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:


"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."


"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."

Monday, October 10, 2005

Over at The Engine, there's a discussion about Tokyopop's Original English Language books. It gets interesting when Heidi MacDonald posts:

"Anyone here who DOESN'T have a book at Tokyopop, raise your hand! I saw the top secret upcoming line up while I was in LA, and it's huge."

Lea Hernandez responds:

"*raises hand* Got them at NBM and Cyberosia. I'm unlikely to ever have a TPop book, unless they change to allowing creators 100% ownership."

Andi Watson:

"I hear a LOT of rumours about TPs deal. I hear they want to own a chunk of the copyright of the *actual book*, not just the movie type stuff but actually owning a sizeable proportion of your work. Anyone out there seen a TP contract and can provide facts and percentages? I'm sure there are individual deals and they're all slightly different but is it true they want part ownership?"

Warren Ellis:

"The contract I saw gave them 60% of the rights."

Brian Wood:

"which gives them the legal right to unilaterally change things and make decisions, doesn't it? without involving the creators?"

One of the creators of a Tokyopop OEL book, Jake Forbes, chips in:

"Remember that about 2/3 of these projects are by first time creators (at least in print form-- some experienced webcomic folks). The first time that someone's title really makes it big is the first time someone gets screwed. In the meantime, if you're an aspiring creator with talent but no track record, TOKYOPOP probably offers the best chance of being greenlit, and you'll get amazing sales and marketing backing. And from what I understand, the advances are quite competitive for non-superhero comics from non-superstar creators. TOKYOPOP is making a HUGE gamble here-- a noble one, I think (although not necessarily for noble reasons). As the market matures, TOKYOPOP will hopefully adjust the contracts to be more creator-friendly-- they'll have to if they want to keep the talent they're discovering."

Another TPopper, Amy Kim Ganter, also replies:

"I agree with Jake. I have nothing but respect for Tokyopop and appreciate the chance they're giving me, so I want to do a good job. You always have the next series to get the contract of your dreams but the sacrifice to establish yourself is completely worth the effort."

Lea returns to the thread:

"Hey, guys, I applaud the fact that at least one publisher has an initiative to publish manga by American creators. In that, TPop pretty much owns the field (since Seven Seas' submissions process remains a mystery). But I'm telling you, inexperience of the creators is NOT the reason for the contracts being the way they are. (Unless we're talking inexperience in negotiating contracts.) I was told the 50/50 was non-negotiable when I talked to TPop. I'm a bit more than new--I've worked for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Image, NBM, Cyberosia.

"I hate that good creators think not-so-equitable contracts are the best they can get because they're new. Oni doesn't take ownership from new creators. Dark Horse doesn't. TPop is not publishing you out of the goodness of their hearts. Their risk is not huge--it's calculated. Publishers (not shrewd ones, anyway) don't take on projects that aren't going to sell. I do not think giving up rights is an acceptable trade-off to get established."

Peter David considers his return to Spider-Man:

"It's kind of interesting. Barely a year after I wrapped the Jean DeWolff storyline, I was fired off Spider-Man at the insistence of editorial higher ups because it was felt that a novice writer for Marvel shouldn't be writing Marvel's flagship character. It's nice to know that after more than fifteen years I've managed to work my way up to where I was in the previous century."

Laurenn McCubbin gives great interview. That is all:

"I have only been hit by a car once on the way to work so far. Ok, I was just bumped. However, no one in the office was at all sympathetic, so I am learning that comics publishing is a harsh and cold world where it's every person for themselves. Oh wait, Eric did give me a donut. Scratch that last part. Comics publishing is a world full of glazed Krispy Kremes. Working in an office is very strange after freelancing out of my studio for so long. For one thing, I can no longer work in my underwear, no matter how much they beg. Also, I need to wear shoes. Oh, and people keep talking to me. That is the strangest part, human contact. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet. I am hoping there will be more donuts."


Did Dark Horse scare you? No? That's okay, they're only getting started:

"Michael Gombos, Japanese Licensing Manager at Dark Horse Comics, has revealed a number of new acquisitions to the Anime News Network and it is clear from the titles acquired that Dark Horse intends to focus on horror manga. Dark Horse, which has scored major successes with the Hellsing manga and the Vampire Hunter D novels, has licensed a number of new manga titles including Juon (related to the Japanese horror film that was remade in the U.S. as The Grudge), Hideshi Hino's Lullabies From Hell, Kasua Umezu's Scary Books, Junji Itos's Museum of Terror, and Kanako Inuki's School Zone."

On The Comics Journal website, there's a new banner ad for Love and Rockets (amusingly, advertising it as coming out "every other month or so". Welcome to truth in advertising), featuring interesting choices of art from the book. TCJ board posters get excited:

"Thank the big guy for that Love and Rockets add at the top of the page. There have been so many gay-assed adds up there til now."

"The "add" should've also shoved MALE body parts into our faces. After all, Love & Rockets has shown plenty of, uh, rockets. Yay, testicles! Objectify both sexes!"

