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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

*Ahem*

Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? I hope you've all been keeping well and keeping out of trouble. I'm popping in here for two reasons. First reason: You people who are still leaving comments here? You all need to get out the house more.

Second reason: Leave comments at my new home, Blog@Newsarama (Yes, I know; Matt Brady and I share an interesting sense of humor, what can I say?), instead. For those of you who just want me to be rude and snarky, you may prefer my Savage Critic gig, mind you...

That's all.

Monday, October 17, 2005



It's all Dirk Deppey's and John Jakala's fault; blame them. They were the ones who made this comic blogging thing look all cool and shit to me, way back when, and I've never been any good with peer pressure. Little did I know the horrific price that the Comics Blogosphere Thunderdome takes from its citizens. No sooner have ADD's arctic shit knife wounds healed than you've got to start limboing under bars that're always being raised and lowered, all while people are giving you shit because you haven't read Street Angel or Scott Pilgrim yet. I'm telling you, the only reason that Neilalien has lasted so long is because he kills younger, more innocent, bloggers and drinks their blood in some twisted Ditko-inspired mystical ceremony.

So, yeah. The end of Fanboy Rampage!!!. There are ridiculous numbers of people who've made this whole thing enjoyable for me, but thanking them all would make this into some kind of embarrassing Oscar speech. So, instead, I'll pick favorites, even though I know that I'm going to forget someone and they'll get stroppy with me: Kate (obviously), Ed, John, Shawn, two Chrises (Hunter and Butcher - which now sounds like they should have a TV show together where they fight crime. Or prepare meat), two Davids (Welsh and Campbell), three Matts (Maxwell, Brady and Craig), two Kevins (Church and Melrose), James, Kirsten, Larry, Jared, Ian, Brian, Jeff, Nora and Sean (partners in crime), Johanna, Heidi, Tom, Rose, Joe Rybrandt, Tim Comic Foundry, Arune (who I am blaming for my recent love of the OC), Neil Kleid (who I'm sure would want me to mention his new Image series The Intimidators around now), Gail Simone, Warren Ellis (who first told me to stop the blog about a year ago, and was probably right), Alex DeCampi, Darwyn Cooke for giving me the New Frontier cover first, Steve Lieber, Jeff Parker, Kurt Busiek for winning all the time... It'd be sentimental and mawkish to thank everyone who commented (well, except for those just leaving the dickish comments, of course), but I'm Scottish and that kind of thing is expected of us on practically any kind of occasion, so thank you all for being funnier than me and making the blog fun for me to read on for two years, y'bastards.

For everyone who's been leaving comments along the lines of "What am I supposed to do with my workday now?": Luckily, the blogosphere contains an infinite amount of crisises (in a nice way, of course): I'd direct your collective eyes to the blogbar on the left, with special attentions to be paid to The Low Road, Dave's Long Box, Beaucoup Kevin, the All Star Punchdrunk Pop Culture Review, The Savage Critics, I Am The Best Source of News And Commentary About Comics Around, Electrically They Keep The Baseball Score and My Third Reason To Move To Canada, because they're the ones I read the most. But then again, I like Superman/Batman, so my tastes are probably suspect.

To end with, a link so terrible it had to be the last thing I link to here: K-Box's Ultimate Aunt May porn. Yes, I saved the best for last. Although, admittedly, only if you have an interesting and somewhat perverse definition of "best".

Goodbye, Cruel World.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Good God. I forgot that other people could post on here.

Um. Thanks, Chris.

Hello, this is Christopher Butcher.

Shocking, I know.

On October 16th, 2003, Graeme "Grim" McMillan started a blog. His first post went something like this:

"Bryan Hitch has posted about upcoming issues of The Ultimates over at Millarworld: "Issue 13: 40 pages, issue 12: 28 pages; a total of 70 pages of non-stop action since issue 11 ended and more than sixty additional story pages since issue one. Just in case anybody hadn't noticed!"

Of course, it'll have taken about two years for those thirteen issues to have come out, so slapping yourself on the back about 60 "extra" pages is a bit much, Bryan. I mean, if you and Mark Millar had gotten the comic out on schedule, there would be about 200 extra pages compared to what exists now...

