Friday, September 30, 2005

The CBR boards react to the Erik Larsen column that everyone's already talked about by this point:

"While the message is a good one it's highly hilarious coming from Larsen. I haven't read Savage Dragon in a good long time, but I did read fifty issues or so. And every single character was based on a previously existing character. So you've got a guy whose success is based on 're-imagining' the Marvel and DC stables trying to raise the flag of risk-taking and creative imagination."

"Well, clapclapclap for Erik. He managed to take something other creators have been saying for decades and boil it down to the online equivalent of a Muntzian taunt, thereby ensuring that everyone online will be linking to it and arguing over it. Like I said, clapclapclap. But it's just so lame. Warren Ellis said it better almost 10 years ago and even his version of the message got irritating and increasingly petulant over time. 'Sucking on the corporate tit'? Are you kidding me?"

"Personally, I think he's full of it. I mean, yeah he decides what Image prints and doesn't print, but that doesn't mean that he's God's gift to the comic industry. Who is he to judge tons of other creators who are just trying to make a living in the field that they love?"

"What are you, dense? Are you retarded or something? He's the goddamned Erik Larsen."

Kurt Busiek pops in, to win:

"It seems you're assuming Erik was saying, 'Never do anything you didn't create' rather than 'Don't only do stuff you didn't create.' Remember, the opening salvo was 'Is that ALL you got?' not 'How can you do ANY of that?' And Lee and Kirby (the examples he started out with) worked on characters they didn't create as well as characters they did. Me, I've done a ton of work on characters and concepts I didn't create. I've also done a lot of stuff I did. Call me nutty, but I don't think that Erik's saying that anyone who worked on books like DOOM PATROL, PUNISHER and AMAZING SPIDER-MAN without being their creators is a bad guy. He's exhorting people not to be satisfied doing nothing but that."

But enough with logic! Back to people overreacting!

"I call bullshit on Erik Larsen... [B]y the time Mignola did Hellboy he was already a known commodity for things like Hulk, Batman and Alpha Flight. Before Toddles did Bat-Ghost-Spider-Rider-Man, he was already a 'superstar artist' because of his work on Hulk, Spider-Man, Batman and Infinity Inc. Before Frank Miller did Sin City, he made his bones doing Batman, Spider-Man and Daredevil. Doing work-for-hire ALLOWED these guys the latitude to do their own think... just like drawing Spider-Man allowed for other people to do Savage Dragon. Pull your head in."

"Maybe the modern day equivalents of those creators need to branch out on their own now and see if they can shake things up outside the big 2. Because the point of all this is to 'make comics better' (to borrow a phrase from Larry Young) and if those guys can make bank for themselves and their publishers without servicing Batman and Wolverine, well, that's just good for the industry. Trust me, there's always a buyer for X-Men, but that's not usually the case for non-mainstream product. Look at Warren Ellis and 'Fell' #1-- he sold 25,000 copies. Now, with the state the comics industry is that is an excellent number, but that's just the tip of the ice berg when compared to Marvel's top sellers. But what if we got Warren Ellis and five of those top guys to do a big time indy comic? That would be good for everyone."

"He was obviously trying to channel Warren Ellis. And failing miserably."

(Cheers, Alistair.)

Carla Speed McNeil talks about moving Finder online:

"I do have all the work of setting up the site and getting it beta-tested, and it's been suggested that my site is a model of restrained good taste and needs to be tarted up a bit. I am actually quite lame with computers, so this consists of turning the whole mess over to friends of mine, who must be plied with food to work. It's like sitting in an operating theater's waiting room. Once the site is up, I'm assuming that I won't have to worry about making major changes anymore, but that's probably just laziness."

Another studio leaves Alias:

"Monkey Pharmacy Productions, creator/producer of the comic books Elsinore and Monkey in a Wagon vs. Lemur on a Big Wheel (with co-creator Chris Moreno), are pleased to announce that they have regained the rights to both of these properties. Both comic book series will be continued with new publishers and further announcements will be made in the near future. There has been an increasing amount of speculation about what was happening with these two books, especially since the announcement that Runemaster was leaving Alias. In mid-September, Mike Bullock and I gave legal notice that both our studios were leaving Alias. We are now able to announce that we have decided to take our properties elsewhere. Leaving Alias is by no means a setback for Monkey Pharmacy. We feel we now have the opportunity to produce the best work possible and be free from the series of unfortunate events that has plagued Alias and our titles right from the beginning."

When Newsarama asked for clarification on the situation, a familiar response was given:

"When asked for further clarification on the split, [Monke Phrarmacy founder Ken] Lillie-Paetz declined to comment, adding that his legal counsel had advised him not to speak further of the matter publicly."

Liam Sharp needs help.

Okay, now that the obvious jokes are out the way, let's look at what he's asking of Millarworld:

"It seems to me that Mark has a great board here for reaching a good broad section of the industry, and not just the fans and pros, but retailers too. Infact I can't think of another board that is quite such a broad church - but then I don't get out into cyberspace nearly enough... So bearing this in mind, I wondered if anybody could clear up some things that have been niggling me when it comes to publicity and targetting people. Clearly Event Horizon is a beautiful product, and it's doing very nicely in a niche indi way, BUT - why is it, for example, that some shops ordered, and sold, 40 copies of the book, while the majority didn't get any at all? What is it that makes shops fearful of investing in a new product even given that it contains completely original material from tried and tested creators?

"From a retailer POV, what could a publisher like Mam Tor do to reach them? What do retailers want from little guys like us? Another thing I've noticed is that phoning shops directly gets an incredibly varied response - from enthusiasm and pleasure that you bothered to call, to off-handedness verging on downright hostility! And also, probably lastly, is it possible to get people to try new genres? Will a capes and tights reader try Heavy Metal magazine? And if so, how do you do that? I know I made that change in my teens, but there wasn't such a big market for mature comics in those days, nor the quality of product available now.
In an industry saturated in hero comics, competing endlessly with itself, we're doing something pretty unique, and absolutely beautiful. But does it actually belong in the comic market? By posting stuff on Newsarama, CBR, here, or any comic site, will I actually be getting anywhere near what my target audience might be?"

Indie publisher Dan Lundie responds:

"Millarworld is a dry well for us indie publishers. It's just not the audience we all hoped it would be when we signed up. I've gotten pretty much the full audience I can from here for my stuff, and I doubt I'll be getting more for a little while. People that come here have already found what comics they like, and they want to talk about them. You've been in the industry a while and have a built-up audience, so chances are there'll be surfers on here at times who'll be glad to see your posts, but for indie publishers without the audience built up yet, MW sadly does not wield very good results... Your very best bet as I can figure it (aside from pimping or advertising on music boards and sites) is to relate your company to DC and Marvel. There's DC and Marvel fans on this board who fear your product because it's counter-culture and obscene and probably tells them to have free sex and take drugs, all the naughty things the bible protects us from. Help those people relate to your product. How can it be fun for them to read your book? How can they get invovled if they're coming from a position of nervous distrust of the unknown? Shorten that gap and show them the bits they'll be able to relate to. Let them know where you stand in regards to the bigger companies."

Millarworld mods, obviously, take offence and decide to take a shot at The Engine:

"I disagree here, there are plenty of people on MW willing to try new stuff. It's not easy to find a place thathas pros, indie creators, super-hero fans, indie fans, manga fans, retailers, you name it, all together in one place, and i believe it's one of the advantages of MW."

"The [Millarworld] audience determines what gets talked about and pimping the same thing repeatedly without much new (I'm trying to be really diplomatic about how some indie creators post here) does not lead to results, because you didn't deliver beforehand... You should also look at the fact that here you are talking to a mainstream audience so sell it to them rather than expect them to come and look for it. We're not an elitist pros only board - and we have more than comic readers coming through our doors."

Lundie again:

"I've chatted to other indie publishers who've been regulars on this board and we've all found it really difficult to gain any kind of interest for our stuff here outside of an initial group of posters who take an interest early on. I think it all comes down to word of mouth versus advertising. When I do a thread advertising my work, many people seem to skip it because it's one guy selling himself, no matter who that guy is. No one really likes a self-marketer these days. When a fan of a comic talks about the books he/she loves, however, people are a lot more open to that. They'll take notice of someone posting a 'hey, anyone reading Scott Pilgrim?' thread but they seem to back off from anyone posting a 'my new book's out, please support it!' style thread... Don't get me wrong, I'm not in any way bad-mouthing MW. I got my initial audience largely from this place, and I'm very grateful to it... It's just been my personal experience, and seemingly the experience of a few other indie publishers/companies I've talked to, that this board doesn't yield as many results as we'd like for our particular works. I think it's the wrong type of audience. People posting here know what they're into usually before they sign up on the board, and though there's times when they'll check out new books they've never heard of before, there is a general feeling going around that when you market your own work and you're not an established pro beforehand, it's pretty much spamming a board."

James Meeley considers comics formats:

"The classic comic book format might not ever reach the heights of its 'glory days' again, but that doesn't make it worthless. I often remind people who claim trades are so superior that the reason they can get the collected trade cheaper than all the comics it collects is due to folks who support the original comic format. By getting some money from that format, the companies are basically making the trades reprint material, which is much cheaper to produce than all-new material. So, they can charge less per issue-worth of material and make the trade a "better value" and still make a nice profit. I see no reason why that can't remain the case, so long as the format is bringing in money."

