"Where the Smurf are we?"

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Just to give you a laugh as you head out for the weekend, the trailer for THE SMURFS, which stars Neil Patrick Harris as the human who gets embarrassed and frazzled by dealing with his new friends, and Harvey Pekar Hank Azaria as Gargamel.

Nice art: Resident Alien by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse

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Okay, some Dark Horse love for the new series RESIDENT ALIEN, one of a number of series premiering in the new DARK HORSE PRESENTS.

Nice art: NONPLAYER by Nate Simpson

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Continuing on the whole Image Comics kick we’re on, here’s a piece on NONPLAYER by Nate Simpson and why it might be the next NIGHTLY NEWS.

Simpson — not to be confused with Nate Powell or Nate Doyle — is a relative newcomer to comics, but has a long background as a video game designer.

Jeff Smith's RASL in development with Wigram

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Deadline reports that Jeff Smith’s RASL is being developed by SHERLOCK HOLMES roducer Lionel Wigram. The series, the follow-up to Smith’s million-selling fantasy Bone, concerns an art thief who jump to different universes to steal priceless works of art, but at a great personal cost.

Image continues to sell out with THE INTREPIDS and CARBON GREY

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Another email PR this afternoon from Image Comics, announcing more sellouts and second printings, this time for THE INTREPIDS by Kurtis Wiebe and Scott Kowalchuk and Hoang Nguyen‘s CARBON GREY. While such press releases have a strong component of sheer hype, and don’t necessarily indicate ginormous sales, it’s worth noting that we get as many of them from Image these days as from Marvel (DC no longer sends out press releases). Given the recent strengthening of the mid-list, even as the top of the charts shrinks, this could be seen as another example of the increasing democratization of comics sales. We’d also note that both comics sport a a fresher, non-house style look. Maybe there is an audience for something new after all.

Friday afternoon links

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We apologize to linking to these at a time when no one reads the internet, but sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles.

§ Two — TWO — competing takes on the greatest events in comics. One by Matt Wilson at Topless Robot and another by Alex Zalben at MTV Geek:

Beating around SXSW Interactive

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Austin’s South By South West has long been hailed THE place to play your new Renaissance-powered noise band or screen your documentary on the failings of mankind. As a former Austinite myself, I know the activity of the town pulses as if the city itself is running a marathon. The University of Texas students are off on Spring Break allowing for a different sort of tourist to take their spaces at the taco carts, oddly-named bars (hello, Mooseknuckle) and marvel at the bats of Congress Bridge.

Marvel announces Thor & Loki for download

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Continuing Thor’s conquest of all media, Marvel is releasing a new animated Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers series, based on the Robert Rodi and Esad Ribic mini, that explains why they don’t get along. The series will be available for download on iTunes, XBox and PlayStation starting 3/28 for $2.99 in HiDef and $1.99 in standard. The trailer debuted on Wired and producer Ruwan Jayatilleke talked about the story:

To do Saturday: Lorenzo Mattotti & Dave McKean in conversation

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Dave McKean and Italian comics artist Lorenzo Mattotti will be in London this weekend and will be hold a discussion concerning Celluloid (McKean’s upcoming graphic novel), Stigmata (Mattotti’s recent graphic novel from Fantagraphics), and who knows what else.