Now, almost two years later, while the message that Graeme linked to is no longer really there (though at least the schedule for The Ultimates remains consistant), Fanboy Rampage lives on. At least for another few hours, maybe? Regardless of what happens Monday, I thought it might be nice to wish Graeme a "Happy Blogoversery" for keeping up with Fanboy Rampage for two very, very long years. Or, at least, two years less the week where he put people like me in charge and it all went to shit. :)

Happy Blogoversery Graeme, and many happy returns.

- Christopher

Friday, October 14, 2005

I normally leave the birthday wishes thing to Tom, but it's Larry Young's birthday on Sunday and that kind of thing should be marked.

While I'm abusing the blog, Mindy, I'm finally mentioning you.

It's official - Action Comics #835 will be the last issue by Gail Simone and John Byrne. And I'm not the only one sad about that (Hey, I like Gail's writing. Why're you looking at me like that?). Mr. Byrne?:

"The reason is no secret. Apparently it is now 'policy' to rotate the creative teams (including the editor) on Superman titles. Gail and I were hired (tho I was not told this when I agreed to do the book, or I would have declined) to 'fill the gap' between one team and the next."

(Yeah, yeah, I know. You all want one last link where Byrne overreacts to something and looks a bit of a dick. Hopefully this will do. Note that the thread is closed after Byrne's post.)

The final Bendis Board link. It seems fitting:

"We need a secret handshake. We never see each other, so it's totally ignorant, but still. Maybe some decoder rings, too. Call ourselves the Bendluminati."

"Great, then comes the whining when the first person discovers they don't know it. 'Cliques, wah wah wah!'"

"I agree on the condition that it involves nudity... and that I henceforth only meet female board members..."

Millarworld - Not that impressed with Marvel's Decimation plans:

"APATHY ENGINES GO"

"So they're really using House of M as a magic wand to get rid of continuity? I wish I could tell you how unimpressed I am with that. Jeez. Didn't they at various points establish alien threats specifically to mutants? How about using those to get rid of 'em? Or even the fucking sentinels? At least that way, there'd be some dramatic impact. They should also be aware that by going back to the 60s, they'll give the MU a sixties feel. That whole explosion of mutants was, at least in Morrison-ish terms, about futurism, transhumanism and evolution of society. Those are valid and vital tropes of the 21st century; now they're going back to tired motifs of the sixties because they're safe. So. Fucking. Boring."

"One of the advantages of the concept was that you could associate it to whatever minority you wanted to. Now, 200 mutants only? That's not a minority, that's an anomaly."

"'[K]illing' 5,999,980 mutants (who don't even exist now), offpanel, doesn't mean anything when they're not going to do anything drastic to any actual characters that are used. Sure, if they got rid of Storm or Kitty Pride or something, that would be an event, but 6 million faceless, nameless mutants isn't anything big."

Heidi returns to the fray with three longish posts about current goings-on on this comics Earth-Internet. One linking to some recent writings on fandom...:

"Fanboy. Otaku. Collector. There's something about getting stuff. For some it is a fun hobby; for others, (like The Beat) it becomes a vast blob that overcomes other aspects of life."

...another on the current Tokyopop thing...:

"What's most interesting here is kind of the generational shift. The old timers are cautioning the kids, who are basically saying 'It's my life!' Older creators who are working for Tokyopop -- and there are PLENTY -- are generally staying discretely mum."

(Rivkah is kind of doing the "It's my life!" thing over at The Engine right now, to prove Heidi's point: "And so, to everybody who's never actually seen a contract from TP that isn't more than a year old: stop spreading rumors. You're treating us like we don't know what we're doing. While I am positive that you are attempting to help us in our better interest, the majority of us that you call 'kids' do have a lot of business sense. I've recieved very nice emails and IMs this week about this thread, thanking me for speaking up. NO creator wants to openly discuss their contracts. However, the main concern has been the outright venom that's been drawn from the opposite side of the field. Some of you speak like we're idiots without a lick of sense in our heads, and frankly, it does a disservice to our intelligence. I know what I signed, and if I say I'm happy with what I have, then I am... Ten years from now, I'm not going to bemoaning the contract I signed for 'Steady Beat.' So stop trying to speak for me or other creators. If you want to change things, then go get a job at TOKYOPOP or write Stu a letter.")

...and a third on female nerds:

"There was once a time when female nerds were so rare that just finding a woman who admitted to having read a comic made her the perfect woman for male comics fans. Now that women are emancipated enough to be obsessive about trivial things, people can afford to be more choosy, and should be. Female nerds are here to stay, and everyone should be happy about it."