Oni releases a 13 page preview of Scott Pilgrim & The Infinite Sadness. Oddly, Newsarama only runs 12 pages of it. CBR has all 13.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Marvel go military again:

"Following up on their first comic released in May, Marvel will again create a custom comic for the US Military, this time featuring the New Avengers and other characters. The story, entitled 'Pot of Gold' features a team of heroes facing down 'The Disruptor,' a cyborg who’s angling to steal the Army and Air Force Exchange Service’s annual Morale, Welfare and Recreation dividend. The comic, available exclusively at AAFES facilities, is due in United States AAFES stores in early October, and overseas facilities in November."

Keith Giffen clears up a commonly-held misconception:

"DC and I have had our rocky periods. It's like a long, dreadful marriage. But the whole 'Keith must be pissed off because they're killing off his characters'... there's nothing there. The rumormongering got out of hand. Sue's death [in 'Identity Crisis'] started the whole firestorm. Look, any criticism I level at any other writer or artist boils down to, 'That's not the way I would have done it.' That's what all criticism boils down to, really. When I read 'Identity Crisis' I thought it was a pretty good read. When I saw Sue's death I thought to myself, 'OK, that's not the way I would have done it.' I'm not egotistical enough to think that the characters JMD and I handled back then would be hermetically sealed and put on a shelf with a note saying, 'Not to be used until Keith & Mark come back to reclaim them.' There was no anger. I wasn't pissed at DC and DC wasn't pissed at me. Period. I understood what they were doing and I agreed with a lot of it. Still do. Dan Didio and I got a kick out of the whole thing. We did this goof in 'Wizard' wherein we played around with it. One thing we try to do is keep the lines of communications open so there're no misunderstandings between us. Sometimes, if people hammer away at something long enough, the principals might think, 'Wow, maybe he is pissed off.' I can remember calling Dan and saying, 'I'm not pissed! I'm not pissed!' ...While I really appreciate the affection the fans have for these characters JMD and I thoroughly soiled back then, I have to be really careful that I don't become a cause. That's never a good thing. It's kind of oddly flattering to think that our JLI characters remain valid enough to act as the foundations for current DCU events. We had impact. Very cool. I'm not thrilled with death as an event, but that just brings me back to, 'That's not how I would have done it'. Again, I know where DC is heading and I think it's a worthwhile destination. I certainly wouldn't be doing '52' if I didn't agree with what's going down and want to be a part of it."

Dynamite Entertainment's J. Allen talks about why his company's books are late, and why that's a bad thing:

"It's jarring. It's horrible... Fans and retailers need to feel that we're both putting out quality and shipping on time. Our goal is to get there. We are trying. If we keep working at it, hopefully we'll succeed more than we'll fail. I'm sure we'll have a hiccup here and there, but hopefully we won't stumble as we have on being on time. We feel the quality of the final product has, so far, always exceed both our, and the fans expectations – even with the lateness... [T]here are no clauses [in our contracts to license properties for books] for lateness, but a different and important clause is the length of the contract. The license runs for only so long, and then you need to renew. Right now, we will be in to our first year on [Battlestar Galactica] by the time we put out our first issue. That means we paid money, and had no product come out, but it's something that we have to live with. The flip side would be to solicit product, and not put it out on time, and trying to catch up. That would be worse for retailers and fans. We have made that mistake."

Neil Kleid, Josh Fialkov and Ed Cunard discuss writer's block. Or, at least, they would, if any of them believed in it. Mr. Kleid?:

"Writer’s Block, in my opinion, is a myth. There’s absolutely no such thing. Sure, a writer can get stuck on a story and spend hours trying to find his or her way down the trail, but eventually, that writer is going to hit the clearing if he or she tries enough paths. Lazy writers use the Block as a way out — a tool that allows them to avoid putting in long hours expending brain muscle, time and energy figuring out what the next word or scene is going to be. It’s the out that lets them walk away and watch television or go get pizza with their friends, letting the thread of the tale slip further through their fingers to the point that they’re uninterested in sitting down at the computer to try and break it with a sledge hammer."

Robert Kirkman thinks about online fan arguments says "Can't we all just get along?":

"The thing about it is, I think we should all get along like a house on fire. That's the way it should be. We all read comics. We all like them. That's why we're here. We've already got more common ground than anyone we'd meet at a dinner party or some other place where you meet new people (I don't leave the house much). It only makes sense that we would all get along based solely on the common ground we all share. I mean, we've all read 'Watchmen' at least once, right?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mike Miller talks about Alias, and the Runemaster split:

"Gimoles performed very poorly, to the point where even if we weren't funding it, we would be taking a loss on just printing it, so we have to chalk that up to a bad decision to publish... [T]he situation was that we were willing to produce the book at break even, or even at a minor loss, in order to reach the trade and to complete the series. But we were not willing to lake a loss in the amount of their funding on a monthly basis--that's just bad business. And the order numbers being low - fewer than half that of Lions Tigers and Bears, we couldn't even count on the success of the trade. We proposed to Runemaster that we would be willing to take the loss through issue #2, but that we would not be willing to fund after that. We left it to Runemaster to decide if they would be willing or even able, to get the third and fourth issues done without funding before we could decide whether or not to go to print on issue #2, even though we offered to pay for issue #2 either way. This is primarily because we did not want to put out half of a story. A single 75 cent issue is bad enough, but we intrinsically believe it is unfair to retailers and consumers to put out half of a series and then quit... We were waiting for an answer from Runemaster for several weeks when we got a letter from Mr. Bullock's lawyer saying he was canceling the contract."

As to the accusation that Alias was in material breach of contract:

"[I]t's a false allegation. In the best case scenario, Mr. Bullock is simply mistaken about what he thinks constitutes a breach of contract. Unfortunately we couldn't discuss with him exactly why he thought there was a breach of contract because he brought in his lawyer and told us we could no longer communicate directly with him."

Entirely pointless, but amusing - Pop songs as interpreted by the Mighty Thor:

"Dost Thou Not Wish Thine Maiden-friend Were a Freak Like Me?
Dost thou not?
Dost thou not?"

"Since thou hast departed
I mayest breathe once anon
I go onward hence, yea verily
Thanks to thee, now I hast my desire
Since thou hast departed"

"Did'st thou write the book of love
Dost thou have faith i' Odin above
If the fables tell thee so?
Now dost thou believe in good minstrels?
Can music save thy mortal soul?
And can thou teach me how to dance quite slow?"

"Mine Milkshake brings all the young lads to the yard
and they are known to say
tis better than yours
yea verily tis better than yours
I can educate ye on it
but I'd have to maketh thy pay"

"Yon renowned fellow, let us kick it
Ho, everyone, cease, I prithee listen
Thor hath returned with a new invention
Something taketh hold of me most tight
Floweth like a harpoon day and night
Shall it ever end? I doth not know
Conjure the darkness and I shall glow
To great measure, mine voice is as a vandal
Brighten mine surroundings and snuff a life as though 'twere a candle
Yon mystic dance doth boom like a storm in motion
I bring death upon thee as like a black potion
Lethal, when I doth serenade thee
For any lesser tune wouldst be a travesty
Art thy affections roused, are dost thou flee?
Thou shouldst aim well, lest I forsake thee
If there be any ill, I shalt resolve it
Look thee upon mine hook while mine DJ revolves it"

(Thanks, Ed.)

In the middle of her SPX round-up, Heidi returns to an ongoing discussion:

"Another conversation I had -- and a much larger issue -- is what ever did become of the New Mainstream? As I wrote a little while ago in my comments on the Engine, while art comix have flourished as media darlings, and superheroes cotinue to rule the direct roost, the New Mainstream still fails to gain traction. Both the Superhero World and the Indie World look down on manga and the New Mainstream. By this, I mean the comics in what could be called mainstream genres -- humor, adventure, mystery, fantasy... From the big houses (I realize the irony in the term) like Fantagraphics, Top Shelf and D&Q to even smaller presses like Buenaventura, AdHouse and Alternative and the new Typocrat, the emphasis at SPX and MOCCA is on art for art's sake. Even though many of us find that vastly entertaining, it's not the same thing as entertainment for entertainment's sake."

Exchange of the day from the Byrne Board:

"And they say Mr.Byrne hates the fans... ...or those future fans. Ok i'm setting here in my room, and my little nephew of four years, comes running in with a scholastic book, that is about batman, now the first thing that cacthes my eye is the cover. It looks alot like a Mr.Byrne's drawing of the dark knight, and on closer look yep it has Mr.Byrne's credited for the pretty pictures. I would post a pic but my little nephew just grabed it from my hands and ran out of my room. Tried to find it on the net but scholastic doesnt even have it on their site."

"How did this prove that John Byrne doesn't hate his fans?"

"That's my point he dosent."

The thread gets more fun when other people try and make sense of what the story has to do with John Byrne hating (or not) "the fans":

"[T]he keyword was future fans. The point is he doesn't ignore the kids, like some do.."

"I actually see what he's saying now, he's talking about JB watching out for the future generation of comic lovers, which is always a good thing."

"A) JB drew Batman book for Kids [...] B) JB doesn't hate his fans. Chain of Reasoning: From #A : JB believes it appropriate to do comic book related material for children. Postulate #1 Children who read comic book related material may become fans. Postulate #2 If you hate something you do not work to increase it. Conclusion #B. An analogous argument would be: Writer X writes book for children about Clowns in which clowns are cool. Other things being equal that is a piece of supportive (though non-conclusive) evidence that he doesn't disapprove of children and adults liking the circus."

So now you know.

