Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Top Cow reveals Cyber Force retailer incentives

Cyber Force

Publishing | Top Cow Productions has announced details of its retailer program for the relaunch of Cyber Force, which is using Kickstarter to raise enough money to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print: Retailers will be charged 25 cents per copy for the first five issues, but will receive incentive variant covers — with suggested prices of $10 and $20 — to offset the cost of the comics. The Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $50,000 of its $75,000 goal with 17 days remaining. [ICv2]

Publishing | Former DC Comics editor Janelle Asselin, who now works for Disney, talks about her experiences at the editor’s desk and offers one reason there are so few female superhero comics creators: Women aren’t lining up for the job. “In my time at DC, exactly one woman reached out to me via email, and I hired her,” she said. “I didn’t hire her BECAUSE she was a woman, I hired her because she was good, of course. But in that same amount of time, probably at least two or three men a week contacted me looking for work, some of them intensely pushy and many of them decidedly not good. I think more female creators should put themselves out there. The numbers are growing, we all can see that, especially in indie comics and comics published by traditional publishers, but if there are women who want to work on super hero books, they need to speak up.” [Women Write About Comics]


Publishing | Valiant Entertainment Publisher Fred Pierce talks about the company’s success so far — more than 45,000 copies sold of X-O Manowar #1, 20,000 downloads of the talking variant cover — as well as the company’s philosophy on variant covers, digital comics and moving on to other media: “But yes, we’re dealing with Sony on a Bloodshot movie and these things, but the truth of the matter is the publishing division has to stand on its own and it’s the publishing division that draws heat to the rest of the company. In two or three years when we have a movie it’ll go the other way also, but right now we have to establish ourselves as a publishing company that’s exceptional.” [ICv2]

Publishing | There’s a new Peanuts book on the way, Charlie Brown! Brian Truitt talks to two of the folks behind It’s Tokyo, Charlie Brown!, writer and artist Vicki Scott and Paige Braddock, creative director for Charles Schulz Creative Associates as well as an artist for the book. Braddock inked the pages using a nib given to her by Schulz, who died in 2000. “In the beginning, I was very nervous to ink the characters, but giving me a box of his nibs, I think, was his way of offering quiet encouragement. Plus, some tips about how to draw Snoopy’s paws,” she said. [USA Today]

Comics | Rich Shivener hit the small press area at Comic-Con International and came up with a list of 10 small press comics that are worth a look. [Topless Robot]

PUnk Rock Jesus #1

Creators | Sean Murphy talks about his new Vertigo series Punk Rock Jesus: “You think about what would they do if they cloned Jesus? The answer quickly came to me: ‘Oh, they’d turn it into a reality show. They’d make it more interesting for better ratings and basically this thing would turn into a giant Super Bowl every day and would just grab the world’s attention.’ It wrote itself, in a sense.” [USA Today]

Creators | With the third volume of his Dungeon Quest complete, Joe Daly discusses creating a fantastical world on the foundation of a more normal one, making the characters sound real, and why part of the graphic novel is done in something that resembles hieroglyphs. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Writer Josh Tierney walks us through the second volume of Spera with a “directors commentary” accompanied by some fully drawn pages to show off the art. [Forbidden Planet blog]

Digital comics | David Golbitz tries out comics on the Google Nexus tablet and comes away impressed. [Don’t Hate the Geek]

History | Paul Gravett rounds up some recent history-of-comics books that look like pretty good reading, along with a bit of commentary on the nature of writing history. [Paul Gravett]



Those variants won’t go for even close to $10 or $20.

Sorry to say, but Cyber Force isn’t the draw Free Comic Book Day is. If Top Cow wants to give their book away, they’ve got some nerve charging the retailers anything at all.

They have to make something

No. They don’t. That’s the whole point of the Kickstarter. Plus, Top Cow is the one choosing to give the book away for free, not retailers. But retailers are expected to lose money because Top Cow “has to make something”

And like I said, those variants aren’t going to bring in close to their suggested prices.

It’s not the retailers responsibility to take the hit for Top Cow’s promotion.

Top Cow’s not making squat. If you actually read the kickstarter page, the kickstarter funds are going towards the art team. Any leftover funds are going to offset the cost to the retailers to possibly bring it down below 25 cents. Top Cow is picking up the rest of the production costs.

Most stores will be picking up 50 issues at a cost to them of about $12.50, and possibly around $10 if the ks funding is more. You get 2 variants, which in my area (Los Angeles) sell as long as the cover art is better, (and believe it or not, people still like Silvestri art enough to pay a premium, so even if you sell them for $5, you’ll get most of your money back.

