It’s taken over three and a half years, but writer (and Jeopardy!-winner) Andrew Rostan has finally gotten his OGN, An Elegy For Amelia Johnson published this week through Archaia. During C2E2, Rostan was visibly exuberant to have his work out in the wild, telling MTV a little about its journey from initial concept to finished product.

The story is about the titular Amelia who, upon finding out that she’s dying of cancer, convinces her friends to lifelong friends to journey cross-country to chronicle her life. The friends are Henry, an Oscar-winning documentarian, and Jillian, a high-strung magazine writer, and through the course of learning more about their friend they begin to discover more about each other and the lives that—in spite of their successes—they’ve failed to live.

Rostan hopes that readers come away from Amelia Johnson feeling “a greater sense of something for others” after reading this story about “what it means to be human.” When we last spoke with Rostan and artist Dave Veleza about the book two months ago, Rostan explained how the themes of the book were born, in part, by the difficulties he was having in life at the time attempting to understand who he wanted to be and how he wanted to live:

In fact, probably the best passages of it were written in a time when I was really unsure where my future was heading… Amelia became, in a lot of ways, a projection of what I wanted, but more importantly, a goal so many of us in this world should aim for. Amelia is… a happy woman because she chose what she wanted and accomplished it. She chose what she wanted out of her life, what she wanted out of love, and her relationships, and that was the basis for her contentment.


             C2E2 2011: Andrew Rostan On The Humanity Of 'An Elegy For Amelia Johnson'
Rostan credits Savannah Institute of Art and Design grad Veleza with successfully visualizing the world in the script, saying “I would get a little heart attack every time I opened my e-mail.” Unfortunately, Veleza was unavailable to finish work on the book, necessitating his SIAD classmate Kate Kasenow to come in and work on the remainder of the book, finishing it in what Rostan says was record time. Veleza’s SIAD classmates also came through in a pinch, delivering feedback during its creation about the structure and throughline of the book resulting in Rostan scrapping and subsequently re-writing 70% of the story. Read More...

Click the images for previews for the new releases hitting the shelves from Archaia Comics on March 2!

Days Missing: Kestus #4

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Readers of the recent Fraggle Rock Vol. 1 hardcover collection received a treat with a short story featuring John Chandler's quirky characters The Skrumps included in the back. In March, Archaia will be providing readers will for full trip to Skrumpland with a 32-page one-shot. The project evolved from a partnership between Chandler, Archaia, and the Jim Henson company, and appears to be another brick in the empire the empire being created by the writer/artist.

The Skrumps themselves actually had storybook origins--literally. Chandler says he created his characters through a series of storybooks:

"It was a book that I had written and illustrated with colored pencils back in 1994 and I had [written] and illustrated books for a long time, where I sort of cultivated a universe of stories and characters… They were these cool kind of wonderful characters that came from a place called “Skrumpland,” and inhabited this little sort of universe… The first book turned into two books, and then two turned into five, and then I had this series of Skrump stories..."

He became so invested in the creation of these the Mooch, Skrumpie, and the gang, that he decided to realize them in three dimension. So in the 90's, Chandler actually began sculpting colorful Skrump figures. Having some success with creating vinyl figures, Chandler was enlisted by heavyweights Viacom and Fox to create licensed toys for several of their properties, and after a time he became inspired to strike out on his own and make The Skrumps a full-time endeavor, with Chandler returning to the storybooks as inspiration:

"It turned into this sort of business where I was making toys to go with the little storybooks and I started to collect the characters going with each book… This was basically by myself, before it turned into a real business… I ended up starting a toy company in about 1999, and I ended up learning a lot about the toy business and the publishing business as well. And I figured out how to get toys made overseas and self distribution—kind of like proactive entrepreneurial work with a toy company, because I got licenses to make toys for movies."

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Click the images to see previews of the new comics that Archaia has hitting the shelves on Wednesday, February 2.

Days Missing: Kestus #3

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In March, Archaia will release its first OGN for 2011 with the road trip drama about love, life, and loss, An Elegy For Amelia Johnson. In the pages of this black and white work by writer Andrew Rostan and artists Dave Valeza, and Kate Kasenow, two type A professionals--filmmaker Henry and writer/journalist Jillian--are tasked by their dying friend Amelia with making a video document of her life by talking to her friends, family, and acquaintances as her time draws to a close. In their travels, the prickly duo come to discover different sides to one of their closest friends while also gaining a better understanding of themselves.

In reading the book, its core appears to be about the unexamined life--both the life you're living and the lives of the people you're close to. The two leads are, according to Mr. Mr. Veleza, the type who define themselves according to the achievements in their professional lives while their personal lives falter around them. Jillian has just walked away from another relationship, while Henry is in a rut, putting together artful, but impersonal films. The two characters are in direct contrast to Amelia, a free-spirited poet and painter with a pile of unfinished projects and seemingly no regret.

"[T]he book is about when all those building blocks come tumbling down and [Henry and Jillian] have to face the foundation on which they built everything—what’s at their rawest core, I guess," explains Mr. Veleza. Mr. Rostan adds that when we're younger, we feel like we can conquer the world, and that "there are limitless possibilities out there." But for Amelia and Henry, the conflict--before even being sent on this tremendous favor for Amelia--comes from realizing that they're unable to shape the world in the ways that they expected, and they're not entirely sure they're the people they set out to be.

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Click the images for previews of new releases for Wednesday, January 26 from Archaia Comics.

Fraggle Rock Vol. 2 #2

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Click the covers for previews of these great titles hitting January 19 from Archaia Comics!

Feeding Ground #3 Preview

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Feeding Ground #3 will be on shelves January 19.