The Bendis Board wonders "So... what's wrong with New Avengers?":

"I dunno. I think this book and Young Avengers are more of what superhero comics could use. The sort of fun, sweeping tales that attracted many of us to big team comics when we were kids. I just don't get the hostility. And, you know, it's no secret I didn't enjoy Disassembled and Bendis himself yelled at me for my opinion about the whole Hawkeye thing, it's not like I'm just saying this shit to kiss ass. I just don't get it..."

"I don't think there's anything wrong with it, personally. A lot of people denouce it as a Justice League rip-off, what with all the A-List characters, but I think it does a lot for the book. He balances those out with B-List characters [Spider-Woman, Cage], which makes for fun reads. I think the Sentry storyline was fantabulous, and can't wait to see where Ronin goes. What's wrong with New Avengers? Nothing, I think."

"It's just haters hating. People are always going to pick on the popular book, movie, show, etc. in order to show how indy they are, even if their constant criticism shows they read or watch every issue/episode."

"[What's wrong with New Avengers is] That it makes all other comics look and read like shit next to it."

"The people who hate the book really don't understand the history of the Avengers. 1963- Lee & Kirby decide to put their most popular characters in one book. 1965 (and I've made this point, before I read What The?)- The founding members are replaced with the newest member (the sole character to survive the Golden Age) & 3 b-grade villains. 1966- Spider-Man's invited into the Avengers & really wants to join. All of these stories were written by Stan Lee, who I'd say has the right to make these decisions. 2004- Oh yea. Stan Lee writes a letter praising New Avengers."

Beau Smith takes bad writing to task:

"Sit and read some Doctor Doom dialogue sometime. It’s a scream. Here’s the thing, Doctor Doom has always been a character that talks like a mad scientist/Bad British actor. He kinda wrote the book on it as a supreme comic book bad guy. It’s like he’s supposed to be the cliché of all bad guys. Bad dialogue has been the burden of all comic book bad guys for years. They fall into two categories: The first one is the brainy madman like Doctor Doom where lines like: 'I shall crush you like the meaningless insect you are!' and 'You and your kind will all bear the shackles of submission when I rule the world!' These lines are facts. I looked em’ up in issues of The Fantastic Four. The second category of bad guy dialogue goes to thug/bruiser bad guys that all talk like they have a moron I.Q. or are out of an old Bowery Boys movie. They say stuff like: 'I’m gonna kill you!' and who can forget 'Now I’m really gonna kill you!' ...I’ve heard all the lame excuses from my peers in the writing world. They tell me that sometimes when you write three or four monthly books like they do that you don’t have the time to check every bit of dialogue. Others say that it’s the way the characters have always been written. I was stunned when one of my peers looked me in the face and told me that yeah, he did it. It was an easy way out and he didn’t care. It was the only truthful, manly answer out of the bunch. It was the wrong answer but unlike his written dialogue it had honesty to it."

Iron Man has a new writer, TV's Daniel Knauf, and he's writing a story that may split the internet in half:

"The exhilarating storyline will feature a string of high-visibility assassinations, prompting an intense investigation by Tony Stark (Iron Man’s alter ego), as the killer appears to be employing the armor and weapons of Iron Man. Stark is shocked and horrified by the truth he uncovers, as a far deeper game of death and deceit is being played – with Stark himself as one of the pawns!"

Tony Stark discovering that the technology he created is being used for nefarious ends? What a shocking new development that hasn't been the basis for multiple Iron Man stories over the last, what, twenty-at-least years.

Matt Fraction and Joe Casey gaze upon their works, ye mighty, and despair. Except, you know, without that despairing part:

"I can see what I was looking at, what I was thinking about, what I was reacting to or trying to understand in my life when I look back at my stuff, sure. I can see threads of creative interest that predate almost anything. Last year, after meeting a designer and writer named Marc English, I pushed myself through doing a kind of shamanism on my creative life and found, remembered, or discovered all kinds of links and motifs I didn't know existed. Bathed in the waters of Lake Minatonka, as it were. I don't think I can fairly examine my meager comics output to date with any degree of accuracy, since there's at least half as much written and never released for whatever reasons that it moots my personal perspective on context. I've worked long and hard on shit that's just never gonna see the light of day, but served a fairly profound purpose in my creative life, you know? Knowing that stuff exists skews how I see what's been printed."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Also at Publishers Weekly, Heidi MacDonald looks at message board culture:

"It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken—or a good message board, at least where comics are concerned. This is an industry and a fan community that's wired to max, happily dependent on all manner of message boards, blogs and web forums to spread the comics news and chit chat. Most of the most quotable message boards out there—the ones that are the most popular and break the most news—seem to be centered around notable creators in the comics world."

She runs through the most high-traffic message boards with one glaring exception *coughNewsaramacough*.

Publisher Weekly previews novelist Walter Mosley's Maximum Fantastic Four gig:

"Mosley hit on the idea of 'visually deconstructing' FF#1 and took his notion to Marvel chairman Avi Arad, who gave him the go ahead. Book designer Paul Sahre was brought in the design the book, adding gatefolds and a book jacket that unfolds into a poster witha photo reproduction of every page in the original comic. Comics historian and former Kirby assistant Mark Evanier puts this whole effort in context in an essay that looks at business and editorial side of Marvel Comics in the early 1960s... Maximum FF offers up each of Kirby’s panels as a carefully rendered graphic composition—reminiscent of the early comic book panel paintings of Roy Lichtenstein—but with Stan Lee’s narrative intact."

Paul O'Brien looks at Marvel's sales for August. The kids get scared.


"Those numbers are depressing."

"I am a huge marvel fanboy, but I have to agree that these numbers are sad. Most of the books are trending downward."

"Maybe it's me... But is the market overall EVER going to grow past the approx. 100K/issue level? Does DC's art suck overall? Does Marvel's writing suck overall? Why hasn't there been a marketing breakthrough in light of successful movies? Don't we talk about this about once a month? Like right after the sales figures come out?"

"[T]he main problem is technology and marketing. Technology is what the 'kids' want and comics aren't marketed enough to mainstream audiences. Also if anyone argues manga is a success I want someone to explain that one to me. Manga isn't successful if all it does is sit on the shelves in bookstores while kids read it and put it back on the shelf. If I'm wrong someone please let me know where I'm wrong."

"Whatever your feelings on the subject -- DC Comics has had a great year. They've successfully hooked a lot of people into their books the last 12 months, both new (GL, Countdown minis) and old (JSA, Flash). Most comics fans' budgets are finite - we pick and choose, drop and add. If more people are buying DC books --- then more Marvel books are going to be dropped - or they don't get added. You'd love for Marvel's books to be at least stable while DC rose this past year -- but that's just not the case. (and obviously, you'd love to attract new fans -- but that's a whole other topic previously discussed ad nauseum.) What concerns me MORE than these sales presented here is what seems to be Marvel's RESPONSE to DC's challenge. And that response seems to be to FLOOD THE MARKET with as many titles as possible."

The Bendis Board:

"All the X-titles are dropping get new writers [...] People don't seem to be that interested in the new UFF team, same sales as before [...] There's no need for Supreme Power to go under Max, the sales are great, but then a new 1 always brings new readers [...] 1602:New world sold really low [...] all the mini series sell really low [...] the market seems dead"

"I wonder why UXM and USM are losing so many readers?"

"My theory on the Ultimate books. It's not 'new and exciting' any more. When it debuted five years ago it was a whole new universe where anything could happen, so people wanted to check it out. Now, it seems to be following a little too closely to the regular Marvel U. . No big differences. Not bad, just not different enough. Plus they introduce, like, 5 new people with each storyline. The well will soon run dry"

Carla Speed McNeal offers up explanations at The Engine for Finder's move to web-only single issues:

"Okay... what the hell am I thinking? It's odd timing, I admit, but ask Batton Lash-- I've been toying with this idea for a while. Bat's going web too-- already has, I believe. I had my head down over my drafting table finishing the issue I brought to SPX and didn't even know I'd been held up once again as a Fine Example of a book that would get the boot from Diamond now that they've got their new ceiling nailed up. I didn't get the boot. The issues have been taking care of themselve for quite a while now, but their sales are stagnant. For me their main purpose has been advertising. Well, if they're advertising, they're not doing the job anymore. The best they've been able to do for the last few years is supply a substantial giveaway at cons. That does hook enough new readers to make conventions profitable through selling TPBs and art, but it does nothing for sales on the issues themselves.

"I plan to print an annual of some sort in the future to replace this giveaway. It'll have a sizeable chunk of story and a few toys in it, but most of the content will be on the site. When will it be set up? October. No, I don't know exactly, I have to make my programmers a shit-ton of paella and keep them liberally supplied with various poisons. They say it won't be much work. I've heard this before, so I'll just sit in the corner and chew hides. The first chapter is scanned and set and ready to go, that's FIVE CRAZY WOMEN, part one."

Newsarama fans get upset at Mark Waid for his comments that, currently, the DC superheroes are dicks and that the fans are sick of it:

"Now.. I'm sorry.. but what makes Waid think that he knows what we want? As far as I can tell, these gritty, dark stories have raised sales high above where they were before Identity Crisis.. Thanks but no thanks, Mark. I do just fine thinking for myself."

