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Indie comics news: TMNT/Ghostbuster meet, ComiXology DRM-free and Lara Antal

Who're ya gonna call...TURTLE POWER!
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IDW and BOOM! Studios plan major license crossovers including "TMNT/Ghostbusters", "Star Trek/Planet of the Apes" and "Angry Birds Transformers"!

Both IDW and BOOM! Studios are third party publishers who rely on a great deal of licensed properties as well as some samples of creator owned features. Now, both companies are taking advantage of both their stock of licensed comics based on well known franchises as well as the direct market's zeal for crossover events. Near the top of these products is an internal IDW crossover, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters", which will celebrate the 30th anniversary of both franchises. While IDW has done some stories in which characters from their various licensed comics (such as "TMNT", G.I. Joe", "Transformers" and "The X-Files") appeared at various segments, none of them ever met or fought on panel. In this new crossover, however, the Ninja Turtles and the founding Ghostbusters against an unknown threat. The series will be written by Tom Waltz (co-writer of "TMNT") and Erik Burnham (writer of "Ghostbusters"), with art by Dan Schoening, and will begin a four issue run in October. Despite the fact that this unites two iconic hero teams from the 1980's, one may fret about what could possibly cause these quartets to meet. However, the Ninja Turtles have often faced supernatural threats (such as ghosts or demons) which is naturally well within the realm of the Ghostbusters. In addition, meeting the New York based Ninja Turtles could easily be seen by the Ghostbusters as having proven that an "urban myth" about sewer mutants are real. At the very least, it will be great to finally see these two franchises meet in a canonical adventure which (hopefully) has nothing to do with an anti-drug ad.

This is not the first meeting of two franchises planned for the fall. IDW also announced "Angry Birds Transformers" for that quarter by John Barber and artist Marcelo Ferriera with covers provided by a round robin of "Transformers" artists. If anyone is surprised that "Angry Birds" has a licensed comic, you're not the only one. At any rate, this mini series will see Transformers versions of the birds take on Decepticon versions of their enemies, the pigs. In more fascinating news is an alliance between IDW and BOOM! Studios for a "Star Trek/Planet of the Apes: the Primate Directive", whose title itself is a play on geek terms that only true geeks may appreciate. Scott and David Tipton will co-write the book with art by Rachael Scott, who is a "newcomer". The series will involve the original Trek cast led by James T. Kirk teaming up with the ape Dr. Zaius to battle an alliance between evil gorillas and Klingons. If this sounds strange, then one has not only forgotten how many alternate time line stories done in "Star Trek" as well as the fact that the Enterprise crew met the X-Men in the 90's...twice.

It is now possible to own, rather than rent, ComiXology digital comics!

Due to fears about the direct market, while legal digital comic sales have grown over the year, in reality most buyers don't truly own what they buy. Often digital comics are not sold as direct files but as access to files which are accessed when logged into a particular server, website account, or "cloud" digital service. Now, paradigm has changed as a variety of comic book publishers - who are not the "big two" or IDW - have announced a plan to offer back up files for all digital comics sold via ComiXology as PDF or CBZ files which can be saved and stored on any hard drive or even a flash drive, CD or floppy disc.

Publishers included in this deal are Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, and Top Shelf Productions. ComiXology CEO David Steinberger has stated this as another move to expand his business (which is now owned by Amazon) to more readers worldwide, especially those who criticized the service as not allowing them to own their purchases. Now, someone could actually print a copy of a digital copy they paid for at their home printer (as long as they have a lot of ink).

"So What? Press"' Lara Antal puts a new spin on an old choking poster!

In some local news, Brooklyn based comic book creator Lara Antal has seen her profile and talent highlighted by the Wall Street Journal. The co-founder of "So What? Press" as well as the co-creator and co-writer of "Tales of the Night Watchman" was featured in an article about how many local restaurants and bars in Brooklyn as well as other boroughs in New York are personalizing the old "choking first aid" poster which must be there by law. Local artists are being commissioned to craft distinct posters for the establishments that commission them, adding to their quirky flair. Antal's full poster can be viewed on her website and purchased on Etsy.

Image Comics and Dark Horse announce their next batch of creator owned titles!

ICV2 has a list of a dozen new titles being offered by Dark Horse Comics and Image Comics for the fall as well as the start of the next year from the San Diego Comic Con. One can see that the number of high profile talents doing their own stuff has increased in recent years as a way to evolve away from the "big two" work for hire system, at least for their entire careers.