Ait/Planet Lar Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Dark Horse to publish ‘New York Four’ and ‘Demo’ collections

new york fourDark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.

Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.

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Comics A.M. | Archie, Graphicly partner to sell comics via Facebook

Archie Comics

Digital | Archie Comics will begin selling its comics through its Facebook page, which connects readers with Graphicly. With almost 120,000 fans, the page does seem like fertile ground. “It’s really a major move toward connecting the potential reader to the product,” said Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “We make it easy and hopefully create a new, lasting part of our fan base.” [The Huffington Post]

Retailing | Matthew Price takes the temperature in the room at ComicsPRO and says that retailers want stability — they credit the consistent shipping schedule for the New 52 for part of that line’s success — and creativity. The overall mood seemed to be optimism, with Diamond Comic Distributors reporting that comics sales were up slightly in 2011. []

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SDCC ’11 | Photos from the floor

Ah, Comic-Con … there’s nothing like fighting through the crowds, and there’s nothing like finding a quiet corner somewhere to post all the pictures you’ve taken …

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello is all over the show today, promoting the shiny new book he’s writing at Dark Horse called Orchid. He said at a panel today that Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance is a friend of his and is the one who introduced him to his new “Dark Horse family.”

After taking this picture, I was almost run over by WWE’s Triple H. Only at Comic-Con can you bounce between a Nightwatchmen and The Game …

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Robot 6 Q&A | Larry Young on the return of First Comics

Warp #1

Yesterday we learned by way of the San Diego Comic-Con Thursday panel schedule that First Comics, a hallmark of 1980s independent comic book publishing, is returning. According to the write-up for the panel:

First Comics: The First of the Great Independents Is Back with a Fury!— Legendary ’80s independent publishing powerhouse First Comics is returning when the world needs it most, not unlike the promised return of King Arthur. And the assembled Round Table of extraordinary comics creators are here to tell you how they will once again be rocking your world with comics entertainment from the cutting edge. Panelists include Ken F. Levin (Wanted, The Boys, First Comics co-founder and director), Joe Staton and Nick Cuti (E-Man), Bill Willingham (Fables), Max Allan Collins (Road to Perdition), Brian Mullens (founder of DaQRi; QR director), Alex Wald (art director then and again), Susannah Carson (A Truth Universally Acknowledged; First Comics YA editor), and Daniel Merlin Goodbrey (The Tarquin Engine, The Last Sane Cowboy). Moderated by Larry Young (The Black Diamond; First Comics director of production). Room 23ABC

As noted in the description, several on the panel were involved with First Comics back in the 1980s; others, like Willingham and Collins, were involved in making prominent independent comics at the time (Collins created Ms. Tree, published by Eclipse and other companies, while Willingham created Elementals, published by Comico). And there are new faces, like Goodbrey and Young. Goodbrey stated on his blog that his webcomic Necessary Monsters would be involved. And Young, publisher of AiT/Planet Lar, will serve as director of production for the returning company.

I caught up with Young, who answered a few questions about First’s return.

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SDCC ’10 | AiT’s Elvis Van Helsing pits slackers vs. vampires

Elvis Van Helsing

Elvis Van Helsing

Elvis Yang’s life couldn’t be lamer. He’s in his sixth year of college, doesn’t have a girlfriend, lives in his parents’ basement, he’s flat broke and worst of all, his best friend Randy just kicked his ass in Wii Bowling. But everything for Elvis is about to change, including his last name.

Debuting at Comic-Con International next week is Elvis Van Helsing, written by Steve Kriozere and Mark A. Altman, with art by Jason Baroody and Zach Matheny. You can check out a trailer here. The book will hit comic shops later this fall.

Kriozere and Altman have previously worked together on a comic called The Unknowns and the television show Castle. Between them they’ve also worked on several other TV shows and movies, including Sliders, V.I.P., NCIS, DOA: Dead or Alive, The Specials and the William Shatner comedy Free Enterprise. Both were kind enough to share some more details on the book with me.