"Ask not what Mark Waid can do for you but what you can do to help Mark Waid bring comics back to 1966"

"way to go mark.......want to set DC back and have them be 5 miles back of marvel like the last 20 something years"

"I'm as sick of this 'everybody do the Meltzer' phase as anybody, but--BUT--it sells. I may not like it, but those are some big numbers. Memo to Waid and DC: This current dark period has alienated or driven off the readers who agree with Waid. When you switch to 'sockamagee!' after IC, you'll be alienating and driving off the people you attracted with the dark stuff. Unless this is all a complex market research experiment to determine which group of readers is larger, it's all pretty farking pointless. If this 'worst day in the DCU' stuff is meant to be the fertilizer from which greater things grow, then congratulations on totally stealing from Avengers Disassembled and taking 4 times as long to do it."

Screw Eminem! Screw Wanted! Mark Millar has another movie coming out:

"I just got back from the Mark Millar signing at Midtown Comics. I overheard him talking to one of the other fanboys there about his book Chosen. Apparently a couple days ago a deal was signed, Chosen will be made into a movie with the director of the new Exorcism of Emily Rose movie attached [NOTE: Scott Derrickson]. Millar said part of his agreement was that he was going to write the movie as well. Not sure if these means the first draft or whatever, but thought I'd pass it to you before it breaks elsewhere."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Apparently forgetting what happened the last time he wrote something vaguely controversial, Paul O'Brien takes on the mainstream:

"Manga, they say, is the new mainstream. I disagree. Not with the word 'mainstream', but with the word 'the'. It's a new mainstream. An additional one... Back in the dark, dark days before the manga boom, some indie purists used to argue that indie comics were actually more mainstream than superhero comics, because superheroes with a marginal genre, while indie books did drama, and comedy, and horror, and so forth, all of which were far more mainstream. It's a cute argument, but entirely wrong. The argument goes awry by trying to ignore the medium altogether and simply judging the claim to the mainstream solely by reference to genre. A story that might be thoroughly mainstream if told as a novel or a TV show is immediately banished to the cultural wasteland when told as a comic. That's just the way it is. Even if you take the view that these comics would have mass appeal, if only the audience knew about them, that still doesn't make them mainstream in any meaningful sense. It just means they have breakthrough potential and might be mainstream at some indeterminate point in the future, which isn't the same thing at all."

Mark Evanier puts a current rumor doing the rounds to rest:

"In the last week, I've received a number of e-mails asking if I have any inside info on a rumor that the Comic-Con International is soon to relocate from its native San Diego. Yes, I have inside info. It ain't true... The convention is well-run and if it was forced to move, I'm sure they'd figure something out. But it may never come to that and it certainly won't in the foreseeable future. So ignore the rumors. The con is staying in the 619 area code for now. Even if that means some of us have to park in 714."

Warren Ellis's latest Bad Signal breaks* what seems like an interesting story:

"Here's a little bomblet: on the same weekend she got an Ignatz award for FINDER, Carla Speed McNeil announced that the print serial incarnation of FINDER will cease with #38. After that, FINDER chapters will appear exclusively on the web before being pushed to trade paperback. FINDER has long been infamous as the best comics series from America that no-one actually buys. I know that whenever I've pointed people to the free issues already available at http://www.lightspeedpress.com, Speed's sold trade paperbacks.

"With sales of the serial perennially in the low thousands, her profit margin must have been negligible at best. The money, as is so often true, is in the trades. Putting FINDER on the web won't earn her money on the singles, but, with bandwidth down to affordable costs now, it won't cost her as much as printing a few thousand copies of the singles, either. Theoretically, with FINDER now available to more people in its serialised form, the TPB sales should go up. Obviously, it's a hell of a gamble."

Ellis also mentions that he's hoping to follow up on this with Speed at The Engine at some point. Meanwhile, Bad Signal can, of course, be subscribed to here.

* - Okay, so apparently Heidi broke the story first**, which is what I get for not looking at The Beat (or Comics Reporter, for that matter) before I posted this. Sorry, Heidi.

** - And now Kevin Melrose is telling me that Jim Henley was actually first.

The Bendis Board isn't happy with the X-Men books:

"Aside from astonishing............. xbooks just make no sense to me, maybe i am looking for something deeper or maybe they are too deep but they dont have the feel of the xbooks of the late 80s early 90s, hell even the late 90s. Claremont's stuff has just been uninteresting, who cares about dinosaur people. The new storyline just doesnt make sense to me in this house of m world. Maybe i am looking for too much i dont know. Reading the latest issue of x-men, the crossover with black panther is alittle better but not by much, i love the art but is that hte only reason why i am buying this book? am i going to have to drop these two books i have had solid runs on for 15 years?? If someone who is pro xcomics could explain in better detail the significance and point out the good storytelling in Golgitha, foxxy, the savage land storyline, and the current house of m stuff i would appreciate it because i am at my witts end."

"I stopped buying everything except astonishing. If the sales drop, they will replace milligan and give claremont a new title to do his magic on."

"Yeah, I dropped all X-books that weren't Astonishing as well. I think they need another Reload or Relaunch or whatever to get the gears moving for the X books again. The problem with Claremont is that he over explains everything in his writing. I remember him saying that he wrote every issue as if it was someone's first issue. In practically every story, characters are introducing themselves and their powers, and in every single issue it just doesn't work."

"Reload was a good idea, in theory but it suffered because they didn't do anything too drastic. They kept Claremont and originally (shudder...) Austen, and they didn't bring anything different to the books. They just kept going with what they were already doing. Milligan seemed like a great idea, his X-Force/X-Statics stuff was out there and ground breaking but didn't translate into the actual super-hero genre. What needs to be done with the X-titles is they should get rid of Claremont and Milligan (No disrespect to them but Milligan just isn't working and Claremont should be put out to pasture, his writing is just not what makes for interesting comics anymore.), Turn Uncanny X-Men into Astonishing X-Men permanantly, and find somebody to do something new and fresh to the other X-Men title. I think the problem is that Marvel wants to utilize all these characters in X-Men, but really have no story to tell with them. I mean does Wolverine really have to be in all 3 X-titles (Not including New Avengers and his solo book)? I really think its time for the house of X to thin out the herd a bit. Get rid of characters like Gambit, Rogue, Iceman, Havok, and a bunch of others, I mean don't kill them, but get them out of the x-books and maybe bring them back when a writer has a story to tell with them."

"i've said it before and i'll say it again--the biggest problem with the x-books isn't with the writers--it's the editorial and corporate departments. too many times i've heard of creators trying to take the x-books in new directions, but that scares the suits upstairs and then editorial hands down mandates that hamper any sort of major change for the line. i thought morrison's run was refreshing, as it seemed to be mostly free of that crap. but now, it looks like it's back to the days of no risk taking."

Cartoon Network - helping manga take over the world, apparently:

"Viz's Naruto manga dominated the BookScan report for the week ending September 18th. Just eight days after the premier of the Naruto anime on the Cartoon Network all seven volumes of the Naruto manga were in the top 20 with four titles in the top 10. What's the evidence that exposure on the Cartoon Network created new fans for the series? The first volume of the Naruto series came in second selling more copies than the most recent Naruto release (Vol. 7)... Manga was more dominant than ever on this bookstore graphic novel sales report taking 48 out of the top 50 spots. The highest-ranking non-manga title on the list was Marvel's Ultimates 2 Vol. 1, which came in at number 33. The only other non-manga title in the top 50 was Frank Miller's Sin City Vol. 1 at number 43."

Gail Simone, y'big tease:

"Okay, all I can say is, after the One Year Later jump, ALL BETS ARE OFF. Some REALLY fun and new stuff is coming up...I can't wait for you guys to see. But, and let's say this is purely speculative-- if there were to be a new Bop team, completely new, no returning members-- Who would you like to see in the group?"

If there is an all-new Birds of Prey post-Crisis, I'd like a Gail-written Black Canary ongoing, please.

Following the split from Alias, Runemaster's Lions, Tigers and Bears resurfaces at its original publisher. Mike Bullock rubs it in:

"There really is no way around it, Lions, Tigers and Bears was always destined to be an Image book... Jack and I are just thrilled that we’ve been given the chance to keep it that way."

Jack Lawrence, series artist, offers another hint of why Image may be better than Alias:

"Professionalism, honesty, and bloody good books. That's all you need, isn't it? And Image has all that in spades."

Simon Gane discusses his and Andi Watson's new series, Paris:

"It's a love story set in 1950's Paris (later in the series, England and New York)... Juliet, a down to earth American art student meets Deborah, an upper class English girl, and they have more in common than they at first realize. They're both restricted by the roles society and family have mapped out for them, and their paths towards freedom echo the changes in art, technology, personal and political views of the time. The supporting cast is strong and often funny. There's nerdy Gerard, Juliet's bitter and infatuated friend, Paulette, the scantily-clad and animated beatnik to name but two, all given their unique voices thanks to Andi's truly strong dialogue. At face value it's a fun book, partly inspired by old movies of the era, and intentionally with that same mix of drama, humor and glamor, but there are all sorts of twists and turns as the story unfolds. The genesis is that when Andi asked me what I'd enjoy drawing, this is what I suggested, heaven help me."

Chris Crisis/Boring Change talks to Matt Fraction about the Pixies:

"The Pixies don't remind me of being in 9th grade or of anything else. There are no... it's not like listening to the past. There's no 'remember when' for me like with, well, like with Nirvana, who irrevocably and inescapably summon up the early 90s for me, every time I hear them."

For those of you who still need to hear the Pixies, there's also a contest to win Matt Fraction's very own Pixies mixtape. Go. Enter.