"Awesome buttshot! It's the hottest ad I've seen on the web since the one with that cartoon guy fucking a rubber pussy, claiming 'It feels like a real pussy!'"

"Hopey sure looks insanely cute with that eyepatch - think I just developed a new fetish - and who can forget that 'awesome buttshot' from th' comic? Pleasantly burned into my brain... I'm kind'a surprised at the focus on 'T&A,' though...anyone offended so far? And will there be a companion to this ad featuring some of Beto's hotties?"

"[W]hile the Hernandez Bros. have brought us plenty of prime T&A over the years, this ad frankly makes their comic look like a weird fetish wank book. Normally Fantagraphics ads are fine, but this one hurts."

Paul O'Brien on Marvel's new ad policy:

"The number of adverts in Marvel's comics has been creeping noticeably upwards for some time now, but they've now achieved absurdly detrimental proportions. Uncanny X-Men #465 contains 24 pages of story. And between page 1 and page 24, there are 22 pages of adverts. The comic boasts three double-page spreads of art, and a further three of adverts. One of those double-page adverts is placed, ludicrously, immediately after page 1 of the story. Basically, though, we have now reached a point where the story is interrupted every other page for adverts. And, being adverts, they are designed to distract... Seriously, Marvel. Don't you have any pride? Don't you have any self-respect? Don't you care about putting out a quality product? Don't you even care about your reputation for quality? And if you do, why are there 22 pages of adverts cluttering up the 24 page story that I have paid my hard-earned money to read?"

Maybe it's just me, but there's something kind of old-fashioned and stereotypical about CBR's new column "Girl In The Clubhouse," isn't there?:

"So you've gone and got yourself a girlfriend. Congratulations. And she's the real deal. She's seen the toys (even if she hasn't touched them cause you told her you don't like that) and she's seen the video games (and has come to accept that playing "Halo" on the X-box is the closest you're going to get to any real exercise.) She's darn near perfect. There's just one thing. Your new love doesn't get along with your first love-- Comics... Let's first assume you haven't completely turned her off of comics by pushing her into the deep end of the pool with no water wings and annoyed her to pieces by staring at her wide-eyed and expectantly as she read 'Uncanny X-Men #137' and then tried to explain to her the deep and profound history of the Dark Phoenix saga. She. Doesn't. Care. And it's unfair to expect her to. If you've already gone and blown it, go sit in the corner. I'll get to you later. For those of you who haven't treaded those dark waters, yet, snap to, sailor, we're about to set sail."

Friday, October 07, 2005

Greg Rucka - A man defiant:

"As far as I was concerned, and it held true to every one of the [Countdown To Infinite Crisis] miniseries, the stories were designed to serve Infinite Crisis as well as telling its own story. For that reason, each miniseries has an ending that’s not entirely satisfactory on some level – it’s an unresolved chord... The OMAC story – the story we were telling about The OMAC Project is all there. But at the same time, we were setting things up. Part one of the mission with the miniseries was tell a good story, and part two was put everything in play so that all the elements are there when Geoff would come calling... I think people who complain about [the level of knowledge of other comics required to read The OMAC Project] are being facetious. To argue that implies that when they picked up their very first comic book, they knew exactly who everyone was and exactly what was going on, which nine times out of ten wasn’t the case for any of us. Comics are serial soaps – you see characters in every issue, and you have no idea if they’ve been established before or not from the first time you meet them. That’s the nature of the medium. I don’t think that The OMAC Project was obtuse, and I’m not going to apologize for not holding people’s hands. I think readers are smart, and I think there’s more than enough material that you know who those people are, even if you don’t know their histories. I think The OMAC Project works. I’m very proud of it. It’s a good miniseries. More to the point, it serves Infinite Crisis, and that was my bailiwick. I’m not in any way going to be ashamed of it when I look back on my career."

The John Byrne Board thread on All-Star Superman is a thing of beauty:

"I can understand why Alex Ross, Brian Bolland, George Perez et al would have problems holding down a monthly schedule, but Quitely? There's not *that* much detail in his work. Does he suffer from narcolepsy? Was the hand he draws with replaced by a hook?"

That's right. Frank Quitely's schedule drives Byrne Boarders mad. It gets better when someone brings up a Grant Morrison quote that goes somewhat like this: "Even if it doesn't get published monthly, who cares ? It's genius. It's not like he ever wanted to draw American superhero comics anyway. It was me who talked him into it! He's a boho Glasgow Art School boy who gets big, prestigious commercial art gigs outside comics and he finds it impossible to work to comic book deadlines because they just don't suit his meticulous pace and never will. He has three kids and, quite rightly, he spends a lot of time with them and with his wife and family and friends when he's not behind his desk, so the way I see it, we Quitely fans should be thankful we get any goddamn comic books out of him at all." Because that kind of talk? Not the kind of thing that Byrne Boarders like:

"ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! BULLSHIT!!! This kind of response is so f*%king frustrating I can't believe it. I also can't believe that a retailer is excited about this product even though the author acknowledges that he doesn't really care if it comes out on time or not. Totally unacceptable and absolutely re-frickin'-diculous. What good would it do for a retailer to push this 'monthly product' knowing in advance that the talent doesn't really give a rats ass if they meet their commitment? Not that I needed another reason, but I certainly ain't picking up a Morrison book with that kind of piss poor, 'enjoy what you get 'cause that's all that your getting' kind of bullshit attitude."