As this wretch of a blog prepares to turn into a zombie, David Campbell is out there making sure that there is one blog that knows how to say Fuck Yeah to comics.

DC rules the book charts and takes half of the top 10 in the single issue charts, but overall Marvel have the higher unit and dollar shares. That's right, kids. It's the September sales charts.

Linking to a post in one of my own comments threads may be too self-referential - especially on the same day when the first link was to someone complaining about the blog - but Lea Hernandez posted some more interesting links about the Tokyopop situation. Of most interest to me is this link she provided, for those who are wishing to hear from those who have done business with Tokyopop:

"Tavisha and I were the first Americans to be published by Tokyopop, and when we signed, Stu used a Random House contract as the model because they didn't have any standards set, yet. Yes, we do have 100% ownership of our characters because we signed before the deal changed, but Ken Levin still thinks we have a shitty contract (because we signed it a year before he became our manager). No. I would not have signed a 40/60 ownership deal, because sharing a copyright with the guy who pays you means the guy who pays you owns everything, because the guy with all the money has all the power. But what am I to do? I've tried several times over the past year to explain to the new kids just what this kind of deal means — and I've been shit on every time I've said anything. I've been called a liar and a trouble-maker, I've been talked badly about behind my back in offices and in IM's just because I've told the truth. Fuck them. I don't care if they get ripped off anymore."

Meanwhile, someone does some math about TP rates.

Over here, Lea gives her current take on the situation:

"I not only do not believe every creator who signed a TP contract went in 'eyes open', I'm now convinced they went in with their fingers in their ears, their eyes screwed shut, bellowing, 'Lalalala! I can't what if this is my big break hear you!'"

Archie's Tania del Rio did a chat at CBR, and the transcript is now up:

"I think, at the beginning, some people were suspicious of [Sabrina being relaunched as a manga-influenced title]. I think they thought we were just jumping on the bandwagon and trying to capitalize on a fad. But now that people have had a chance to read the story and see the art, hopefully they realize that this isn't just a cheap attempt to knock-off manga... I think it's great that Archie was willing to take a chance and change one of their oldest characters so drastically."

Apparently there may be Manga Archie in the future at some point, as well...

"I also know from personal experience that at the beginning of a career, the urge to have one’s work published overrides all other needs. The temptation to enter into any legal agreement just to see one’s work on the printed page is overwhelming. And what’s a solitary young cartoonist to do if the legal agreement is weighted in favor of the multi-national conglomerate with a raft of lawyers on its side? Well, I don’t think the mindset of most solitary young cartoonists is going to change at this point, so let’s just hope that none of them has created the next Superman or Captain America so early in his or her career."

No, it's not another Tokyopop thread, it's Eric Shanower talking about Jack Kirby, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, and their creative and business legacies...

Rich Kreiner looks at too much concentrated Bendis for his own good in the extended 12-inch disco mix of his TCJ article:

"There's a disclaimer sometimes advanced by writers, even if never spoken aloud, to discount criticism and unfavorable reactions of certain readers. The waiver, in its simplest form, runs 'Well, I didn't write that for him/her/whomever.' Several thousand pages ago it was clear that Brian Michael Bendis does not write for me. I'm not a member of the audience he attempts to address (and I assume the versa is true as well) unless that audience is identified solely as persons with money in their pocket from which they can be parted. Still, he having written and I having read, neither of us gets excused from the responsibilities of our respective positions."

"Getting in to comics is easy – probably too easy, really – but staying in and making money at it is much trickier. Too many people look to the exceptions as to how to build their business, not understanding that, ultimately, professionalism is what counts the most."

Brian Hibbs holds court on multiple subjects this month in Tilting at Windmills.

As we speed perilously close to destruction, Matt Brady brings me back down to earth with a realistic bump:

"To complain about [this very blog] is like yelling at an orange tree because it's not an apple tree (although, in that example, the oranges don't display smug self-righteousness and point at the apples and say, 'I'm glad we're not like them!' while they're also insulting every other tree in the forest). There's some Emperor's New Clothes, and speck in your brother's eye/log in your own analogies that can be made too, but I don't have the time...but, at the end of the day, I appreciate that they provide clear, real-world examples of classic moral value stories, and remind me of what I don't want to grow up to be like."