According to writer Swifty Lang, the genesis of his border crossing turned werewolf horror comic, Feeding Ground were the real life harrowing tales of the men, women, and children who daily attempt to cross over into the United States from both the documentary of his friend Thomas Peyton, 3 Men From 3 Valleys as well as Luis Alberta Urea's book, The Devil's Highway, and certainly the frequent newspaper headlines about the issue. The concept was also born, obviously enough, from conversations about werewolves. Not only was Lang interested in moving the classic monster away from the old tropes and limitations of silver and full moons, but he was interested in the metaphorical aspects of the creatures.

The idea of transformation, the most integral part of the monster, struck me as something not only corollary but integral to the crosser’s journey of seeking out a new life... How does one survive and what is their reason to continue?

The story involves a coyote and family man--Diego Busqueda--who encounters one of these monsters out along the Arizona-Mexico border and the treacherous crossing he attempts with his family to escape threats both supernatural and criminal. Lang says that he feels Diego's story--the non-supernatural elements, at least--represent an American story, in that he and his collaborators on the series are "are attempting to tap into what is universal about sacrificing one’s identity to make a better life for their family."

Written by Lang, and co-created along with series designer and layout artist Chris Mangun, and illustrator Michael Lapinski, the series was born through the crucible of collaboration, with the trio "duking out the beats," according to Lang. "We literally have ‘kill cards’ in which we shoot down each others' ideas; there is a pretty intense vetting process." Read More...

By Alex Zalben

We all know it’s coming: sooner or later, the dead will walk the Earth, chomping on the brains of the living like there’s no tomorrow. AND THERE WILL BE NO TOMORROW. Cough. Anyway, luckily for all of us, we’ve had hundreds of comic books doing pretty much nothing except prepare us for the rise of our undead overlords. So here’s ten handy tips you should remember when you start to see your neighbor shambling down the street, looking a little worse for the wear.

1. Acceptance

It’s a zombie apocalypse, so GET OVER IT. Stop pretending you’ve never seen a zombie movie, or whining, and saying that it’s the real world, and zombies don’t exist, like in Archaia’s Awakening. The town of Park Falls refusing to accept they have a zombie problem for nearly a year, just because it usually is something straight out of fiction. Yeah, right, just like aliens, guys. Jeez.

2. Stay Calm and British

Once you’ve accepted the fact that they’re zombies, it might help if you’re the World’s Greatest Detective. No, not Batman. Sherlock Holmes, who battled hordes of the evil undead, as well as his archenemy Moriarity in Wildstorm’s Victorian Undead. All the while, he kept his cool and smarts around him. So keep a stiff upper lip, and you might live to see another day, old chap. Read More...

The latest series in David Peterson's popular Mouse Guard books, The Black Axe is a prequel to both Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Winter 1152. The Black Axe is set in the year 1115 and tells the tale of the mouse who first wielded the powerful weapon known as The Black Axe.

"I'm writing it a little differently than I've written some of the others," Peterson said at the 2010 Baltimore Comic Con. "Because this is kind of a personal story, it's being narrated in dialogue boxes, almost journal style." He added, "I thought this story needed something kind of different, since it is a prequel, show this is a different kind of story than the normal Mouse Guard stories." Read More...

Check out what's hitting the shelves from Archaia today, December 2! Click the covers for free previews!

Feeding Ground #2 Preview

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Imagine walking into your local comic shop and coming out with a free stack of brand-new comics! The Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) committee makes this a reality every year -- and they have just announced their Gold sponsors and comic book titles for FCBD 2011, which is scheduled for May 7th. The Gold sponsors are:

Ape Entertainment: Kung-Fu Panda and Richie Rich Flip-Book
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Press Release

Fresh on the heels of news that one of its publications, RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN, sold out of its initial run of 10,000 copies at the distributor level in just 24 hours, Archaia is proud to announce that the MOUSE GUARD: LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 1 collected edition hardcover has sold out of its initial run of 15,000 copies within the first two days of its availability!

The latest MOUSE GUARD hardcover has charmed critics and readers alike with its eclectic mix of storytelling and art styles, all set in David Petersen’s wonderful world of mice with swords. A second printing is being rushed and will arrive in stores in time for the holidays.

“Archaia and I put a lot of thought into how we would want to make and present a MOUSE GUARD anthology,” said Petersen. “After seeing the contributors execute their stories so well and seeing the final book layout and design, I am very happy the public agreed with our choices and rallied behind this book enough to have us sell out of a first printing so quickly! It gets me very excited for what we will have in store with LEGENDS OF THE GUARD VOL. 2.” Read More...

We recently told you about Archaia's Return of the Dapper Men and chatted with the book's artist Janet Lee at the 2010 New York Comic Con. And now look at that! The book went ahead and sold out in record time!

Check out the official press release from Archaia:

Hailed in the press and by reviewers everywhere as an “instant classic” and the perfect gift for any reader this holiday season, RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN has sold out its initial run of 10,000 copies at the distributor level within the first 24 hours of being on sale.

Created by Jim McCann and Janet Lee and published by Archaia, this modern fairytale has been gaining buzz for months based on its breathtaking art and unique yet timeless story. Already on many Holiday Gift Guides, including Publishers Weekly and The New York Times, Archaia is rushing a second printing to meet the incredible demand and ensure that RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN will be available through booksellers everywhere during this holiday season. Read More...

Who are the Dapper Men?

Here's the official synopsis from Archaia Comics:

Welcome to Anoreve, 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. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world again. Now Ayden, the only boy to still ask questions; Zoe, the robot girl all other machines hold dear; and the Dapper Man known only as “41” must discover what happened that made time stop, understand what their true places are in this world, and learn what “tomorrow” really means. The sun is setting for the first time in memory, and once that happens, everything changes.

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