Friday, September 23, 2005

In a series of short columns at ICv2, retailers (and an English lecturer) discuss the content of superhero books:

"Why should a burgeoning, vital, and originally innovative art form (like comics and / or graphic novels) have to cater to the 'lowest common denominator' mentality of 'simplicity over substance?' At what point does such a stance prove self-defeating? ...Human beings (and in many cases, heroes) do face dilemmas that don't have a resolution. This doesn't make our dealing with such situations any less relevant or meaningful. Resolution isn't always a necessary component of stories, is it? Why must all forms of popular art require tidy formulas and inert generalities? Why keep comics in such a limited province, when we could have it in the public sphere outside the local multiplexes--in schools, in libraries, in out of the way places? ...If the books don't appeal to a portion of the comics market, specifically because they are 'too dark,' is that not the fault of an un-educated mass of people who don't read well or can't get beyond their own prejudices? Optimism is fine (and necessary), but at what cost do we prostitute ourselves, the comics as a medium of literature and art, and our capacity as reasoned creatures in order to revert to an unnecessary, forced, perhaps dying model of simplicity and fun?"

"That a market exists for comics that are negative, depressing, and tend to another kind of lowest common denominator can't be denied. It's a small market, though, one that is defined almost in its entirety by themes based on violent death... We are left with a slick but too often empty product, one that impresses too few, and one that operates under another kind of immaturity that, ironically, renders the old kids' comics genuinely mature when contrasted with what passes for 'mature' today."

"At the end of the day... retailers who feel the public is truly being ill-served by the current crop of comics reflective of the real-world socio-political landscape have a number of options open to them: stop selling those comics they object to... create some comics that fill the need they see going unfilled, or put their money where their mouth is and fund a company to publish some comics by talented, popular creators of the kind they insist 'the public wants.' Given the fate of the last company to bet the bank on such books, Dreamwave, I urge caution. But if they do act on their convictions, I'll be right there to order those books and let the market prove me wrong."

"Here's the bottom line: We limit the untapped potential of super-hero comic book sales when dark and depressing become the dominant flavors in current titles. Sure, there's definitely room for darker content, but it becomes nothing more than style over substance if there isn't some representation of the more noble ideals of altruism and heroism. I believe it's important to show there really is a difference between right vs. wrong and good vs. evil."

Should superhero characters age? Erik Larsen considers:

"If you just want the characters to start aging now for you-- don't you think that you're being just a little selfish? You're denying the next generation of readers what you have-- young, vital, iconic superheroes. Why would you do that to your son or daughter or grandkids? Do you want them reading crappy comics? There is something nice about keeping iconic characters as icons. Peter Parker as a young man with problems is the icon-not Peter Parker the troubled grandfather of sixteen... When you start noticing the seams, maybe it's time to move on to something else. Or, perhaps, you can learn to accept the reality that these books aren't reality, get over it, and enjoy the books for what they are."

With three weeks to go until Infinite Crisis - which hopefully will ship on time, now that DC are doing weekly countdowns - the Geoff Johns board tries to work out just what Infinite Crisis is:

"And why do I get the feeling we still have no idea what IC is really about yet? All the clues, hints, distractions over the summer...what are they paving the way for?"

"ooh, you know, you're right. and isn't it nice not to know exactly what's going on? I hope they manage to keep things under wraps a bit - no giving IC #1 to stores the week before, as happened with Identiy Crisis. I also suspect (though could be wrong) that many of the recent solicits are witholding key pieces of info. This month's batch seemed surprisingly light on Crisis related stuff - and as someone pointed out there's not even a mention of Power Girl despite her being cover featured last month. hmm, curiouser and curiouser!"

"Infinite Crisis is about the return of the concept of 'multiverse' to the DC universe. We've seen snippets of it leak through the cracks, like in the Degaton plotline in JSA, the Crime Syndicate in JLA, and pretty much anything Superman / Batman. Now we're coming to that particular plot apex. Thing is, we'll have to see what becomes of it. I doubt it'll be the big ridiculous event of Crisis on Infinite Earths, where if you didn't follow all instances of a character you were quite confused when it hit. I suspect it'll be a transition comic as well as an event, to introduce the multiverse concept and give some examples of what that means, such as very different versions of our familiar characters. That is, at least, the narrative background. Thematically, Infinite Crisis seems to be about the fundamentals; what it takes to be a hero in an age of metahumans and wanton disregard for life and livelihood."

"Actually, I think this week's Green Lantern Corp: Recharge supplied the biggest clue..... When Kilowog mentioned that the Guardians had said the universe was about to change."

"Basically I see Infinite crisis as a springboard to a new DC. Same heroes, but different people under the mask and all. Basically there is too much back story on alot of characters to make them viable to the general public, and with the movie thing so big these days that's really where the money is, so the companies are going to try and get there. Basically we'll see a new Blue beetle, probably a new Aquaman or Wonder Woman, maybe even a new Captain Marvel (Freddy). Also alot of the B-listers are probably gonna die to clear room for new characters. Just my theory at least..."

"If the Crisis is really infinite, hasn't it already begun? Near as I can tell, reality has been rebooted six times this week."

Neil Gaiman talks about Mirrormask and geekdom at Newsarama:

"Loving comics in England just meant that you were really weird; it didn't mean that you were the comic store guy. Here were these comics coming in from England like disease germs and fighting people who were susceptible. We were those people who were susceptible to that but we also loved theater and books and novels and avant-garde poetry and weird stuff so it didn't seem like something else in the mix in a cultural thing. Suddenly coming out to America and meeting people that were involved in comics I realized they were involved in comics because they had never done or seen anything else and so it never occurred to them to do anything else."

Tom Spurgeon announces the third AdHouse Project anthology:

"AdHouse Books will announce at today's Small Press Expo the third of its well-regarded anthologies. Project: Romantic will join Project: Telstar and Project: Superior upon its debut in the Summer of 2006."

The line-up of creators involved includes Hope Larson, Chip Kidd and Josh Cotter, to name some of my favorites, and it's a romance anthology. I'm very sold. Go see the beautiful cover on Tom's site.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Alias's Mike Miller responds to the Runemaster Press Release announcing breach of contract:

"We at Alias are saddened to see this happen. Our relationship with Runemaster was positive overall, and we regret losing them as a client and a partner. The simple fact of the matter is that both series took a major loss. Gimoles sales were so low that we had no choice but to cancel funding on the project. We gave Runemaster the option of finishing out the series without advanced funding, and were awaiting their response when we read this PR on Newsarama.

"There was no material breach of contract.

"Obviously we hope for the best for Runemaster and its partners, and good luck to whatever publisher decided to pick them up."

Talking about his House of M follow-up, Generation M, Paul Jenkins makes an interesting comment:

"As I’m looking at it, about 4% of the world’s population has mutant abilities, or at least latent mutancy, so we’ve got a lot of characters to play with and explore."

Either (a) Jenkins doesn't know about the rumored "shocking conclusion" of House of M, (b) Jenkins knows but makes this comment as disinformation, or (c) that rumored "shocking conclusion" isn't true...

When indies tiff:

"Runemaster Studios, Inc. has announced that it is severing ties with Alias Enterprises, effective immediately. Runemaster's partnership with Alias produced the sold-out mini-series Lions, Tigers and Bears, published through Image comics, as well as the debut issue of The Gimoles. The trade paperback collection of Lions, Tigers and Bears, also produced in partnership with Alias, sold out of its initial printing... According to Bullock, Runemaster is terminating the licensing agreements for Lions, Tigers and Bears and The Gimoles for cause, due to material breaches committed by Alias. 'It's unfortunate the situation has come to this,' Bullock said. 'We’ve exhausted every avenue of reconciling our differences with Alias and securing what is owed to us. This is a last resort, but we've been left with no other option.'"

(Thanks, Kevin.)

Damn Diamond and their policies, says the Bendis Board:

"Looks like Diamond still won't carry School: A Ghost Story [...] That makes number 2 in the 'Diamond Comics Distribution rejection letter' pile. Same reasons, too - bad art and all that jazz. Anybody wanna make bets on how many rejections it will take before Diamond finally starts carrying this book? My money's on #6. Hopefully by that time, they'll have new brand managers who don't hate the art as much."

"1) Isn't art subjective? 2) I know Marvel (and maybe DC) have had some pretty crappy artists on some of their major titles - why didn't they reject them? You may have a case here . . ."

"Jesus, I've seen some piss-poor art in Previews. They must use the dartboard method of selection."

"They're dumb. Pure and simple. Diamond seems like they're run by irate stupid poo-throwing monkeys have the time."

"thats fuckin bs man........ive seen your art and its certainly isnt bad just different.....fuck diamond up their stupid asses! but dont let this get you down....keep on keepin on"

"If you tell them you're just the artist, and the story was by Neil Gaiman, they'll change their tune. They are the ones who are the ball lickers!"

For those who want to judge the art for themselves, there's a preview of the book here...

Chris Ware... the victim of self-censorship? The Comics Journal message board investigates!:

"On page 68 of THE ANNUAL REPORT TO SHAREHOLDERS, where many of the ads from ACME NOVELTY LIBRARY # 10 are reprinted, there's a little fake ad for 'The Plate Lifter,' which shows a cartoon of a man using a wire device to make a plate jump in front of a woman. The woman says, 'Oh my, it's alive!' and the man replies 'Hey baby, never mind that...how about you and me...y'know?' I don't have ACME #10 in front of me--and never will again, since I loaned it to a fair-weather friend--but I remember the wording of the man's reply very differently. In the version of 'The Plate Lifter' in ACME #10, the man says something like, 'Never mind that baby...how about you suck my dick?' So I wonder: why the change? It's not censorship--much of the rest of the SHAREHOLDERS book is considerably rawer than 'suck my dick.' The ad for 'Comic Celluloid Buttons' reprinted from ACME #10, for instance, still includes rib-ticklers like 'My father raped me' and 'My father used to tell me I was a worthless piece of shit.' My theory is that Ware perhaps did TWO versions of the 'Plate Lifter' ad, one for ACME #10 and one slightly-cleaned up version for publication elsewhere (does Ware's comic for NEW CITY run his fake ads?). Maybe it's this cleaned-up version that made it into SHAREHOLDERS for some reason. Now that I've taken my obsession with Ware's comics to a frightening new high, I'll shut up."