I really like Matt (which is my way of saying "Please don't do cheap shots at the man in the comments") so, you know, ouch.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Marvel talk about "Decimation":

"Asked to clarify 'Decimation', Mike Marts said that while it won't be the literal "decimation" of mutants (i.e. one in ten), but the term is being used to suggest a massive reduction of the mutant population. Quesada folowed up, adding that there will be a roughly 96% reduction, without massive carnage, and left it at that."

The number of X-Men-related books will, however, rise around 97%.

The Tokyopop contract issue builds. Chris Butcher wrote about something new - and kind of appalling - on his blog:

"There are clauses in certain creator contracts at Tokyopop that leave open the option for Tokyopop to sue the creators of the book if the book 'underperforms'. There is no sales figure attached to the phrase 'underperforms'. So what might be the kind of thing that would sour a relationship between a company and a creator to the point that the company sues said creator? I couldn't say, but perhaps going to The Engine and talking about your bad experience at Tokyopop might be a step in that direction?"

And in the comments thread attached, added the following:

"There was another clause in there, I just remembered I haven't seen it mentioned anywhere. I believe they put a maximum value on any monetary compensation you could recieve from derrivative works, like movies or anime books of your series not done by you or toys or whatever. I seem to remember it being $10,000. So your movie gets optioned for $45,000, and despite your '40% ownership', your cut maxes out at $10,000. Can anyone tell me if this is still the case?"

(CB Cebulski mentioned this in passing at The Engine: "The one thing that surprised me the most about the TokyoPop deal, even more so than the shared ownership or royalty caps, was the fact that they get automatic first option on your next ideas." My emphasis.)

Dirk Deppey and The Comics Journal then get involved. Heidi also offers commentary:

"The irony is that 15 years ago, the idea of creating and owning new characters, whether The Savage Dragon or Hellboy, was more important than it is now. I guess I don't blame the OEL generation for giving up copyright. Tokyopop is taking a giant gamble -- unprecedented in comics history, really -- on publishing literally scores and scores of books by new and untested creators."

It'll be interesting to see what comes out of this...

And to think, we knew him before he was getting interviewed at Newsarama about his new book Strangeways. Matt Maxwell, ladies and gentlemen:

"Why not blend genres? Other than because it’ll make booksellers’ lives difficult: 'Where do I shelf this? Next to Bram Stoker or Zane Grey?' The West, the iconic version, is all about the lone man making things right in a world without rules. In that, it shares a lot with film noir and detective fiction - another genre/ethos that I’m interested in. But it’s also about civilization asserting its dominance over wildness and wilderness. And really, it seems that selling a straight Western comics these days is a tough sell. Adding a touch of dark fantasy to things lets me look at both sides, hopefully in a new way. There’s plenty of time to mix up horror and gangsters later down the road. Though really, Eric Powell beat folks to that punch long ago. Not to mention Patrick Neighly’s The Supernaturalists..."

Erik Larsen comments:

"[Y]ou might be surprised to find out just how many outraged e-mails I got from my fellow creators over a certain column I wrote a couple weeks back. Zero. The creators that contacted me felt challenged and inspired-- as they were supposed to. Absolutely zero creators responded in a negative fashion to me directly. Sure, a couple guys went off on it in their blogs, but nobody had the stones to actually confront me about it either in person, by phone or by e-mail. There's a word for people like that. It's on the tip of my tongue. Perhaps a look back at that column might give you a clue what word I mean..."

Diana Schutz talks more about Sexy Chix:

"[O]ne fellow wrote me a fairly earnest letter not too long ago, after Sexy Chix had been solicited in Diamond Previews, complaining that the book’s cover logo (which, by the way, was designed by a woman, Dark Horse art director Lia Ribacchi) was 'written in curvy pretty font,' 'with a ‘Snow White’ bluebird,' and 'in pink' - as if those were all negatives! Not to me they’re not."