"Jeez, yet another 'his wife and family' cop-out. Artists who work from home get more time with their family than most other working adults, so how much more time do they need ?"

"No 'next issue' of a comic book is 'worth the wait' if it can't come out on time. I realize that comic book writers and artists owe me nothing other than their best work, but when they fail to deliver that work on time, they don't deserve the money that I work hard to earn."

"Can someone give me the exact year that the relationship between comic book professional and fan become like Tina and Ike? 'Please piss on me, Grant Morrison! Piss on me and make me feel complete!'"

"This is a matter of professionalism and respect. As I've said before, failure to honor a committment, especially if you never intended to honor the committment, is not acceptable to me. I don't do business with people that way, and I don't expect them to do that to me. I admire the work of some of the artists you listed above, but, to be cruel, there's a convention floor of wannabes, hopefuls, and prospects looking for the shot to replace each of them if they can't deliver. The next John Byrne is out there, looking for an opportunity. The problem is with fanboys that buy this load of hogwash everytime somebody gets addicted to GTA: San Andreas. If you're willing to deal with delays, extra delays, and late shipments, that's your perogative. I'm voting with my dollars, thank you very much."

"I like Europeans that I meet in real life and I agree with a bunch that post on this board. But when I read snotty sounding stuff that Morrison writes it makes him and Quitely come off as Euro-snobs. Hey, I don't think the Euro-snobs even 'get' American superheroes. So when I see them piss over the estblished superhero characters, I just don't buy their work. When they try to piss over their own fans, man, I have to wonder why we don't see more 'Bad Morrison' stories."

"Who cares? Why waste money on shit artwork by Quitely? This dude gets more buzz on less work than any other professional in history and his ability is so sub-par it is laughable. I get it that he is KEWL because Morrison says so and the fanboys fall in line like good little drones and parrot the hype they are told to repeat and buy what they are told to buy....because Wizard magazine says the guy is the shit... Lifeless, flat and dull would be the best way to describe the guys work.. He is not a genius or a Frazetta or Adams who warrents our awe and admiration..he is hte new flash in the pan. I have seen the guys work in X-men and Authority and it is not that good...certainly not at all deserving of the accolades this guy gets. The Superman pages we have seen are nothing groundbreaking or innovative by any stretch of the imagination... I have seen more dynamic and better storytelling and anatomy from Sal Buscema who gets no love from the hip Wizard crowd."

Memmmmmmm-reeeeeees! Like the something, something something! Something something something memmmmmm-reeeees! Of the way we werrrrrrrrre:

"What was your earliest memory of the Bendis Message Board? Could be your first post, or one of the first times something crazy happened, or maybe just when you first heard about the fucking place. That's right kids, this is a nostalgia thread. My earliest memory of the board was hopping into a discussion early in my post career about how people were too PC and uptight. I of course wanted to jump in with my two cents and make a splash. So, I thought it'd be funny to post the lyrics to S.O.D.'s 'Fuck The Middle East' in reply. Most people didn't get the refrence, and the original poster (god knows who it was...maybe Anad. Yeah, for purposes of the story, it was Mr. Swizzle-stick,) replied with something like 'Why do I feel like the PGA after being backed by the KKK?'"

"I remember registering and then deciding I probably wouldn't post here much because the board was full of assholes. Haha, silly me."

"[E]asily the best/most embarrassing was in my 'Hey! That Looks Like Bendis!' thread, wherein I discovered this woman on the board named Jade I'd been trading innuendos and dirty jokes with was in fact Jade Dodge, one of my favorite comics writers who I'd already met, and who lives right by me, and is dating a guy I know..."

"The earliest thing I remember was Cth talking about serious family problems and Childress said some really nasty things. I told Childress to fuck off. One of the other early memories of the board is when Shwicaz talked about going down on a woman."

"When everyone but DatlocoLatino and me were sucking Felicia cock."

Millarworld's discussion about Marvel's Ten Terrific quickly spirals into an alternate universe discussion about JK Rowling:

"I wish DC would try to hire J.K. Rowling to write SHAZAM! Why not? So far she's been kinda successful writing about one young boy with magical powers..."

"J.K. Rowling would a nightmare for DC Editoral - as far as I can see she has more pull at Warner Brothers than anyone at the DC Level. Plus I doubt she'd work for the sort of peanuts they could offer her."

