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Robot Roulette | Jim McCann

It’s time once again to spin the wheel and see what questions fate has in store for one lucky comic creator–which means it’s time for Robot Roulette.

Out of 36 possible questions, I’ve chosen six at random for this week’s guest, writer Jim McCann. McCann, who once was in charge of publicity at Marvel Comics, is the writer of Mind the Gap, Return of the Dapper Men, Hawkeye & Mockingbird and the recently announced Lost Vegas from Image Comics.

My thanks to Jim for answering my questions.

13. Where did you grow up? Tell us something about where you grew up that we may not know.

I grew up in Nashville, TN. I used to run my own theater company there!

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The Fifth Color | My public apology to digital comics

Marvel Infinite Comics

Everyone thank @richginter for the snazzy logo!

Dear Digital Comics,

I’m sorry. I’m sorry I considered you gimmicky and fake. I’m sorry I thought that you were unwieldy on my computer screen and that your pictures were badly scanned. I’m sorry I spurned your free codes, and I looked down my nose at your formatting and strange reading interactions. Most of all, I’m sorry that, deep down in a small corner of my heart, I thought you were going to take away my job. I’ve been working at my local comic shop for more than 10 years, so that’s a long time to get set in your ways and feel that any new idea might threaten your way of life.

For a long time, I’ve really felt there was an either-or issue between print comics and digital comics. I tend to be a very partisan kind of person (Go Marvel!), so it’s not a surprise that I weighed the merits of both, made my choice and then dug in my heels. Digital comics, I felt, required so much of me technologically (a computer, a good monitor, access to the internet in some cases, etc.) that I didn’t think about all the requirements that print comics ask of readers as well (a healthy income, access to a good comic book shop, some research into what exactly was on the shelves, etc.). The way that comics are read on a screen was just going to be inherently different than the way they’re read in print and that, in a direct transfer, we were just going to lose something in the translation. Besides, there have been years and years to make the returns on print comics better than a digital file; personally, I grew up tracing the heroes in my comics to learn how to draw. You can trade them, give them away, share them with friends and some days, just put them all in a big pile and roll around like a chinchilla (not recommended). I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the big advantage that print comics have over digital: selling them. It would seem in the great debate that paper just covers digital comics for the win.

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With this ring, I say thee ‘Yay!’

Michelle and Arune

Most people’s engagement pictures probably consist of a loving couple holding hands in the park or maybe sharing a kiss on a bridge. Kind of like this.

But for the guy who popped the question with the help of a comic created by artist Francis Manapul, you might expect something a little different, which is what Arune Singh, director of marketing communications for Marvel, delivered. The photographer for the couple in question, Kyo Morishima, has posted a few of Singh with his fiance, Michelle, as they skip the park and head to a comic shop; instead of a bridge, they gaze lovingly under a Superman emblem on the steps at Midtown Comics. The photographer also apparently caught the couple’s first argument (above) … advantage: Michelle.

Once again, best of luck to the happy couple.

Comics A.M. | Why Marvel spoils stories in the media, Green Lantern lateness

Ultimate Spider-Man #160

Publishing | Arune Singh, Marvel’s director of communications, addresses how Marvel works with media outlets to break major storyline news and in many cases spoil the story, like Ultimate Spider-Man dying. Their goal is to hopefully bring lapsed or non-fans into stores: “When we line up this kind of mainstream media coverage, it’s offering the promise of breaking this big news to the outlet. It’s with the knowledge that they’ll be the ones making the headlines, being referenced by other sites and getting the attention. But if we wait till the story breaks or the Wednesday books go on-sale, someone else is going to buy the issue early in the morning and break the news. Is it possible that mainstream outlets will still pick up on the news then? Yes, it’s possible. But the only way to guarantee that big, sweeping placement worldwide — as you’ve seen with the Death of Spider-Man — is to break it before anyone has a chance. And that kind of placement is, as I mentioned above, what will get us attention from outside the industry.” [ComicsAlliance]

Retailing | Toronto retailer Chris Butcher worries about how well the two late Green Lantern movie prequel comics — one shipping this week, one shipping in August — will sell so long after the film’s release. He also discusses the lateness of the final issue of the War of the Green Lanterns crossover, which won’t come out until after the epilogue story in this week’s Green Lantern Emerald Warriors #11. [Comics212]

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Francis Manapul helps Marvel PR maven Arune Singh propose

Comics really can bring people together. Take, for instance, the above art by Francis Manapul, who created it as a favor for a friend who was proposing to his girlfriend. That friend is none other than Arune Singh, Marvel’s director of communications.

“It’s really a sweet story,” Manapul explains on his DeviantArt blog, “as [Arune] put a picture book together of them and this was revealed on the last page of the book as he got down on one knee to propose. ”

At Singh’s direction, Manapul depicted him as Superboy and Arune’s fiancée Michelle as Wonder Girl. Although it might seem odd for a Marvel staffer to ask a DC-exclusive artist for help on popping the big question, at the end of the day there are many friendships across the stretches of the Big Two. And this isn’t the first time a comics fan — or comics professional — has used the powerful language of comic to pop the big question: Cartoonist Dave Roman famously did an elaborate comic strip to spring the surprise question to his now-wife Raina Telgemeier, and I recall Rob Liefeld doing the same in the mid-’90s as a back-up to one of his comics.

… and before you ask, she said yes. Congratulations, Arune — and congrats, Michelle!

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