The Comics Journal looks at Rich Johnston's attempt at investigative journalism:

"On May 24, Johnston returned to his site after a three-month absence following the birth of his child first daughter, Eve. He announced he would inaugurate the second volume of Lying in the Gutters with a six-week experiment, in which the site would be 'run as an investigative-journalism column. Just to see what the fuss is about. Fewer but longer stories, a little less nonsense, a little more substance.' At the end of the six weeks, Johnston would tally his readers' votes as to whether he should continue the new format or return to his old ways... In a sidebar [in the print version of TCJ], the Journal applauded Johnston's experiment. Unfortunately, by the time the sidebar appeared in print, Johnston's six-week tryout had run its course and readers had voted 634 to 423 for Lying in the Gutters to remain a gossip column. The Journal was further deflated to learn from Johnston that it had all been a publicity stunt to draw visitors back to his site. Asked if the Journal's series had inspired him to give journalism a shot, he said, 'I was just looking for an attention-grabbing way to bring the column back from sabbatical... Online absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder -- it just leads to the removal of your bookmark in people's browsers.'"

Jamie Rich talks about Audrey Hepburn. Yes, it's only tangentally connected to comics, but it is Audrey Hepburn:

"As sexy as Audrey Hepburn can be, I've actually never really looked at her in an overly sexualized way. Partially because her imagery, arguably, has never been too sexual. Her films tend to be far more romantic, and she often plays the dreamer. The core films of her career are Cinderella stories--Roman Holiday, Sabrina, My Fair Lady, even Breakfast at Tiffany’s. When you watch something like Funny Face, and she’s playing a bookish woman who tries to hide in an intellectual world that is suddenly noticed for something more, it appeals to the dreamer in everybody... More recently, when working on my book I Was Someone Dead and preparing for a novel I just started, Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, I realized that I had been exploring a lot of themes similar to that, but more of the Breakfast at Tiffany's mold. Lulamae leaves her life and reinvents herself as the princess, becomes Holly Golightly. Most of my protagonists are making similar breaks from life and trying to get back."

Brian Wood previews another new series, Supermarket:

"'Cash Rules Everything Around Me'. In the future world of SUPERMARKET, it's the literal truth. Legitimate and black market economies rule the City, overseen by the vying factions of the Yakuza and Porno Swede crime families. Convenience store clerkette and 16-yo suburban wise-ass Pella Suzuki suddenly finds herself in the middle of it all, heir to an empire she couldn't possibly inherit, but hitmen on both sides aren't taking any chances."

The covers shown at the link above are beautiful. Go see.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

If I wasn't already married, and was homosexual, and lived in a country where gay marriage was (a) not such a hot-button topic and (b) you know, legal, and shit, then I would ask Shawn Hoke to marry me purely because of his new column at Comic World News:

"I understand that comics are important to you, I really do. I love them too or I wouldn't spend so much time writing about them. But this crusade to get others to like comics is beginning to feel kind of sinister. It feels a bit like the scary people that knock on your door and ask you if you know Jesus. If you live and breathe comics, if it's your passion, just be thankful you've got someone in your life that tolerates you and your love. Let them be and quit trying to force comics down their throat. Be happy that you're getting laid for once."

Yesterday, Raven Gregory. Today, Mario Gully. It's like it's shitty Image book week (as opposed to good Image book week, which is where I'd link to things about Sea of Red or Amazing Joy Buzzards or something). Anyway, Mr. Gully has done a Todd McFarlane "homage" for the cover of Ant #5. Here's a small version:



The larger version was previewed on the Image boards, where the fans offered a slight critique...

Fan #1: "the cover would look much better if we could see a little bit of a torso."

Gully: "Ok, but where is Ant gonna put her breasts at?"

Fan #2: "The cover looks good (and the idea is awesome), but the proportions are a bit off. Good thing you have plenty of time to tinker with it and make it absolutly great (like you did with issue 3's cover.)"

Gully: "Yeah, I did this one on purpose guys. I think it the top heavy anatomy just looks more bug like then human. I don't think if you draw the head smaller with the belly showing you get the same effect. I've been wrong before though."

Fan #3: "I'm sorry to say... I agree with the other guys. I don't know if its because ant is all red, (spawns more obvious where his body parts re goig because of his costume) but she look like she's playing twister with herself..."

Gully: "This is what I came up with guys. Now I know Spawn's head is a bit smaller then Ant's but the only refference I had was the right hand. Spawn's right hand. And...you see very little torso."

And to accompany his point, Gully posted this picture:



I'm sorry, everyone. Your eyes will recover.

Fan #1: "what if you change the size of ants head a little bit?"

Gully: "I thought about that man.. I really did. But I'm gonna let it go. I'm learning that perfection is in the PROCESS. All my covers simply can't be flawless. And if I make her head smaller then people will say her breast are too big and call me a man whore or something."