"J.K. Rowling could do a one shot Harry Potter comic that led into a whole harry potter comic series by some other writer and triple comic readership overnight. It always starts with one comic. I am amazed by how many comic readers my age or so (30) started reading comics because they saw a tv ad for G.I. Joe #1 when they were in first grade and knew they had to have it."

"Apparently Rowling has turned down offers to do Harry Potter comics. Which I honestly don't understand, considering some of the really crap Harry Potter stuff out there. The problem is, she has so much money that it is hardly a carrot."

"When you have millions and millions and millions, do you even bother with a couple thousands? Comics are pocket change for her... She should do manga!"

"I'm fairly sure I read somewhere that Rowling doesn't have much time for comics as a medium. She'll probably just crack on with the next novel, which will make her more money than comics ever could."

"She's turned down lots of quick bucks to do with the potter property - and as someone has said I don't think she actually likes comics."

"Yeah, you'd have to offer he something like 100% of the profits on the first 6 issues or something astronomical. Still, it would be worth it. (and again, just talking here, because she obviously has some issue with comics)"

Tony Caputo! He's back! And hitting all his usual points:

"You can build a comic book company publishing licensed titles, selling a mass of copies of someone else's character; a high-risk venture with a small net profit margin. However, it does include the most important intangible asset - the survival of the species... The fact is that if you want to attract the next generation of readers to comic books, the IP (intellectual property) library will change every five years as the latest "hot property" gives way to the next. However, as I've mentioned in my whitepaper and in other articles and posts, there are no more comic book publishers, per se. There are only IP companies who publish comic books of their licensed characters to keep the billboards out there."

The Geoff Johns board asks you all to stop being mean to poor Infinite Crisis, you big bullies:

"Stop the griping until it's all played out. I know I'm not alone... I'm just tired of the nay saying and b!tching until the entire story is layed before us. I understand some concern... but the vehemence and overreaaction that I'm seeing is tiresome, annoying and disheartening. Wait til the picture is complete before passing judgement. You might actually enjoy the finaly product. Who knows, Catwoman could be leader of the JLA."

"Yay! I have a new hero... I'm waiting, then maybe I'll whine. Maybe. Probably. I dunno. At least not until...say, February."

"Right on! Sticking with the Catwoman thing... These kinds of stories happen all the time. It's a dramatic device that may or may not be true, and it's odd to see people falling for it. I don't think that DC is going to pull the rug out from under the Catwoman series by making it so her personality was altered. But a story where she thinks that it might have been will be a great Catwoman story. And what if it was? Would she want to go back to the way she was, or would she like who she is now? Drama, drama, drama. That's what keeps us coming back for more after all. No need to get upset."

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Bill Willingham talks about Day of Vengence:

"Part of the structure relayed to me was almost 'Do anything you want to do in this series, but make sure that the final showdown is the Spectre fighting Shazam.' I could live with that – play the cards in my hand so those two ended up there in the end... I didn’t realize that they were going to let me go as far as they were, until they mentioned it during a panel I was at a while back. I was allowed to play with any toy I wanted, or break them, even. Combine that with people lobbing in plot grenades and requests while it was moving…I kinda liked working that way. It was very much by the seat of your pants way to work, but it has an energy that’s very hard to compare to anything else."

Lea Hernandez is looking for suggestions at The Engine:

"HeroRealm.com was one of the sponsors of last May's Free Comic Book Day event at Zeus Comics in Dallas. (Zeus and Scott Kurtz/PVP were the others.) It was a great event, and the HR guys totally impressed me. Alex from Hero Realm has asked me to write a column for Hero Realm. I said yes, as long as I could have a shiny graphic. The column'll be called (Alex's suggestion, which I love), 'I'm Hurting Comics.' another favored suggestion from the LJ was 'I Drew a Horsie!' I'd already posted about this on my LJ (but whoo lookie Engine needle drop!), didn't reveal the site I was writing for. I asked what people wanted to read about... Throwing this open to the Engineers: what do you want to see in a column?"

Those kids, they never learn:

"Climbing into what stands as relatively rarified air, IDW has announced that orders for Transformers #0 stand at the 100,000 mark, the highest volume an IDW book has ever seen. The volume as it stands, is within spitting distance of Dreamwave's launch of the proeprty in 2002, which saw an estimated 119,000 copies ordered by retailers."

ICv2 runs a long interview with Tokyopop's Mike Kiley:

"The OGN stuff (or I guess OEL is the more accepted fan term, for Original English Language manga), that has been a surprise to us. Those books have almost universally this year outperformed even their counterparts in other parts of our line. There have been a couple stumbles, but whether it's Warcraft, or Princess Ai, or more recently Bizenghast, in the spring Sokora Refugees, all of these books are hitting the bestseller list and it's really encouraging... [T]he fact of the matter is manga is evolving. The way it's evolving is already being accepted and embraced by people shopping in the manga section. It's only matter of time until, whether it's some kid in Barcelona or some kid in Topeka, Kansas, comes up with a story which so viscerally grabs the category that it will be a number one hit. I'm more convinced of this then I was a couple years ago when we first began dabbling in material from other countries. It'll absolutely happen."