In addition, you can meet them next week at the AiT/PlanetLar booth (#2001) in San Diego to sign the book at the following times:

  • Thursday 1-2 p.m.
  • Friday 1-2 p.m.
  • Saturday 11 a.m.-noon
  • Sunday 1-2 p.m.

My thanks for their time, and to Larry Young for setting it up.

JK: When I first heard the title Elvis Van Helsing, the image that immediately sprang to mind was one of Elvis Presley fighting vampires. Can you talk a little bit about your “Elvis,” who he is and how he ends up fighting creatures of the night?

Steve: Our Elvis is a clueless slacker who’s decided to stay in college well past his graduation expiration date. He’s not dumb, he’s actually very, very smart, he just hasn’t found his true calling in life and finds things easier if he just stays in college to avoid taking on any sort of responsibility. So when Elvis finally does find out his true calling and secret family lineage — that he’s the sole surviving heir to the Van Helsing monster hunting family and, like it or not, must battle creatures of the night — it’s a bit much for him.

Mark: What he said…

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SDCC ’09 | Fantagraphics, Arcana and more

All and Sundry by Paul Hornschemeier

All and Sundry by Paul Hornschemeier

We’ll likely have a few more updates on what folks are up to at the con later today …

Publishers | Fantagraphics has posted the signing schedule for their booth, which includes appearances by Johnny Ryan, the Hernandez Bros., Lewis Trondheim, Jordan Crane, Paul Hornschemeier and many more. They’ve also listed a dozen new books they’ll be debuting at the show, so go check it out and update your “to buy” list.

Creators | Larry Marder will have a Beanworld preview at the con, and gives you the goods on how to get a secret sketch.

Manga | Deb Aoki offers a list of 20 things manga fans can do at the con.

Books + Movies + Social | The L.A. Times takes a look at CSI creator Anthony E. Zuiker’s Level 26, which will be showcased on Saturday at the con.

Advice | Scott McCloud’s daughter wife Ivy offers advice to novice Comic-Con attendees.

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SDCC ’09 | Wi-fi, booth info, after hours events and much more

The San Diego Comic-Con is almost upon us … watch for a few more updates later today.


Wi-fi | I think I swore after last year’s con that I’d go see that Eagle Eye movie because they sponsored free wi-fi access at the con last year … pretty decent wi-fi, from what I remember. Never saw the movie, though; I think it’s been showing on HBO, so I’ll go set the TiVo once I’m done here. This year’s access is sponsored by iGoogle, which I won’t have a problem supporting; Google is where I keep all my internet stuff.

Booths | The con folks have posted an “Around the Booths” document that details what various exhibitors have going on on the floor of the show.

Creators | Man of Action Studios, the creative collective of Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau, and Steven T. Seagle – creators of the Ben-10 franchise and the upcoming Generator Rex for Cartoon Network, as well as countless comic books, will return to booth 2007 at CCI. MOA will be stocked with all of the Ben 10 DVDS as well as a full selection of this year’s new Man Of Action Comics (published through Image). Series artists Marco Cinello (Soul Kiss), Max Fiumara (Four Eyes), as well as Rouleau (The Great Unknown) will be signing – check the booth for schedules. Kelly and Seagle appear Thursday at 4:30 on the panel: Workshop – Creating Creator Owned Comics The Image Comics Way (Room 7A/B). Casey will appear on the Marvel Comics : Dark Reign panel Saturday at 11:30 (Room 6A). Each Man of Action will be announcing a new series at the con and the company is actively seeking artists for a variety of new projects, so bring portfolios by for review.

Creators | Brian Wood posted his schedule for the con; as previously mentioned, he’s sharing a booth with Becky Cloonan, Jill Thompson, Cliff Chiang, Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá. He’ll also have patches, postcards, rarities and other stuff for sale.

Creators | Several creators have posted their booth, signing and/or panel schedules: Jamie S. Rich and Joëlle Jones, Rob Guillory and John Layman, Peter and Bobby Timony, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Dustin Nguyen, Francis Manapul, Cameron Stewart, Greg Rucka, Steve Lieber, Marc Bernardin Larry Marder and Paul Dini.