Stuff one in every bag, people will read them. Mission accomplished. If the story’s good enough, people will pick up issue 6 for cover price and retailers will make money then.

I think it’s more that if they don’t charge *something* than stores would take advantage of the program and just take all the copies they could, whether they could find homes for them or not. Making the stores pay even a nominal fee causes them to reevaluate how they want to promote the release in the store, and how many copies of the series they think they’ll be able to sell at full price starting with issue #6 after all of their customers have been able to sample #1-5. Plus, I bet most, if not all, of that 25 cents goes to Diamond to pay for the distribution of the books to the shops.

All 5 issues are also going to be digitally distributed for FREE through comixology.

Good. Let people get them through Comixology then and stop asking retailers to pay for your promotions.

Ziggy: you do realize that this is good promotion for the comic shop too, right? First, there’s the “Hey, my shop gives me free stuff! They are awesome!” benefit, then there’s the “Wow, I got 100+ pages of this series for free and it was pretty cool. I do believe I’ll start paying $2.99 a month to keep reading it!” benefit. The only real issue is just how many comics they have to front cost for at 25 cents a piece before they see any return on their investment, which I assume the variant covers are an opportunity to lessen that impact somewhat.

And you realize that unlike Free Comic Book Day, Cyber Force isn’t bringing anyone into the store.

You want to give your first arc away in hopes that it means bigger sales issue 6 and up? great! I love that idea. I still don’t see where that makes it the store’s responsibility to pay for it. It’s TOP COW’s promotion, they should foot the bill.

And lets not forget that as pointed out in the story this links to, with diamond’s shipping costs, this will actually cost the retailer upwards of 40 cents per book. So getting 50 copies WON’T cost $12.50, it’ll cost $20.

so the 50 copy package, priced at $12.50, but will end up costing closer to $20, gets you 2 variants with the suggested retail of $10 each, which will more likely sell at $6 each (if they sell at all). So for spending $20 you get to make $12.


Wow. You really are looking for something to complain about aren’t you? First, whoever said it was supposed to be FCBD? They just want to give it out for as little as possible, and ABSOLUTELY free for anybody who wants it online, retailers are not forced to participate.

If they reach their goal, it also won’t cost retailers 40 cents, no matter how many tantrums you want to throw.

And the most important part? I have 10 comic stores in my area that I frequent, and having asked them about this, NONE of them complain about it. In fact they wish more companies would do this. Oh and btw, variants do VERY well, according to these same retailers.

Top Cow is trying something that the big two are not anywhere near considering. Top Cow has also stated that they will publish this for the fans for free regardless of whether they meet the goal or not. Way to go, twisting the facts to match your own ridiculous whining, especially when the people you are supposedly arguing for (retailers) disagree with you completely.

First, Top Cow used the words Free Comic Book Day when they said they’re going to use the FCBD format and charge retailers. Go back and read the interviews. So yeah, I’d say that opens them up to the comparisons of what the positives of FCBD actually are (i.e. bringing bodies in the store).

If they EXCEED their goal, not meet it, do they say they’ll lower the cost for retailers. how much does it need to exceed by for that to be a possibility. Also, since when is having an opposing view a tantrum?

I’m very happy for you that you have 10 flourishing stores in your area. Not every location in the country has that luxury. Though I will say I think it’s too bad not one of those stores is good enough to garner the loyalty that you need to frequent all 10. Unless you’re saying you went out of your way to survey the stores in your area about the promotion, which I must say would be far weirder than someone simply arguing a negative viewpoint on the internet.

Variants do well in some markets, not all markets.

And the only person I’m arguing for is myself. I don’t think it’s right to have a free comic promotion and ask other people to foot the bill. Any retailer who disagrees welcome to participate. But I think saying retailers disagree with me is inaccurate as the linked article references another article of a retailer making the exact same complaint.

You do realize that every single thing you’ve ever gotten for free at your shop, that shop had to pay for, right? Comic Shop News? Not free to the retailer! The various Marvel freebies with previews of upcoming books or reading chronologies? Not free to the retailer! Does every shop in the country get CSN or these Marvel freebies? Of course not, because the business sense works out for some shops and doesn’t work out for others, and every shop is free to make that choice. Getting this worked up on behalf of retailers for something that works pretty much exactly the same as every other free comic book promotion they encounter seems unnecessary.

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