Brad Meltzer on the bookstore edition for the Identity Crisis hardcover collection (with his name being the largest thing on the cover):

"I saw it and my jaw hit the floor... What you see in that cover is the cold, calculating reality of DC Comics realizing that they might be able to sell some books to regular readers. My ego is OK. I don't need my name in giant letters. I think Dan's words to me were, 'You're the first author who ever asked for his name to be smaller.' But I was not the one who made this book. This was a group effort on every level."

Brian Wood brightens your day - well, your desktop, at least - with Local wallpapers for your very own computer. For those of you who, like Brett Anderson, can't get enough, he also walks you through the process of creating the cover to Local #3.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A short profile of Frank Quitely, over at Silver Bullet Comics:

"I got into comics by accident... I heard that there was a printer’s in Glasgow that was looking for a cartoonist. It was actually a guy who worked at a printer’s who was interested in doing a self-published comic. He was looking for cartoonists that were willing to write stories with him for no money. And there were only two people in Glasgow that were warm to the idea."

The Secret Origin of Warren Ellis - Not an dream, not a hoax, not an imaginary story, as Warren discusses how he grew his online fanbase:

"You need to remember that back in '97 or so, whenever the hell it was that I started fucking around with this stuff, very few people were doing it. Comics-related communities were either firewalled by ISP -- you had to be a member of Compuserve to get into the Comics Forum there, had to be on AOL to get at the comics folders, etc -- or were on Usenet. Steven Grant and Steve Gerber and a few other guys had webpages, but no-one had really cracked how to make them useful. People just flung loads of stuff on to their sites and hoped someone came. I spent a lot of long nights thinking about this -- especially after attending San Diego in 1997, and knowing I was never going to be able to do the traditional thing of (re)building an audience by going out on the road in America month after month to press the flesh."

Matt Brady interviews Mark Waid about Legion of Super-Heroes. I'd like to use the opportunity of my birthday - thanks to Nora, David, Matt and others who've left nice comment wishes 'bout that, by the way - to indulge myself right now, and expound upon my love for that concept, and for Waid's current version of the book.


Basically, everyone who doesn't dig on teenage superheroes in the future is missing an essential joy in their heart. Especially the way that Waid's writin' 'em right now.

Thank you. Back to Waid:

"Superman’s continuity was revised [by John Byrne], necessitating a complete retro-revision of Legion history, so a retcon was put into place to explain some of it--but, unfortunately, that same retcon left almost as many holes as it closed. A couple of years later, DC did another one to patch that one, and then another after Zero Hour to patch those two, and so forth and so on, to the point where Legion 'continuity' was a train wreck... [H]alf of understanding the Legion’s backstory has, until now, been keeping track of what we’ve retconned out of it. For every die-hard fan who read Legion – and speaking as one, there were twenty potential readers out there who wouldn’t touch it because they were convinced that they had to have a Ph.D. in comics history to understand it. That was unfortunate and unfair, but perception was reality. We’d spent twelve years since Zero Hour trying and failing to convince the audience that this series was accessible, so we had no choice but to fire a huge shot across the bow this time and say, 'It’s a whole new series. It’s what the Silver Age was to the Golden Age. Start here.'"

I love Tony Caputo's essays on ICv2; you always know what to expect. A little bit of the obvious, a little bit of self-serving anecdotal evidence, a fair amount of "where did that come from?"... This one's all about why graphic novels aren't going to save the industry:

"The book publishing formula doesn't fit very well into comic art production, where you're traditionally paying people per page and not by completed manuscript. It's more accessible to pay a creator a $10,000 advance on royalties for the sales of a 250-page trade paperback ('a book'), if it's a reprint, rather than $250 a page to produce the content, equaling $62,500, plus royalties (a simple example). The formulas are very different; a square peg in a round hole. This is why I'm wary about the graphic novel, manga and trade paperbacks being the savior of comic books. Eventually, you'll have to start producing new content, with the new formula... A wider, more acceptable mainstream format for comic periodicals would also require a different mindset from publishers, distributors and retailers. This is very important to the survival of the direct market, as not only will these new periodicals generate new young readers (as I've explained in my white paper), but will also continue to generate the much needed cash flow from regular serial readership for a typically undercapitalized industry (from the independent publisher, to the comic shops themselves)... In addition, I'd be leary about the hype of technology providing a means of delivering electronic versions of periodicals, comic books, cartoons and games on your cell phone. I can't see how the interpersonal experience of comics will survive a 2" square LCD screen, nor the constant reliability on battery-powered electricity. A comic book periodical, graphic novel or book provides the reader with freedom from technology, and I believe once the fads wear off (and the batteries die) the periodical and books will survive."

