Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Saturday is the deadline to get your order form for this month’s Previews catalog to your local comic book shop. With that date looming, Edison Rex co-creators Chris Roberson and Dennis Culver are hoping to make Edison Rex, Vol. 2: Heir Apparent one of the most-wanted trade paperbacks.
In fact, writer Roberson and artist Culver concocted an eye-catching wanted poster to drum up interest in the upcoming collection, which includes issues 7-12 of the Monkeybrain Comics digital series. The creative team was quite willing to discuss the latest news with me about the villain turned superhero.
Tim O’Shea: How did the two of you come up with the idea of the wanted marketing angle?
Chris Roberson: That was all Dennis.
Dennis Culver: That Diamond order code was begging to be a prisoner ID number!
I think some people assume that if you are opting for an initial digital platform on distribution that the trade paperbacks are less of a priority, when in fact TPBs are a major priority for you two. How important are they to the long-term success of Edison Rex?
Roberson: It’s really not a question of either/or in our minds, but both/all. Just like comics have traditionally generated revenue both as single issues and trades, our model brings in money from both digital serialization and print collections. Each is only part of the pie, and we need both in order for the book to be sustainable over the long haul. In large part, too, I think those are often serving different readerships. There is a type of reader who likes the immediacy and low price point of digital, but others really prefer to have the book up on the shelf, and the ease a print edition. We just want readers to be able to enjoy Edison Rex in any form they prefer!
Culver: Personally, I see digital and print as two different markets with two different sets of customers. There is some overlap obviously but not to a significant degree. Digital allows us to build an audience and word of mouth for the eventual print collections. Also, as a creator, I want to see a physical print edition of the work so anything I do is going to be geared towards that eventually.
In terms of the Edison Rex world-building and narrative that occurs in the second volume: Did you have certain goals or narrative milestones you set for yourself with this set of stories?
Roberson: Yes, of course! Our first volume was largely concerned with introducing Rex and his supporting cast, establishing the basic conflicts that would drive the series, and spelling out just what Rex’s “mission statement” would be. This second volume gave us a chance to pull back a bit and expand our scope, seeing more of Rex’s world, and how his actions in the first volume have been perceived by the enemies who were his former allies and the heroes who were once his enemies.
Culver: We have broad milestones lined out for the duration of our primary story and even a few beyond that!
Do both of you have favorite scenes from Vol. 2?
Roberson: I love them all, of course, but I’m particularly pleased with the way the first two pages of Issue 7 turned out, the beginning of our “origin issue” of Edison Rex. And I was absolutely floored when I saw the stellar work that Dennis, Steve Downer, and John J. Hill did on the brief “golden age comic” excerpt that wraps that same issue up.
Culver: I really like the set pieces in 8 a lot. I had a lot of fun with that one.
I love how you have continually added new characters to the series. Of the new characters introduced, who do you think has most resonated with the audience?
Roberson: People really seemed to like our “nth dimensional imp” character, ROFL. And why wouldn’t they?
Culver: There’s some chatter about The Eclipse too but really ROFL is the hands-down favorite.
Of the core Edison Rex cast, who do you two think has developed the most over the course of Vol. 2?
Roberson: I think the “modern day” Eclipse went from being a fairly notional character in her original appearance to being a much more fully rounded one by the end of this volume, at least in my head.
Culver: I think learned a lot about Cerebella over this arc, too.
Roberson: With Edison Rex, Dennis and I are making a superhero comic for the kind of readers who aren’t finding the sort of superhero comic that they love on the stands anymore. It’s everything we love about superheroes and comics packed into tight little adventure stories every month, and we want to keep making the book for a LONG time to come.
Culver: Our stories are hitting a sweet spot in the genre not being serviced by anyone else. If you’re looking for an alternative to current superhero comics, you should give our book a try!