereof, of Gorilla began in earnest when George Prez and Mark Waid left for exclusive contracts with CrossGen, but as Busiek explained in the newsletter, the trouble began long before that.

"We had intended Gorilla to be a fully-funded, formally and legally-structured publishing company, but as has been reported before, once we were under way it turned out that our financial backer didn't have the financing he said he did, and wasn't able to get it."

The Gorilla line was originally to be supported by revenues generated by the full service comic book Web site EHero, which was stillborn due to lack of financing.

"At that point, the idea of Gorilla as an actual legal entity evaporated, without it ever having happened. But the creators that had joined Gorilla had made announcements and even solicited books, and we were unwilling to walk away from that, leaving those promises unfulfilled. So we decided to finance our own books out of our own pockets -- to hope that the books would do well enough to sustain themselves on that kind of shoestring, but in any case to get them out, to deliver what we said we would.

"And the end result, as you know, was delayed books, production difficulties, and more. Some of us fared better than others. But we all gave it our best shot.

"In the end, though, there are no corporate officers, no editors, no promo guys, no offices to close or contracts to dissolve. We each did our books on our own hook, banded together as allies, as friends. And there's no need to dissolve that.

"And the best part -- for all the difficulties, all the delays -- is that Gorilla was fully-creator-owned, and we all had complete control and complete freedom on our

books. And we still do. We all created something new, and ape or no ape, we all still own what we did, and can continue it or not as we can best manage, through Image or any other company we choose to strike a deal with. We all made something -- we're all proud of that -- and what we made still exists.

"We'd like to thank everyone at Image Comics -- notably Jim Valentino, Anthony Bozzi, Brent Braun and Traci Hale -- for all their help and support, and everyone at Comicraft -- including Richard Starkings, Eric Wong, Jason Levine and the lovely and talented John Roshell, designer and webmaster of ApeNation -- for going way, way, waaaaay above and beyond the call of duty in making Gorilla happen, for as long as it did. Thanks to the retailers who supported us, the cons who welcomed us, the reviewers and reporters who helped spread the work. And of course, a major jungle-roar thank-you to all the readers who picked up and enjoyed the books -- without you, there's not much point to any of it."

While Busiek spoke for the Banana Trust generally, there were more personal good-byes from the individual creators as well: Mark Waid and Barry Kitson, Prez, Busiek and Stuart Immonen, Karl Kesel, and Todd Dezago

TWICE UPON A TIME:

MEDLEY LEAVES CARTOON BOOKS FOR SELF-PUBLISHING

Everything old is new again. Linda Medley's "Castle Waiting" returned last year after a long absence from comic racks, but not as a self-published venture, but through Cartoon Books, the publishers of "Bone."

On Tuesday, Medley announced that "Castle Waiting" would be once again published under her own imprint, Olio.

"It's far more cost-effective for me to self-publish the book, and I'm looking forward to doing things my own way again," Medley said in her press release.

Also returning to the way it used to be is the series' numbering.

"I'm going to 'overlap' the current and original numbering at first, to (hopefully)

avoid confusion," Medley said. "The first new Olio issue -- 'Volume 2, #5' will also be numbered #12; it's due out in May. The issue following that -- 'Volume 2, #6' will also be numbered #13. After #13, I'm dropping the whole 'Volume Whatever, Number Whatever' nonsense. The issues will just be numbered sequentially."

Future plans also include a reprint of the "Curse of Brambly Hedge" graphic novel, trade paperback collections and merchandise.

Cartoon Books had previously reprinted the first volume of "Castle Waiting" as the "Lucky Road" trade paperback. That relationship, too, is coming to an end.

"Cartoon Books should be selling the remaining copies of their edition through Diamond Liquidations," Medley told the Comic Wire on Tuesday. "I'll be handling any future editions."

TO LIVE AND DIE IN THE COMIC BRIEF

Here's the heaping handful of what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief:

  • CrossGen wins Two Diamond Gem Awards

  • Fan favorite writers to play DC Universe Roleplaying Game with fans at spring conventions

  • Image Comics solicitations for product shipping July, 2001 with covers

  • DC Comics solicitations for product shipping July, 2001 with covers

  • PREVIEW: "Green Lantern: Willworld"

  • Image 2001 - July through December

  • Jon Lewis revisits his True Swamp with August 2001 Alternative Comics release

  • Blue Line Pro publishes Little White Mouse

As for last time in the Comic Wire:

  • "B.C." Serves Up Controversy for Easter Dinner

  • Colleen Doran Talks Sexy (Comics)

  • Yes, Virginia, There is a Spider-Girl: The Letter That Saved a Comic

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