"I just noticed the 'suck my dick' change today. Also, there is a change in one of the Rusty Brown strips-- he no longer wonders how long it takes to actually 'fuck' someone, instead substituting the word 'lay.'
The book is great, but these cleaned-up versions aren't as funny to me. It makes sense that he would have 'clean' versions perhaps for the weekly, if that's the reason, but I'm surprised that the pamphlet versions aren't considered the definitive text compared to the weekly strip. Of course, I still have my original ACMEs and I'll never get rid of them. I'm glad that all this material is available to people now that those issues are out of print, and I like having all this new material in such a gorgeous hardcover format. But I don't like seeing those altered versions, they definitely aren't an improvement for me-- the shocking vulgarity of the 'Plate Lifter' ad was so unexpected when I first read it, I still remember laughing out loud at it. I don't know that I would have laughed at the cleaned-up version....."

"Yah, I checked... It says suck my dick, which is so much more funnier."

Top Cow reaches out:

"Top Cow, the #1 comic book publisher in sales per title over the last 13 years, will exclusively offer free comics books online through a new deal with America Online's RED service for teens. AOL RED members will be able to view the full 22 page issue of Witchblade #1 and starting every Wednesday, Top Cow will release a new comic exclusively online... After running several issues of Witchblade, Top Cow will introduce other tittles such as The Darkness (which has a film deal at Dimension and a video game developed by Starbreeze, published by Majesco and due out in mid 2006), The Magdalena, Aphrodite IX, Wanted, and Proximity Effect, to new a few."

Today's good news comes from a quote from Mark Waid:

"The good new is, and I guarantee you this, when we’re on the other side of the CRISIS, those days [of dark super-heroes] are GONE. Just gone. We’re sick to death of heroes who are not heroes, we’re sick to death of darkness. Not that there’s no room, not that Batman should act like Adam West, but that won’t be the overall feeling. After all this stuff, after everything shakes down, we’re done with heroes being dicks. No more we screwed each other and now we must pay the consequences. No, we’re super-heroes and that’s what we do. Batman’s broken. Through no ONE person’s fault, but he’s a dick now. And we’ve been told we can fix that."

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Newsarama have leaked (possibly incomplete - They seem short to me, for some reason) Marvel solicits for December. Of note:

* Pascal Ferry gets started on his Marvel duties in earnest, doing the art for Ultimate X-Men/Ultimate Fantastic Four (a new miniseries written by Mike Carey) and Young Avengers Special #1. Yes, that's right; Young Avengers gets a special issue, with art by Ferry, Gene Ha, Jae Lee, Michael Gaydos, Bill Sienkiewicz and Neal Adams. Bet you didn't see that coming.

* Also surprising: Dwayne McDuffie writes a Fantastic Four special ("It’s a day of celebration and reflection in Latveria, but deep within the confines of the Latverian Embassy to America, Victor Von Doom and Reed Richards engage in a subtle battle of wits, with all of Manhattan as the playing field. What are the stakes? And can Mister Fantastic triumph when all of the moves have been made in advance?") and Andy Diggle writes a Punisher Holiday one shot.

* From the solicit for Spider-Man/Black Cat #4: "The wait is over! Finally! No, really."

* Marvel Spotlight relaunches, but it's not what you might expect: "Welcome to the All-New, All-Different MARVEL SPOTLIGHT, showcasing that other great commodity of Marvel Comics: its creators! SPOTLIGHT will bring loyal readers closer to Marvel’s top talents, starting this month with the Eisner Award-winning pair of writer Sean McKeever (GRAVITY, SENTINEL) and artist John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN). Marvel junkies can expect in-depth extras and timely features – including sketches, character designs and script materials! Probing interviews and engaging commentary! An all-out exploration of what makes these creative types tick – everything you ever wanted to know, and a lot of stuff you didn’t know you wanted to know! NO ads, NO reprints!"

* Not a rumor! Not a bad idea! Okay, it might be! But Marvel Zombies turns out to be a real book: "Torn from the pages of Ultimate Fantastic Four! On an Earth shockingly similar to the Marvel Universe’s, an alien virus has mutated all of the world’s greatest super heroes into flesh-eating monsters! It took them only hours to destroy life as we know it—but what happens when they run out of humans to eat?!? Follow their search for more food—and witness the arrival of the Silver Surfer!"

* Whoever writes the solicits for Amazing Fantasy needs to learn to spell "poll": "The fans have spoken in Marvel’s second online pole for which character will get revamped in AMFAN. Friends and foes alike, may we introduce to you Death’s Head 3.0!"

* Dan Slott's GLA returns for the holidays: "Marvel’s own Milwaukee-based Misfits are back—in their very own, double sized X-mas special! Sure, they survived the GLA mini-series, but can Squirrel Girl, Mr. Immortal, and pals survive... the HOLIDAYS?!? 6 all-new features of mockery, morbidity, and merriment-- including the return of Grasshopper, Deathurge... and the Yuletide tyranny of Dr. Tannenbaum?!"

* There's another What If "event", but for some reason, I can't even get vaguely excited about it...

Joe Quesada gets his day in the sun:

"Reed Exhibitions has announced that Joe Quesada, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics will be a New York Comic-Con Guest of Honor, and will lead an all-star contingent of Marvel creators who will all be present at the inaugural New York Comic-Con, which will be held at the Jacob K. Javits Center from February 24th to February 26th, 2006. The show will be open to the trade only on February 24th and to the general public on February 25th and 26th."

Somewhere, Wizard is pissed.

Jesse Baker explains why the Byrne Wikipedia rampage last week:

"As a regular Wikipedia contributor (both anonymously and via my log in ID), I was pissed as fuck that Byrne was trying to bully the site to remove what was essentially the truth about the motherfucker from it's entry on John Byrne. So I did what anyone in my position (and reputation) would have done: channel the animal spirit of Daffy Duck, told myself 'I Am Fucking Baker_Baker. I am Fucking Baker_Baker! I am fucking Baker_Baker!!!!!', go on the offensive, and then watch the fall-out ensue as Byrne and his message board syncophants run around reacting to my strategic strike and further dig their own hole towards proving what a piece of shit they are."

To clarify: Jesse is, apparently, "fucking Baker_Baker". But he is Baker_Baker. Insert your own masturbation joke in here, dear reader.

House of M - Political allegory? You may be surprised (or you may not), but Augie? You might want to look away:

"The whole 'War on Sapien Terror', the unethical way Magneto seized power, and the loss of privacy at the hands of the Sentinals all look to be a play on current politics in America. So, if politics are very similar between the Marvel Universe and reality then there must inevitably be a comparison between the leaders of both worlds: Magneto and our current president, George W. Bush. There are some great similarities between the two, but also some incredible differences... Allow me to demonstrate:

"Similarities: 1.) Both Bush and Magneto seized power unethically by distorting reality (Bush with his PR firms, Magneto with the Scarlet Witch) [...] 2.) Both Bush and Magneto believe in violating an individual's right to privacy for the 'greater good' (In fact, I think the Pentagon is working on that Sentinel technology as we speak...) 3.) Both Bush and Magneto are waging a 'War on Terrorism' (Bush is fighting it against Islamic extremists and countries that have vast oil fields, while Magneto wages war upon the entire human race)

"Differences: 1.) Magneto is well read, competent, and has a clear vision for the future that does not involve the almighty dollar. Bush is the exact opposite. 2.) Magneto can bend steel with his mind. Bush can't even handle the simple task of eating a pretzel. 3.) Magneto wants to create a world to serve the mutant 'master race'. Bush wants to create a world that largely serves the class interest of the rich. Wait, you could chalk this one up as a similarity... Ah whatever, there's a difference.

"Now, please feel free to comment on any perceived similarities or differences you see between Bush and Magneto, or any other parallels you see between current world politics and the House of M or any of the tie-ins (I'll give you a nerd-erific example: One could compare the Hulk's takeover of Australia and refusal to fight the 'War on Sapien Terrorism' to the socialists taking over Spain and withdrawing their troops from Iraq...Or the 'Fearsome Four's' Dr. Doom getting bitch slapped by Magneto might be compared to John McCain getting bitch-slapped by Bush's push polling in 2000, to which McCain is now a broken man currently carrying water for the administration)."

"Spider-Man: House of M is obviously a metaphor for homosexuality in Hollywood. I mean, look at that Green Goblin costume. It's FABULOUS!"

"Anyone read the first story arc in Ultimate X-Men where Magneto drags a naked George Bush out on the front lawn of the White House and makes him beg for mercy? Now THAT was quality storytelling."

(Thanks, Ian.)