Joe Quesada talks about the Ten Terrific:

"Much in the way that Joe Straczynski, Mark Millar and Brian Bendis helped shape the Marvel U over the last few years, we’ll be expecting several of these guys to step up and take their turn as well... In terms of what went into the selection, it was a host of different factors from how long they’ve been vested in Marvel to how much they’ve brought to the table and will be bringing to the table. We have so many talented writers at this point that narrowing it down was quite difficult, that’s why, much like our hopes for the Young Guns, there will most likely be a wave 2 a year or so down the road."

Millarworld has another Magazine up, this time including a questionaire with Mr. Larry Young where he amusingly won't talk shit about other companies no matter how the bait is dangled:

"Dave Hendrick: How do you feel about the way in which other companies market their books? Who’s best? Who’s worst?

Larry Young: I don’t pay attention to other comic book companies’ efforts in marketing, not really.

Dave Hendrick: There’s been a lot of talk regarding the missed opportunities Marvel and DC have made of their respective film launches would you, if in the position to do so, have done things differently?

Larry Young: I don’t know what was considered or what resources they had or what challenges they faced. Putting me in charge might have the same result. I’d like to think I’d be able to bring some attention to things, but maybe nothing would change. Who knows?"

The Bendis Board considers self-censorship:

"Would you want a profanity filter here? ANyone besides myself would like that?"

"Why the fuck would we want that ?"

"Fuck that"

"I think it would take something away from the board."

"It would infringe on my ability to offend people who are offended by profanity!"

"If a profanity filter worked, nobody on this board would ever fucking hear from me again. Then again, I am intrigued by the challenge that circumventing a profanity filter would present."

After yesterday's minor Newsarama meltdown, Matt Brady cools things down:

"Okay – and let’s take a breath before someone kills Piggy, and there's a boar's head on a stick. Yes, there are new forums, and yes, some people on both sides of the issue have been pretty downright idiotic in their reactions to the change, and in their reactions to the reactions (not to mention those who’ve been idiotic in their reactions to the reactions of the reactions)... Some of you, again, on both sides of this issue, have taken the opportunity all V-like and stuff, to peel back your masks and show what apparently are your true faces. Some of it has been unwarranted horseshit, and some of it has been dead-on observations (again, on both sides) of the behavior of others. This is your official warning – if you want to stay (or if you’re one of those who’ve 'left' and are still lurking), you need to put your 'civilized person' face back on and ____ing behave. As with the time period after any crisis, be it real world or in comics, people’ve gone a little nutso, and reacted in their own way. It’s time to rejoin as a community, let bygones be bygones and move on. And no, I’m not saying one side was right or one side was wrong in their behavior – both sides reacted as they will, and both sides had level heads, and utter idiots... I don’t know if it was something in the water or what, but let’s calm it down. As best as I’m able (been tied up the last day+), I’m going to be in here more, tightening the screws on folks who’re acting up or purposely antagonizing/insulting others. I don’t care if your post count is well into the thousands or in the tens. When you’re here, you behave according to two general rules: don’t be a dick, and don’t look for or make trouble. This is fair warning for everyone."

Matt Brady wins, ladies and gentlemen.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Brian Wood shows off the front and back covers (with spine) of the forthcoming Demo collection:

"It's real, it actually exists! You can get it from Amazon, Khepri, or your local comic shop with this code: OCT05 2690 [...] Stats: 6x9 "bookshelf" format, 328 pages (!), collects just the stories... all covers, pinups, backmatter, etc can be found in the single issues [...] Khepri is running a promotion: pre-order the book and get a free copy of Local #1. At their discount that makes it $13.95 for the Collection and Local #1. Who can beat that?"

Let's see. The Ultimate books are getting rebranded, there are new Ultimates minis coming out... Hmm. There's something missing from this latest burst of publicity for Marvel. Something that always accompanies big Marvel pushes. What could it be?

"I get outlines sent to me all the time and I don't get paid to read them so they lie on my desk for days, weeks and months. Shortly before Lost started here in the UK (about ten weeks ago), I received Damon's pitch for the [Ultimate Wolverine/Hulk] mini and it lay there for about a week. JQ sent me an email asking me to hurry up so I made a cup of tea, printed it up and expected another boring pitch from a guy outside of comics who didn't get the characters or even read the book. Right? Wrong. This is the best fucking pitch I have read in years.

"I called up Bendis and he was equally excited. I called up JQ and said this was amazing and he said 'i know, that's what I've been trying to tell you.' In short, this is my most anticipated upcoming comic. This really does kick ass and, on the strength of it, I watched the opening episode of Lost and was hooked from the first minute. Gill and I don't watch many American shows, but we got hooked on this and Damon kindly sent me out a special copy of all the episodes they've recorded. We're watching three a night right now and currently up to episode nineteen and it's by far my favourite show to come out of the States. I'm OBSESSED with it. And this boy knows his comics. He is absolutely one of us.Ladies and gentlemen, this is the next big book."

Oh, of course! Mark Millar ridiculously hyping something up!