Tokyopop's free promo magazine Takuhai gets a name change and a venue change:

"In an editorial in the most recent issue of its Takuhai promotional magazine, Tokyopop revealed that subsequent issues will be available at bookstores and newsstands, and that, because of the widening of its distribution, Takuhai, which literally means "home delivery" in Japanese, will henceforth become Manga Magazine. Tokyopop will continue to mail the magazine to the homes of fans who signed up for the service, but the publisher will also make Manga Magazine available in bookstores, newsstands and comic shops by distributing it through CDS, its bookstore distributor, and via Diamond Comic Distributors."

Meanwhile, the Tokyopop contract discussion continues at The Engine, as Rob Valois appears and wants to set the record straight:

"OK, I’m a TP editor. I just want to jump in and say that there is no ONE Tokyopop deal. I don’t think there are 2 creators with the exact same contracts. Rivkah’s deal is not identical to Josh Elder’s deal, and they’re are both quite different from Neil Gaiman's or Sang-Sun Park's, or even Keith Giffen's. Our deals aren’t just 'take it or leave it' -- there’s a whole negotiation process and we are flexable. And as we’ve started second series with OEL creators, their new contracts are a lot better than their first ones."

Creator Lisa Renee Jonte responds:

"That doesn't surprise me, but there must be a boilerplate, otherwise all the commonalities wouldn't be coming up here. What nags at me though is that the boilerplate is weighted so heavily toward the publisher, even moreso than one would expect in this industry. It seems what you are saying then, is that TP is well aware of the less-than-equitable contract items, and that only creators who are saavy enough to find and negotiate around those items get a better contract. So, if a creator is young, and inexperienced they're just out of luck then? I'm not trying to be snarky here, I just really wonder why not start with a more commonly used set of contractual items in the first place? Mitigating financial risk and protecting TP's investment is one thing, but this certainly seems to go well beyond that."

Valois again:

"Of course there is a boilerplate, but all the specifics are customized to fit the paticular creator. As to why we don't use a more 'standard' formula is because TP is more than just a middleman between an artist and a domestic distributor. We have sales and production arms in the European and Asian markets. We've spent a lot of money to present every OEL book at the Frankfurt book fair. Just this week we licensed two new OEL to Germany (a giant market for graphic novels). We have a large marketing and PR staff -- we got Melissa DeJesus on Japanese TV and now we're receiving requests for a Japanese language Sokora Refugees! We have a film and TV development staff. We'e doing wireless deals based on the OEL books. Not to mention everything we do during con season to promote our creators and the titles. If you go to a company that gives you %100 ownership -- you don't get this kind of support."

Lea Hernandez:

"I have 100% ownership of my books at NBM and Cyberosia and I get that kind of support. They do get a cut of ancillary deals, which is only fair, but I still own my books. Just saying."

Valois:

"Those are both tiny companies -- they don't even come close to offering the same level of advertising, marketing or distribution as a company like Tokyopop. You might own 100% of you're book, but it’s not getting into as many readers' hands as it would through a larger company. Ultimately, this is a decision that every creator needs to make when choosing who to sign with. What's more important -- 100% of the rights, or reaching as many reader as possible? Unfortunately, there are no companies offering both full ownership and the ability to break out of the direct or specialty market."

Dirk Deppey:

"Dan Clowes owns Ghost World 100%, Rob. Mike Mignola owns Hellboy. Frank Miller owns Sin City. Jeff Smith owns Bone. Steve Purcell owns Sam & Max, which is about to return to videogame shelves nationwide. Roberta Gregory's Bitchy Bitch netted her an animated cartoon deal on the Oxygen network. That the Brothers Hernandez haven't cut a movie deal isn't for lack of people dangling options, but rather because they didn't like the terms being offered. Most of these titles were far from overnight-success stories -- yet their creators profited far more heavily, I suspect, than they would have had they signed agreements with the kind of terms being bandied about here. This isn't to say that Tokyopop is going out of its way to rip people off, necessarily, or that people shouldn't work for you, but the 'either/or' dichotomy you're using here is more than a little bogus. If you seriously want to argue that signing the Tokyopop deal is the only way to grab the brass ring, I can throw any number of counterexamples your way that prove otherwise."