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Brian Wood announces ‘Channel Zero,’ ‘Jennie One’ rights reversion

Writer Brian Wood announced today via press release that the rights to a couple of his early works, Channel Zero and Channel Zero: Jennie One, have reverted back to him from AiT/Planet Lar:

Channel Zero

Channel Zero

Brian Wood announces the immediate and full reversion of publishing and all other rights for the critically-acclaimed Channel Zero and Channel Zero: Jennie One graphic novels.

First published in 1998 by Image Comics and later in 2000 by AIT/Planet Lar, Channel Zero is writer/artist Brian Wood’s first published comic, born out of a senior thesis project for Parsons School of Design. Critically acclaimed and hugely influential, the book went on to enjoy six editions in its collected form. Wired Magazine called it “surprising and fresh.” Famed comics creator Warren Ellis called it “one of the most uplifting comics of the 1990’s”.

Jennie One, the prequel graphic novel from 2003, was illustrated by Becky Cloonan, and pre-dates Demo as their first collaborative project.

“In so many ways, Channel Zero is my baby, and I’m thrilled to hold the rights again, “Wood said. “It’s the foundation that everything else I’ve written was built on. Look for more announcements soon as the two books get a new life in 2009.”

Brian Wood is currently writing DMZ, Northlanders, and Demo for DC/Vertigo. He can be found at and

Wood and Cloonan’s rights to Demo reverted back to them in 2007, and the book was re-released by Vertigo last year. A second Demo series is due from Vertigo later this year.

Don’t send me 12 pages of a 6 issue series

Well, what you’ve sent is fine, but a publisher can’t determine what they’re getting from this sort of package. Surely you know how hard it is to break in to comics, and, yet, how easy it is at the same time. Do the work, put it out, and people may not like your work; they may not buy it, but at least they know you can do it. Which is important.

I never go through the whole steps of the process for folks who send me stuff blind, but I feel a bit badly we had some crossed signals over the holidays, so I’m going to outline how REDACTED might be the next WATCHMEN but I would never know it based on your email and 12 page pdf.

Firstly, in your cover letter, you say you think the story might be best served by a six issue miniseries. If each issue is a color cover with B&W interiors and, say, a 24 page count and, optimistically, a 3000 copy print run (based on the current climate and the fact that you are unknowns), you’re looking at a publisher committing $30,000 to your printing bill alone. Six full-page PREVIEWS ads will top $7000, and throw in another three grand to round it off for production costs and shipping charges and whatnot, and that’s an outlay of forty grand. Just ballpark, but close enough. If the cover price is $2.95 a unit, and you sell to Diamond at 60% off, you get $1.18 a unit. That means you have to sell an average of around 5600 copies an issue just to break even on expenses before the creators start making money. That’s just unrealistic in this economic environment, where Marvel, Dark Horse, DC, and Image account for 92% of the sales of comics and every single other publisher in the back of PREVIEWS carves up that 8%. It’s just not going to happen.


What do you do now? You can keep soliciting the thoughts of other publishers; you can have a few beers and curse my name. You can believe me or not; me… I didn’t believe all the rejection slips I got from people telling me ASTRONAUTS IN TROUBLE: LIVE FROM THE MOON wouldn’t sell and that there was no audience for that sort of thing, and we’ve got Year’s Best Science Fiction and Best Publisher and real-world press up the wazoo for it. Does that mean those other folks were wrong? Well, no. They were right for how they saw it at the time. But I had a completed work, ready to go, and I thought I could entertain folks and market it to those under-served, and everyone who told me no made me more resolved that I was right.

And, you know, it turned out I was and there were some folks wanting to read science fiction graphic novels and some creators wanting to do whatever they wanted and I was only too happy to point out to those paying attention the quality work. And I ended up not being Kurt Vonnegut like I intended but Stan Lee or Roger Corman. And, you know; I’m fine with that.

But the way I see it, you’re going to have to do the same thing. If you have a story to tell, and a burning desire to have an audience see your work, you’re either going to have to be related to Paul Levitz, or you’re going to have to do it yourself until they offer you a chance to write KAMANDI based on the strength of your indie-darling reputation.

But either way, keep at it. If you love comics as much as I do, you’ll always find a way to make your own.

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