My lack of law interest returns to haunt me, apparently:

"In late August, there was an interesting new ruling in the [Marvel vs.] City of Heroes lawsuit, with another good win for NCSoft. NCSoft, the game operator, sued Marvel under 17 USC 512(f) for sending bogus takedown notices... NCSoft alleged the following facts: * Marvel sent takedown notices on characters that Marvel itself created or that had already been removed [...] * Marvel knowingly sent notices to have NCSoft remove identically-named characters across multiple servers, even though some of those characters were legitimate [...] * the consequences were material because NCSoft added terms to its block list and deleted innocent players' characters [...] * these caused damages of lost goodwill, lost subscriptions and investigation expenses. These facts were enough to survive a motion to dismiss. We'll see if the plaintiff can prove the requisite facts, but this ruling is a pretty significant development. Many of us have hoped for stronger consequences to inhibit copyright owners from sending poorly-conceived takedown notices, and this ruling gives extra teeth to the 512(f) cause of action... NCSoft has also gone on the offensive by claiming that Marvel infringed its trademark in 'City of Heroes' based on Marvel's use of the term 'City of Heroes' in some promotional copy on some comic books. The trademark claims survived a motion to dismiss. I'm a little worried about how far NCSoft is trying to stretch its trademark against a slogan use by Marvel, but I support the aggressive response by NCSoft generally. Marvel is quickly learning that there are potential unexpected costs of enforcing its IP rights, and those include counterclaims."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A day late, a dollar short, but for those who haven't seen them, DC's December solicits. As usual, of interest:

* All Star Batman and Robin The Boy Wonder gets what Marvel would call a Director's Cut. DC just call it a Special Edition: "Don't miss an incomparable new version of the best-selling premiere issue of ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER, sporting a stunning new cover by comics legend Frank Miller! This 48-page Special offers a peek into the creative process, featuring Jim Lee's stunning original pencil art (with lettering) for the entire first issue. As a bonus, Miller's script for this landmark collaboration is also included!"

* My Silver Age "jones" gets "fixed" with Crisis On Multiple Earths: The Team-Ups and Showcase Presents Justice League of America. Another interesting collection is The Best of The Spirit, collecting 22 Will Eisner stories with an introduction by Neil Gaiman.

* Talking of Gaiman, he contributes a Deadman story for Teddy Kristansen's issue of Solo. Yes, Teddy Kristansen. It's as if DC are now targeting the people I'd love to see more work from but would never have expected a Solo issue from.

* Those of you who, like me, wanted Jim Corrigan's name in Gotham Central to be an injoke instead of a plot point can get disappointed by the latest solicit for the title: "Corrupt cop Jim Corrigan has crossed the line for the final time, and Allen and Montoya are going to bring him down. But is there any connection between Corrigan and the man who shared his name; the man once known as... the Spectre?"

* Rann/Thanagar War and Villains United get rush-trades to capitalize on Infinite Crisis. My bet for Mockingbird's identity, by the way? Vandal Savage. And I thought that before I saw this.

* The Bulleteer goes in a direction I didn't expect, for some reason: "Who killed the Seven Soldiers? More shattering secrets of the Seven Soldiers are revealed in this special issue which unfolds directly from events in the best-selling SEVEN SOLDIERS #0! Together with a dying FBI agent, the Bulleteer investigates the disappearance of six bargain-basement Super Heroes, uncovering mysteries dating back decades... and beyond. Alix Harrower finds herself drawn deeper into a world she wants no part of as her journey into the dark underbelly of the hero dream brings her face-to-face with her first super-villain! Plus, from the grave — the return of the Vigilante!"

* Hard Time returns, free from the Focus imprint and with some quote action (from Wizard, People magazine and Entertainment Weekly): "One of the most acclaimed new series of 2004 returns! Sentenced to 50 years to life for his role in a high school prank gone tragically wrong, Ethan Harrow has just turned 16 in a maximum-security prison. He's made fast friends, earned mortal enemies, and even gotten his first kiss from a mysterious girl named Red. Above all else, Ethan's only just started to learn the boundaries of superpowers he didn't know he had!"

* Hands up everyone who thought Tom Strong had already finished! Well, we're all wrong: "It's 'Tom Strong at the End of the World' as Alan Moore and Chris Sprouse reunite for one final, breathtaking story! The events of the last several issues of PROMETHEA are recalled as our hero — and special guest stars Jack B. Quick, Greyshirt, Splash Brannigan, The Cobweb, Jonni Future, and many others — discover what happens when the world comes to an end. But that's all small potatoes compared to the really big news revealed within these pages!"

At Baltimore, Marvel announced some of their 2006 projects. Of interest, something called 1985 - "One of Mark Millar’s upcoming projects is entitled 1985, which will combine photography, art, and digital art. Reportedly, the story follows a kid through the year 1985 in the Marvel Universe" - and the previously announced Omega The Unknown. Nice to see the Kirby worship continues, with a hardcover collection of The Eternals, too.

Joe Casey and Matt Fraction, gentlemen both, discuss The Engine and the ghost of the WEF:

"WEF was this party that got so huge, so massive, and so crazed that it passed into local legend, right? Every high school or college had one, that one legendary bash that all others were measured up to, right? After a while the good and the bad and the truth of it all gets washed away and watered down and rewritten. Suddenly you've got people that weren't there telling ninth generation stories about The Day Warren Called So-and-So a Cocksucker and Banned 780 People-- shit that never happened, even remotely, passes into truth. So... WEF was some kind of massive blowout, impossible to replicate, and, even if you could, who on Earth would want to? The Engine seems smaller, more intimate. Even with the 2000 some registered members, it's more focused on the medium itself and... well, if WEF was the house party to end all house parties, right now it seems like The Engine's more of a conversational dinner party. Something more about the talk than the spectacle, more lounge than riot, you know?"

Comics - They're popular, says ICv2:

"Dollar sales of comics and graphic novels in comic shops in August were up a healthy 18% over sales in the same month a year ago -- aided perhaps by the fact that August had five comic on-sale days (Wednesdays), though based on Diamond's invoicing procedures the effect of the extra week is difficult to weigh and a definitive answer on sales for this period may have to wait until next month when the numbers for the entire third quarter are available. With that caveat in mind, August figures look good--comic book sales ballooned by a substantial 16%, while graphic novels increased their dollar total by 26%."

DC offers different terms of sale for 52*:

"Acknowledging that the trail they’re on was blazed by Marvel, DC will experiment with a 'last minute' order adjustment system similar to Marvel’s FOC date, it was announced by DC’s Bob Wayne at yesterday’s Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore. Marvel, Newsarama readers will recall, changed their ordering system from a monthly based system to one that has weekly Final Order Cutoffs in early 2003. Under Marvel’s system, retailers can increase or decrease their orders for books up until the Thursday, three weeks before eth respective book hits the shelf. According to Wayne, in speaking to retailers, the title that will be order adjustable (paraphrasing) up until the last minute is one that makes eminent sense for the publisher to try the system out on – next year’s 52*, the weekly series filling in the gap between the end of Infinite Crisis and the beginning of the 'One Year Later' startpoint of all the DC Universe titles post Crisis."

Christ, you spend a day in bed sick and all this news happens. What's that all about? It was a Monday, for God's sake.

Anyway, Diamond finally commented about their change in policy:

"We have been evaluating threshold points for sometime internally here, weighing the dollars and units sold on items below the benchmark at different levels. The benchmark has always existed as a target goal for each new solicitation and has only increased $500 in the last decade to the current $1500 level. We have always quoted the goal of making the minimum benchmark as our target when selecting items to be listed in Previews. There is the assumption that the potential to reach that goal exists before we run it in the catalog. The threshold is just measuring what items are currently under 40% of the target benchmark as a place to begin evaluating the situation... At the end of the day, we’re hoping that by analyzing the trends with our lowest performing comics that we can cut back on some of the products that are not finding a niche in an effort to strengthen the catalog, retailers, and the overall market. Diamond benefits from a strong and healthy marketplace where retailers continue to order the full line of comics with confidence that they will sell if put on their shelves next to their premiere selections. There are a lot of really great items listed in the Comics Section that have yet to find major audiences and we hope this will be a factor in helping them to develop."

Monday, September 19, 2005

Offered without comment, from Baltimore Comicon:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thanks, Mystery Correspondent.

Warren Ellis links to a sample of Alan Moore script. The Engine trembles:

"Moore is insane."

"I was laughing myself silly after clicking 'down' twice and it was STILL on Panel 1. 'Killing Joke', indeed. Jokes aside, I love the fact that Moore thinks of the presentation as a whole. He doesn't throw any shit in there unless it absolutely works perfectly and uniquely wherever it is. Like the opening suggesting that the end papers of the GN have a purpose in framing the story.And he talks out everything on the front receptionist's desk, right down to the Graham Greene novel she's reading, 'The Comedians'. Who would think of that, in a story about the Joker, except Moore?"

"...Dave Gibbons had a great perspective on the minute detail when he spoke at the Alan Moore panels. Something like 'You don't have to draw the 'transient crystalline icicles on his freezing breath' just because Alan writes that in a script'."

Gibbons himself pops in:

"I did indeed go through Alan's WATCHMEN scripts and highlight what was necessary to draw each panel. Yellow for shot, red for details, blue for lettering, as I recall. Which is not to say I 'ignored' the rest, I just didn't want to have to wade through it when I was actually drawing. I was usually working from a carbon copy, bashed out on one of Alan's ravaged typewriters, typed right up to the edge of the page, so I needed all the focus I could get..."