Something that seemed odd in the press release about IDW's restructuring. It was in Ted Adams' quote:

"When we first published Uno Fanta by Ashley Wood in July of 2001, I never expected that four years later IDW Publishing would be the business it has become. I'm proud of the books we've published over the last four years and am especially proud of being named 'Publisher of the Year' the last two years running."

Who named them Publisher of the Year two years running? Not that I don't like some IDW books, but still - Where did this title come from?

ADD gets excited:

"Beginning now, and running through 8:00 pm EST on Wednesday, you can post your questions for Geoff Johns in our DC Comics forum, located here. If you’ve seen Geoff at a panel during a convention, you know what questions are likely to get answered – he’s not one to give away any plot points or spoilers, and he does have his reputation as 'the tersest man in comics' to maintain, but that’s not to say he’s going to be silent... especially considering that when this q&a runs next Tuesday, all the pieces of Infinite Crisis will be in place. Let’s just say, he may be a little looser-lipped than before."

ADD then gets less excited:

"So – that said, a few guidelines... Ask a question - please no 'have you stopped beating your wife?' style questions (it’s a phrase for a kind of inescapable question)... Please be respectful."

Talk@Newsarama, the poster-led community at Newsarama, changes format... and the kids don't like it. Responses ranges from those similar to a telegram written by someone who can't spell...:

"Do you like the changes to ramma i do liked the old ramma because you could see all the threads . you can stop change . as long as its still the same old ramma . shame a poeple could not stick around there were some great posters that have said they are gone . hope they come back . whats your take on all this"

... to those trying to sound official...:

"This is a petition to Matt Brady from those of us who hate the new posting boards. Those who agree with me please vote here."

... to those trying to be friendly...:

"Alright, Matt... what's the timeframe for all of this? How long is this 'test' in effect? A few days? A week? 10 days? Spill it. When will you render your verdict?"

... not to mention those trying to be diplomatic:

"Like most of you, I prefer the ease of use of having all the threads on one list to scan through. However, I can see the point about non-comics related threads clogging things up. However, I don't think the solution is to create a separate forum for each company because most of us like all the companies and don't want to have to go out and in every time we want to talk about a different company. Also, I think that the independent publishers would get the short shrift of things with the new setup. For example, Liam Sharp's post below for his new comic would probably get shifted to the 'Other Companies' thread where, since most of us would be in the general area or at a DC/Marvel thread, the number of potential views of his material would go way down. So assuming one of the choices is NOT to go back to the way things were, I'd suggest a simple compromise: only two subdivisions: comics-related and non-comics related.

"That way, when we are in the mood to discuss comics, we can post in that forum without having to think about which company it pertains to (and honestly, many of the comics threads are centered around some comparison between the big two, so where does it go?) And when we are in the mood to make a post about 'nothing' or get silly, we can go to the non-comics area. This way there is a some more organization that what we have now, but the independent comics companies don't get marginalized and there can be a free flow of discussion about all the comics companies in the same thread without having to worry that you are in the wrong room."

Oh, and there are many, many, many more threads on top of those above. Not including the ones where posters leave in disgust and, apparently, end up at the Bendis Board. That's right, the punchline almost writes itself.

Apparently, some people don't like that there change thing.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Mike Netzer breaks news, breaks down in anger:

"Neal Adams announced on his web site over the weekend that he's back in the saddle producing an alternate cover for the long awaited All-Star Superman #1 by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely... The announcement notes that 'this alternate cover will be harder to find as only one of nine issues to press will feature Neal’s cover.' That means that it's not a 50/50 split between the first and alternate covers, rather ONLY ONE OUT OF EVERY NINE COMICS PRINTED WILL FEATURE THE ALTERNATE COVER!!??

"Wow! That's really clever marketing from DC Comics. It's hard to believe that we're talking about the artist who raised DC out of the ashes of mediocrity since the late Sixties with his fabulous covers. The same covers that so many of us remember as the pivotal events of an era that kept DC apace with the explosion and rise of Marvel Comics. ONE OUT OF NINE. Brilliant! And it's not like we're talking about an artist whose work stagnated in it's ripe age. Just the opposite, actually. Anyone looking at Neal's new work on his web site can see that he's remained as vibrant and innovative as he was when he first walked into DC's offices. Perhaps even more so. And it's not like we don't know what Neal Adams art does to the sales and collectability of a comic book. The announcement itself also notes that 'Alternate covers over at Marvel have driven just released books to $20 to $26 per copy with his [Neal's] alternate covers.'

"I wonder what the story is. C'mon Dan, I know you must have some brilliant explanation for this fiasco. Hey Paul, I'm waiting for the punch line. I find it hard to believe that you guys couldn't be a little funnier than this. ONE OUT OF NINE. Tell us it ain't so, guys! Maybe it's just politics. Or maybe it's the tunnel vision corporate confusion that doesn't dare take a chance with anything not considered HOT by the consumer buzz which the corporate confusion creates. It's actually par for the course for DC Comics, if you think about it. I mean, this is the same corporate enterprise that tells us they're helpless to do anything effectual about the dismal sales figures of the last two decades in the comics industry. The same corporate enterprise that's trying to woo comics fandom with smoke screens of increased sales on infinite countdowns and new universes. Time/Warner/DC Comics... yeah, right. Tell us another one guys. We're splitting a gut here."