Josh Elder:

"The fact is, Tokyopop may take a good-sized chunk out of the ownership of the property, but they're in a better position to break new talent than anyone else in the business. Call me a corporate sellout, but I'll take xx percent of something and a steady paycheck than 100 percent of nothing and a steady payout for production costs and lost time that I could have spent working. And hey, I love Oni and I love Dark Horse. I read several Image titles and quite a few from NBM. But the fact is, those are peanut companies in the bookstore market and even in the Direct Market to a lesser degree. Tokyopop is a juggernaut. I've worked at two Barnes & Nobles in two states in the past two years. I know. Tokyopop is a more viable brand name in the bookstore market than any other graphic novel publisher. Period. Even Viz, which generally has more top sellers, can't compete with the bulk sales and marketing power of Tokyopop."

Brian Wood:

"also, something that hasn't been talked about in any detail is money. i know TP pays some sort of page rate (i heard), but is it something that really makes up for the loss in ownership? i do plenty of WFH and buy out work in commerical illustration, and the money is always wildly higher than if they just buy one-time reproduction rights. and even in full buy-outs, I still keep the copyright on the work - i'm just selling the reproduction/exploitation rights. also also: DMZ is fully owned by myself and the artist, and we're both making livings off the thing. i know DC is a completely different sort of company from TP, but its not like the only options that exist in comics are: keep the ©, get no $ or share the ©, get paid."

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction talk about Cassanova, Fraction's upcoming Image book:

"I keep coming back to TV models as a way to try and build an audience-- make those first half-dozen pieces as accessible as possible. As much for me, learning these particular ropes, as for anyone coming in and seeing what the thing's about. In terms of who the [pre-scriptwriting world-]building was for-- of course it was as much for me as for anyone. That kind of world-building is like putting yourself in a trance, it's controlled meditation, you know? It wasn't even about the pitch-- you read it; you saw that the top-sheet can completely detach from the rest and serve as a pretty standard document-- it was about forcing yourself to drown in those waters. We've talked before about my reticence to actually plot something out before I write it. This is how I get by, I suppose-- the shit I know, I know inside and out, top to bottom. That security gives me the freedom to leap from rooftop to rooftop, I guess."

On the day that Infinite Crisis finally begins, it comes as no surprise to read that, yesterday, DC announced that Geoff Johns was extending his exclusive contract for another 3 years. Johns explains why:

"Infinite Crisis is kind of the end of one thing and the beginning of where the DCU is going and a lot of that new beginning is what I’m involved in and excited about and what I’ve been working towards with everyone else. I want to use everything I’m learning working with Grant and Mark and Greg and everyone else and make my monthlies better. DC has been incredibly great to me. Dan has been a hell of an E-i-C. The editors are terrific. I love the characters and the people there. This wasn’t a hard decision."

Let's start with the unexpected good news from Steve Englehart:

"I did a 'JLA: Classified,' and am now doing a 'JSA: Classified' that ties into it... the JLA run, four parts, features the worst JLA members ever: Steel, Vixen, Gypsy, and Vibe. I wanted to give them some sort of epic. Then the JSA run, three issues, picks up in current time, with Vixen and Gypsy involved with Flash, Green Lantern, Wildcat, and Stargirl."

Return of the Detroit League of Detroit! Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Diana Schulz talks about Sexy Chix:

"Joyce Carol Oates also came to me by way of Michael Chabon. She was curious about the comics medium and wondering, I guess, about the possibility of adapting some of her stories into comics... Michael recommended she contact me and we had a brief (but still ongoing) correspondence, one of the results of which was that she offered me a short story of my choice, from her Haunted collection, to use in Sexy Chix! How cool is that?! I mean, here’s this fabulously talented, remarkably prolific, best-selling writer who’s won countless awards for her work, and not only does she fall into my hands but then she quite literally gives me one of her stories for Chix. I was astounded... Miss Oates allowed me to adapt her prose story into a four-page comics script, and Laurenn McCubbin [XXXLiveNudeGirls, Rent Girl, Quit City] jumped at the chance to draw it. I’m kind of in love with Laurenn’s drawing, and I’ve been wanting to work with her for a while now, so this all came together perfectly."