Chris Ware gets a regular gig in the NYT:

"In introducing the new feature the editors of the Times Magazine invoked the popular American Weekly Sunday supplement created for the Hearst papers in 1896, which featured full color comic strips such as R.F. Outcault's The Yellow Kid, a sensation in its day and a landmark in the development of sequential popular art in the U.S. Ironically in the 1890s and throughout the twentieth century the stately New York Times eschewed running the highly popular comic strips that were characteristic of its more sensationalist newspaper competitors (Outcault's Yellow Kid was the source for the phrase 'yellow journalism' after all). Now 100 years later the Times is easing up a bit on its comic strip ban and including a regularly reoccurring comic-though no one will confuse Chris Ware's Building Stories, which the Times characterizes as 'an architectural comic,' with Get Fuzzy or Funky Winkerbean."

In a surprising coincidence, however, both Funky Winkerbean and Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Boy On Earth featured guest art by John Byrne while the regular artist recovered from surgery.

Keith Giffen talks 52*:

"[The other writers involved are] the top talents in comics at the top of their game. And I'll tell you... there is nothing quite like sitting in a room with that kind of talent and that kind of creative force, just watching their free exchange of ideas, when everyone puts aside their egos and starts getting genuinely creative, without any thought given to 'will I be able to follow this through? Is this something that I will be doing?' It was just a genuine contributing of everyone into a common pot. I've never been in a circumstance like that before. I've never seen a group like that contribute so selflessly to any project. I am inordinately impressed with this group. I'm actually very confident in the project. I'm very confident in each one of the participants being able to pull this off."

Meanwhile, for those keeping up with the Infinite Crisis news, Marv Wolfman is getting involved, now.

An interesting rumor at Scream If You Want It:

"Frank Miller has three films in development, and Neal Adams may have one of New York City’s hottest studios, but neither of these cats can shake their comics jones. Strong rumor has it they are the new dynamic duo on a secret Batman mini-series/graphic novel that DC is about to announce. The way we heard it, it’s Adams’ pencils, Miller’s dialogue, and potential inkers are lining up at the door. Will this be a huge money-maker or what?"

Meanwhile, All The Rage reports on the next big Marvel project (allegedly):

"It seems that there will be a new five issue miniseries spinning out of Mark Millar and Greg Land’s current Ultimate Fantastic Four story arc. As readers of that title already know, it deals with Ultimate Reed Richards journeying to an alternate Earth overrun by zombie versions of Marvel’s superheroes. The way I hear it, the new miniseries is called Marvel Zombies and takes place entirely on Earth 615, Earth Z, the Zombie world… whatever they’re gonna call it. Someone will probably come up with a new name for that world. As for the creative team, the mini is being written by none other than Robert Kirkman, who’s had a lot of zombie experience on his creator owned title, The Walking Dead. Sean Phillips (Sleeper) is said to be the artist attached to this project. The early word is that the Marvel Zombies miniseries will be out in December. If so, I think we can expect an official announcement sometime soon..."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Alex Ross and Jim Kreuger's Justice was the #1 book of last month.

Yeah, I was surprised, as well. Supergirl launched within the top ten, too. It's a world gone mad.

DC announce their retailers affected by Katrina relief package. Three different categories, release from due payments, free books, co-op dollars and more.

John Byrne doesn't like Wikipedia:

"Does anyone know how to contact whatever Powers may Be at this online 'encyclopedia'? For a couple of days now, between other, more important concerns, I have been trying to delete from the entry about me all the nonsense that goes beyond encyclopdic reference and enters the realms of opinion, rumor and borderline libel, and the result is that the page has been 'locked' against my editing, on that grounds that my attempts to delete lies and troll-fodder constitute 'vandalism'. To add insult to injury, I have even been sent a little 'message' from someone calling herself{?) DragonflySixtyseven, telling me I should not be trying to delete 'actual fact'! 'Actual fact' is what I am trying to get the 'entry' to actually contain! I have made several attempts to find my way thru the labyrinthian coils of the administrative section of Wikipedia, but to no result. (And how about that ability they have to send the users 'messages' to which the users cannot directly respond? Makes AOL seem like a bastion of sanity and decorum!)"

The Byrne board declares war:

"My line of thinking is that Wikipedia seems to treat gossip, whether it is true or not, as fact. so why not manipulate that to JB's benefit? Why not create gossip that JB finds enjoyable or at least amusing? And by Wikipedia's criteria that is fact, and therefore relevant... Think of it as "good gossip". The gossip they seem to post is only negative to JB. Why not post flattering gossip as well, to at least illustrate how silly it is to post any of it?"

A Wikipedian appears, to try and explain what's going on:

"I was the Wikipedia administrator who temporarily locked the article to prevent anyone - not just you - from editing it. Removing 95% of the article, including such harmless items as pictures of your comic book covers, a bibliography, categories, and links to places like this forum, was vandalism. At no time did you tell anyone what you were doing by mentioning it on the article's talk page or in the edit summary and neither did you respond to the messages left for you on Wikipedia by a number of different editors. Look at it from our perspective: what were we supposed to think about what was happening? You and posters here may think little of our project, and that's fine. There are certainly a number of valid criticisms that can be leveled at us. While certain articles on popular entertainment may be cluttered with fan rumors and the like, I'd say most of the editors on Wikipedia are committed to making the encyclopedia as fair and accurate as possible.

"If you want, you can go to the top and talk to Mr. Wales (or Jimbo, as we affectionately call him) and deal with it that way. I believe Harlan Ellison did much the same thing, and I don't think anything really came of it. Or you and the posters here can tell us what specific problems the article has and we can work together to correct them so that everyone benefits."

And then... disaster strikes. Todd Hembrough notices first:

"So here is what is up now. I hope this is someones idea of a joke... 'A controversial writer/artist known for his use of the 'N-Word' and hatred for blonde latino women, Christopher Reeves (who Byrne believes should not be considered a 'hero' for the way he dealt with his crippling injuries substained in a horse riding accident) and anatomically correct robots, Byrne is imfamous for his hatred for anything not done by him. Many fans blame his widely beloved Superman reboot for starting this, as John Byrne took on a jihad in the wake of the reboot's success to 'fix' all comic books and comic franchises that didn't need fixing, leaving a trail of damaged characters, who thanks to Byrne's pointless meddling, have been rendered so utterly defiled so as to prevent any further writers from using them'"

(There's actually much more there, including "In the world of John Byrne, only he knows what good comic books and has his own message board (Byrne Robotics) where he holds court and has a gaggle of twelve drooling fanboys syncophanticly worshipping him and buying into Byrne's hatespeach. Those who call Byrne out on his evil often are banned and any sort of non-company line discussion is promptly deleted into the void." and wonderful descriptions of what Byrne has supposedly done to characters.)

"The whole article now reeks of conjecture and opinions and is just plain mean-spirited. Up till now, I could see where disavowing Wikipedia based on his entry to be a little over the top. Now, after seeing this vindictive attitude displayed by them, I no longer have any respect for that site at all."

"It is one 'editor' code named JesseBaker inserting the crap."

Wikipedia editor! Go!:

"The Jesse Baker problem is easily solved. His contributions are easily reverted. If he reverts the removal of this material more than three times in 24 hours he can be immediately hit with a temporary block by any administrator. If he keeps up general trollish behavior, I can block him permanently, though I must show that I attempted to reason with him for a reasonable amount of time before I do something like this. The system is not perfect, but in general Wikipedians believe that we can put up with a little fuss to preserve the open nature of the project. Personally, I'd prefer a little less talk and a little more troll smiting, but I have to work with the system we've got."

Byrne board! Discuss the workings of Wikipedia!:

"From personal experience if I had to correct something like 'known for his use of the "N-Word" and hatred for blonde latino women' Wiki would overrule my deletion of the sentence. I would have settle for something inane like 'Byrne has used the N-Word once as part of an analogy illustrating incorrect terminology. He has a distaste for the look of blonde dye jobs on Latinas.' And I would have to fight for that change for days on end. And then Wikipedia doesn't even care if that has nothing to do with why Byrne is a notable comic book creator. It shouldn't even be there but you Wiki admins don't care."

Over at The Engine, OEL creators discuss just what OEL is. Things get interesting when CB Cebulski appears:

"Now I've spoken with editors at all four major Japanese publishers, and at lots of the smaller ones too. They all agree on one thing; this 'OEL' boom they hear about coming from the States is a marketing ploy. They don't appreciate it either. So much so that (and I don't want to piss off other fellow comic creators here any more than I already have), the Japanese already have a term for it. What we call 'OEL', they're calling 'Nissei Comi', which can be translated to mean 'second generation' or 'fake' comics... Look, agree or diasgree, I'm just stating facts here. Offering up a side of the discussion most people don't get to hear. Yes, this will rock the boat a bit and I know that, but I'm just trying to give another perspective on the discussion. Manga is purely Japanese and that's just how it is... I'm not a manga-ka. I never will be. But I don't care. I'm happy."

OEL creators react:

"Hey, that's interesting, the Term 'nissei manga', meaning second generation. Which is a big euphemism, by the looks of things, of what they REALLY think. But I'm not surprised, since Japan is such an insular country - and one that draws very strong lines between what is considered purely 'Japanese' and what isn't. I have the feeling that no matter what anyone here draws or how good any of us become, they'll never look at it as the equal of 'manga'. Not that it bothers me!!!"

"IMHO, I find this little tidbit incredibly fascinating. People don't typically take offense or try to put down others unless they consider them as some sort of competition. If they feel threatened. It's politics to undermine the competition... Honestly, I find a lot of the Japanese manga market very stuffy, restricted, and heavily controlled. Foreigners (us) have something fresh to offer, and looking at how our work is slowly but surely ramping up to a higher quality, there's the potential of a real threat both at home and abroad."

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