Who are... The Ten Terrific? The answer may not shock you!:

"'The 10 Terrific' are Joss Whedon ('Astonishing X-Men'), Reginald Hudlin ('Marvel Knights Spider-Man,' 'Black Panther'), Allen Heinberg ('Young Avengers'), Dan Slott ('She-Hulk'), Roberto Sacasa ('Marvel Knights 4'), Greg Pak ('Warlock,' 'Iron Man: House of M,' 'Marvel 1602: The New World'), Daniel Way ('Venom,' 'Bullseye: Greatest Hits'), David Hine ('NYX,' 'Mutopia X'), Sean McKeever ('Sentinel,' 'Mary Jane,' 'Gravity'), and Robert Kirkman ('Marvel Team-Up,' 'Fantastic Four: Foes'). 'These guys are going to be getting a super boost from Marvel,' Quesada said [at WW Boston, this weekend]. 'Each [writer] will be getting a regular series or a major mini-series that will hopefully push them to that next level.'"

That's right - it's Young Guns 2: The Writers. Me, I'm just glad that Joss Whedon is finally getting something to push them to the next level. Poor bastard, with his #2 movie in the country and top-selling X-Men book.

The Ultimate books at Marvel are going to get a new trade dress. Making my head spin with his spin, Joe Quesada explains why:

"It's pretty simple. We have all these wonderful events in the world of Ultimates and what's become very, very evident over the past five years this line has been around is that it really is the gold standard of super hero comics. It's the imprint everybody is trying to copy, that everybody's trying to emulate and that nobody has been able to because it's the one-and-only original."

Yes, that's right - the line that exists to relaunch and revamp old characters and concepts (not to mention retell old stories) is, somehow, the one-and-only original. Mind you, at least they've thought this trade dress rebrand through:

"For books that we consider an event, we're going to treat the books with either gold ink or gold foil. For instance, when Damon Lindelof's first issue of 'Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk' comes out, the theory is-- and I say theory because there needs to be a corporate check off on this sort of thing (a little insider knowledge for ya)-- that the first issue would get a gold treatment. Probably the Ultimate bars that come down the side-- that cover treatment we do on all the Ultimate books-- that will probably be set in gold. How, I don't know yet."

Peter David responds to Erik Larsen's CBR column of last week:

"What POSSIBLE motivation could Larsen have for excoriating those who toil in the realm of company owned universes? Could it be... jealousy? Well, let's check his recent track record: A widely decried and short-lived run on 'Aquaman' that seemed to exist primarily to tear down my work on the book, all of which outsold his...and an attempt to get assigned to the Hulk with a take that Marvel didn't want to touch with a ten meter cattle prod. Maybe he's the fox dismissing those grapes as just too damned sour... Know what I think? I think if people are happy writing only Spider-Man or Superman or Batman or whatever... God bless 'em. There are so many people in this country who are laboring at jobs that they despise, where the hell does ANYONE get off bitch-slapping people who are living out their dreams... the dreams of writing the characters they grew up with? And by the way, having the sheer nerve and determination to brave the staggering odds of breaking in to be able to achieve those goals deserves far more than a dismissive 'peachy.' It deserves a 'well done you' and 'welcome to the club' and 'stick with it.' It doesn't deserve snottiness and arrogance and the towel-snapping bullying of the jock mentality Larsen displays with such facility. And how about the notion that the people who achieved their goal of crafting new directions for the DCU or Marvel Universe achieved their current station in life without stepping over the bodies of friends in order to do so."

Robert Kirkman talks Marvel Zombies:

"They had decided to do a spin-off to the Ultimate FF storyarc 'Crossover' that Millar and Land just wrapped up and they came to me to see if I wanted to write it... I know everyone out there is thinking, 'Sheesh, Robert—enough with the zombies.' But I really like zombies. I always have... I also don't think I'm in any danger of getting labeled 'The Zombie Guy' any time soon. Zombie stuff accounts for about 20% of my work right now. I'm in much more danger of being labeled 'the superhero guy' and who could really complain about that? The zombie stuff keeps my work diverse, I think."

Rent Girl's Laurenn McCubbin gets a new gig - Art Director at Image Comics:

"I am really excited about the new gig - it's going to be a little weird, after working freelance for so long to be in an office and to have like, a commute and everything, but I think I can handle it. And, evidently I am going to be McKitten's love-slave and design all his books personally, so - perk! Someone asked earlier if I left Kitchen Sink magazine -yeah, unfortunately that was a casualty. But I am still really involved with them and I am going to keep recommending them illustrators and helping with the art shows. Plus I am doing the next cover for them, so how far have I really gotten?"

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