Talking of unexpected offers of sexual favors, Newsarama posters are going above and beyond in their attempt to keep the board together in the aftermath of last week's reshuffle, as this exchange between "Moonbeam" and "Wisdom000" shows:

"[J]ust between you and me and the internet, wis, I think you're wrong about leaving here. I guess I just don't get it. I have seen NO CHANGE in the last two years in the level of fun around here, including the last five days. Oh sure -- I think I've made it clear that I miss Xaraan (you loser). But it's always been pretty fun and is definitely the board I post on the most. So, since you asked, I think you should stick around. Go out and sit for a bit in other message boards if you must, but you should always come back here! I have offered to do whatever it took to get you to stay -- asked you what I could do -- something I offered to none of the other individuals who took it upon themselves to start this nonsense. No offense to them, but I guess you just kinda struck a nerve with your honesty and made me want to influence your decision. So I asked what I could do? Considering how much you like my legs, I'm a little 'disappointed' I didn't get any action out of that one."

"Hon honestly, I feel the same way, if someone wants to leave then let em...... I have done my share of begging posters to stay, sometimes succesfully, sometimes not. But it's all well and good for you and I say to say if you wanna go then go and let it drop, only so other other posters can continue to harp and belittle the ones who left even after they are gone. What purpose does that serve, other than to ensure they never come back? That's what has me so ticked. And since you were kind enough to make the 'anything' offer again (i didn't comment on it the first time, because it was simply to mind boggling to comprehend), I will say some 8x10's of you in fishnets or hose, and an audio recording of you saying how great I am will keep me here forever........"

"How about thigh highs -- in a Girl Scout uniform? And should the audio recording be a serious speech about why you're so great, or just 'Oooooh, you're ... so ... good' with lots of moaning?"

"I don't need Brady to make a sticky...... I just made one of my own................ You better not be teasing me with promises of those picks........ and yeah, the moening audio, thats the ticket......."

"I do not tease. Mistress will deliver what she promises."

"I'm a naughty boy, a very naughty boy......"

And just in case you thought (hoped) that they were joking, Mr. Wisdom returns later in the thread to post the following:

"Wow........ I come back from my long work weekend, and waiting in my inbox, were not just one, but several pics of Moonies hotself, gams and all. Now before you ask, no I ain' sharing, I'm a stingy bastard and the hotness is mine all mine. But I will say that if you don't hear from me for the next couple of days, it's because my wrist is too sore too type, not cause I left. Thank you Moonie, you sexy sexy beautiful woman you......."

Once more: Oh, dear God.

Now, some would say that Raven Gregory, of Image's The Gift, is a relentless whore for publicizing his book. But no-one meant that literally. Until now.

It starts when Gregory's PR man Christian Beranek posts at the Bendis Board:

"Can we do it? All I know is this: We're gonna do our fucking best! If The Gift #13 breaks the top 100 Raven and I will perform an amazing stunt. Feel free to submit non-sexual ideas. The best idea wins a free The Gift: Choices Trade (collects issues 1 - 5.)"

Never one to be outdone when it comes to promoting The Gift, Gregory raises the bar:

"I raise the bet to we will take a vote and do ANYTHING the winning idea is if we break the top 100. ANYTHING!!! Which means if you ever wanted to...well...whatever....here's your chance... FYI - Beside SPAWN no Image comic has broken the top 100 since Powers left. 186 7.65 THE GIFT #11 $2.99 IMA 5,098 [...] The top 300 comics: http://www.icv2.com/articles/home/7058.html [...] In other words I would gladly give up my ass virginity for a day in the top 100."

Oh. Oh dear God.

Ah, if only the direct market was this size...:

"Anime News Network reported a study by the Nomura Research Institute (via Reuters) on the Japanese otaku market which found that the otaku market for manga was the largest such market in Japan. The study estimated that it consisted of around 350,000 consumers that spend around 83 billion yen ($729 million) per year on manga and manga-related products... The study also identified behavioral categories of otaku. The largest was 'closet otaku,' who have little time or money for the object of their fandom (often due to family obligations) and often keep it a secret."

Geoff Johns answers your questions! Well, many of them, anyway:

"Twenty-five pages. 187 different questions. And he answered EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. ...And that's just Part One! When Geoff Johns agreed to answer questions from Newsarama readers, just days before his long-awaited and anticipated Infinite Crisis debuts from DC, we left it open-ended whether he’d pick selected questions to respond to, or answer them all. And then the questions came flooring in... and in... and in... But like Brian Bendis before him, Johns rose to the challenge and in a marathon Sunday session, responded to every reader question submitted – a task either rooted in extreme respect for and appreciation of his fans, or absolute insanity. You be the judge."

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