Axel-In-Charge: Facing the 'Divided' Marvel NOW! Future
Comic strips | The end of Edge City has generated a conversation about newspaper comics in general. As co-creator Ray LaBan says, creating a comic strip was his childhood fantasy, and he got to do it, “But I got to do it when everybody stopped paying attention.” This article takes a broad view, looking at the fact that newspapers’ budgets for comics, like everything else, are shrinking, online portals are providing alternatives, and readers’ strong preferences for legacy strips like Beetle Bailey and Blondie, as well as safe topics, are limiting the opportunities for new strips. Universal UClick launches one new strip a year, according to president John Glynn. On the other hand, creator Brad Guigar is taking his comic Evil Inc. out of the Inquirer because he can do better with a more mature version, published online and supported through Patreon. With interviews with the syndicates, a newspaper features editor, and creators, this piece is a well rounded look at the current state of syndicated comics. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Back in 2008, Brad Guigar, Scott Kurtz, Dave Kellett and Kris Straub co-authored How to Make Webcomics. There weren’t too many other books on the topic then (and it looks from Amazon like there haven’t been many since), and with the backing of some of the biggest names in webcomics, How to Make Webcomics became the standard reference.
The world moves quickly, though, and the past five years have brought us the iPad, comics on tablets in general, social media, same-day releases for almost all major comics, Kickstarte, and the demise of DC’s Zuda and of Joey Manley’s Webcomics Nation group of webcomics sites. It’s a different world, and it’s time for a different book.
Now Guigar, flying solo, is producing that book, and he’s doing it via Kickstarter. The Webcomics Handbook is a sequel to How to Make Webcomics, and it’s based in part on Guigar’s subscription-only website Webcomics.com. I asked Guigar to explain what he is doing with this book, why he is doing it on Kickstarter, and how the webcomics scene has changed from his insider point of view.
The digital comics juggernaut comiXology is having quite a week: Mark Waid put his Insufferable, which is also hosted on his own Thrillbent site, onto the service, and the company signed a deal with Andrews McMeel for digital versions of Doonesbury, Dilbert and Big Nate. And today comiXology debuted something that was initially announced in October: ComiXology Submit, which allows creators to submit their own creator-owned comics to the platform. Here’s the deal, fresh from the press release:
Awards | Big Questions by Anders Nilsen has won the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize for 2012, the second such award given by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. The organization also named four honorees: Freeway by Mark Kalesniko, Habibi by Craig Thompson, Life with Mr. Dangerous by Paul Hornschemeier and Zahra’s Paradise by Amir and Khalil. The awards will be presented during a ceremony at Penn State later this year. [Pennsylvania Center for the Book]
Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Dirk Wood to vice president of marketing. Wood joined IDW in 2010 as director of retail marketing. [IDW Publishing]
Conventions | Misha Davenport previews this weekend’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo. [Chicago Sun-Times]
Brad Guigar has a pretty good perspective on the world of webcomics: He is the creator of the daily webcomic Evil Inc., one of the co-authors (with Dave Kellett, Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub) of the seminal book How to Make Webcomics, and the editor-in-chief of the website Webcomics.com. He was nominated for an Eisner Award for his earlier comic Phables, which has now come to an end, and he draws Courting Disaster, a weekly panel that accompanies a dating advice column. Guigar is a busy guy.
In January 2010, Guigar put Webcomics.com behind a paywall, a move that initially caused a lot of controversy. Two years later, I thought it would be interesting to talk to him about how that move worked, and about the state of webcomics in general in an increasingly diverse comics scene.
Robot 6: I want to start with a general question: Are webcomics still an important sector of the comics world? And how do you think their role and significance have changed in the past two years?
Brad Guigar: I think webcomics are the most important, most vital comics being produced today. I think the term “webcomics” has come to represent not just comics posted on the web, but rather, independent comics as a whole. The recent cresting of digital downloading is going to be one more tool — like social media was a few years ago — that webcomics will incorporate to help make independent comics thrive.
Comics have covered a variety of subjects, but in a unique new webcomic strip by Brad Guigar and Chris Giarrusso, comics themselves are the subject. Launched earlier this week, Tales From The Con aims to give a humorous look at the ins and outs of comic conventions and the unique vagaries of these fan-driven events. Another interesting facet of the webcomic is that it’s originating from the website of a convention itself — Emerald City Comicon.
“Anyone who has exhibited at a comic convention has a great story about the experience — some funny, some frustrating, some bizarre — and that makes for great comics,” said Brad Guigar in a press release. “Combined, Chris and I probably have 20 years of conventions under our belts. Not only is this a terrific chance to share some of that, but it’s a unique way to connect it to one of the premiere comic conventions in America, the Emerald City Comicon.”
According to Guigar, convention director Jim Demonakos approached him about this project without knowing Guigar had briefly mentioned this sort of thing in an earlier interview with GammaSquad as an ideal compliment to a publisher’s website.
ECCC and the creators plan to post a new installment of Tales From The Con every Thursday on the convention’s website. I expect con crud jokes early and often.
Legal | The Los Angeles Times reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Toby G. Scammell with insider trading. Scammell has been accused of using confidential information “surreptitiously gleaned” from his girlfriend to make $192,000 off of Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Scammell’s girlfriend was an intern working in the corporate strategy department at Disney. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Heidi MacDonald rounds up questions creators have raised about the Womanthology project, which raised $109,000 on Kickstarter, specifically about how the extra money will be used and whether the creators who are involved will be paid. Organizer Renae De Liz has posted additional details on the Womanthology site. [The Beat]
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con gets into full swing today in Rosemont, Illinois. Comics guests include Brian Azzarello, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato Jr., Gary Friedrich, Patrick Gleason, Mike Grell, Dave Johnson, Ariel Olivetti, Eduardo Risso, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ethan Van Sciver. The Chicago Sun-Times briefly spotlights attending artists Ivan Brunetti and Don Kramer, while the Daily Herald interviews Brunetti and Nate Powell. [Wizard World]