Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Manga | Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto comes to an end in next week’s issue of Shonen Jump, but it’s not going away. Already side projects are popping up, including a miniseries that will launch in the spring, marking the 15th anniversary of the manga, and a series of novels about the different characters in the franchise. It all seems to be part of something bigger, the “Naruto Shin Jidai Kaimaku Project” (Naruto‘s New Era Opening Project), and the official Naruto website has a countdown to an announcement on Monday. [Anime News Network]
Digital comics | Tom Spurgeon talks to comiXology’s Chip Mosher about the comiXology Submit program, which is tailored for small publishers and self-published work. To prepare for the interview, Spurgeon gathered questions from creators at the Small Press Expo (which comiXology co-sponsored), and he talks to Mosher about the nuts and bolts of the Submit program, including payments, processing and the willingness to handle unusual formats. “We’ve had people sell thousands of copies and we’ve had people sell one or two copies,” Mosher says. “People have told me they’ve paid their rent with money from Submit. Or they were able to work on more comics with the money they made from Submit. It’s great to offer our customers such diverse comics from the program and at the same time be able to support the creation of more diverse work.” [The Comics Reporter]
It’s become an annual tradition during our birthday bash: No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of people we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we have in past years, we have asked various comics folks what they liked in 2012 and what they are excited about for 2013.
Check out Part One, and keep reading to see more of what people shared with us, including details on their upcoming projects. Our thanks to everyone who responded this year. Also, thanks again to Tim O’Shea, Michael May and Chris Arrant, who helped collect responses.
SAM HUMPHRIES (The Ultimates, Sacrifice, Uncanny X-Force)
What was your favorite comic of 2012?
Two bits of news about comiXology crossed the radar this morning. The first is that the company is launching a push this weekend at Baltimore Comic-Con to get creators to fill its creator database with photos and information (the creators page on the comiXology website is now bare). Because the digital distributor features the work of more than 6,000 writers and artists, this is quite a task, so comiXology is asking creators to line up in alphabetical order — the company will focus on those whose names start with the letter “A” the first week and keep going for 26 weeks.
Anyone who’s interested should contact comiXology via Twitter to get the green light and instructions for the next step. It’s an interesting shift in focus, as comiXology has always been all about the comics — you can search for works by a given creator, but there isn’t much info beyond that. The displays all focus on individual comics titles and story arcs. There has been a lot of conversation lately about creators’ rights and giving credit, and as creators move from one publisher to another — or to creator-owned works — it makes sense to give readers a way to connect with them as well as all their works.
And, because sometimes the way you get the news is the news, I’ll note that the press release on this came from Ivan Salazar, whose signature indicates he’s now “PR & Events Coordinator” for comiXology. Salazar and Chip Mosher, comiXology’s vice president of marketing, PR and business development, were colleagues at BOOM! Studios until Mosher left for comiXology and Salazar moved on to become PR and marketing manager at Studio 407. ComiXology seems to be on a hiring spree, so perhaps more initiatives are in the offing.
ComiXology announced today that Chip Mosher, former marketing director for BOOM! Studios, has joined the digital comics provider as vice president of marketing, public relations and business development. Mosher left BOOM! at the end of September.
“We’re doubly excited to add a tremendous asset like Chip to our team, while also expanding our physical presence to the West Coast,” said David Steinberger, CEO and co-founder of comiXology, in a press release. “Chip has one of the most imaginative and aggressive marketing and PR minds in the business, and his diverse background in comics brings a unique perspective to comiXology. And while comiXology’s presence is already felt worldwide, having a physical presence in the entertainment capital of the world has become a must for us!”
Check out the press release after the jump, and watch for an interview with Chip on Comic Book Resources later today. Update: Read it here!
Legal | Prosecutors in Macomb County, Michigan, rested their case Friday in the second trial of Michael George, a former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in the back room of their Clinton Township comic store. The judge this morning will hear a defense motion for a directed verdict, seeking dismissal due to lack of evidence, before testimony resumes.
George, now 51, was arrested in August 2007, after a detective reopened the cold case, and convicted seven months later of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, among other counts, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge later set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct — George’s mug shot was shown to the jury — and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. His retrial began Sept. 14, and should conclude this week. Prosecutors contend that George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George insists he was asleep at the time of the shooting, and that his wife was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. [Daily Tribune]
Publishing | Chip Mosher, marketing and sales director for BOOM! Studios, left the publisher on Friday after four years. Marketing coordinator Emily McGuiness will take over his duties. [BOOM! Studios]
Iowa may have their straw poll, but BOOM! Studios is going nationwide with an opportunity to let comics readers make their own choices—by buying comics from BOOM! in their Decision 2012 promotion. It’s a neat little stunt—they have 10 bio-comics about different candidates available for pre-order, and whoever gets the most orders wins the straw poll! The fact that voters will be enriching the coffers of BOOM! Studios is, of course, a small price to pay for democracy.
Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I found the press release raised more questions than it answered, so I fired off some questions to BOOM! marketing director Chip Mosher. Here’s what I found out:
Robot 6: Where did these comics come from? Are they Boom originals or were they published elsewhere? Who are the creators?
Chip: BOOM!’s a pretty collaborative environment. With this, the blame is on me. I’m a big political junkie and have been since I was a kid. I don’t know, I guess it’s a sickness. But anyway, I was reading an article one night and saw all the candidates lined up shoulder-to-shoulder and the idea just popped into my head. I brought the idea to the team, they looked at me like I was joking, then I said, “no, seriously!” And we were off to the races! So yes, these are totally new and original comics! Right now all that we are showing off are the awesome covers Jeffrey Spokes, but we’ll show more stuff down the road.
Robot 6: Did you have a Tim Pawlenty comic that you had to quickly kill?
Brigid posted BOOM!’s promotional Xtranormal video earlier today, for Stan Lee’s The Traveler. The book arrives in comic shops today, and just like last month when Stan Lee’s Soldier Zero hit shops, BOOM!’s marketing team of Chip Mosher and Ivan Salazar are visiting Southern California comic shops to see how the book is doing.
Traveler writer Mark Waid was supposed to join them, but apparently that didn’t work out (nice house, though, Mark … it looks very familiar):
At The Sci-Fi Block, Robert Ring talked to BOOM! Studios Marketing Director Chip Mosher about the company’s decision to put its backlist online. This seems to have expanded the publisher’s market rather than cannibalize print sales, and Mosher explains why:
Before we went whole-hog, spread-eagle on making the whole BOOM! Studios back list available, we parsed the data and found out that 40% of the consumers of our digital comics are foreign. They are overseas, outside the country. So, that was really interesting. And that has stayed true. In the other surveys we’ve done we’ve found that about 20% of the people had never bought a comic book before, and then the rest were people who just hadn’t been to a comic shop in the last ten years.
He goes on to say that it’s a false analogy to compare the digitization of comics to the music business, because comics are consumed differently: For the existing fan base, going to the comic store and getting the print comic is part of the experience. Digital comics are a way to reach the millions of people who never set foot in a comics store.
Well before SDCC and last week’s BOOM!/Stan Lee press conference, Paul Cornell. When we did this email interview, details had not been released about Soldier Zero, Cornell’s collaboration with Stan Lee and BOOM! Studios. (For details about Soldier Zero along those lines, please be sure to read CBR’s Shaun Manning’s interview with Cornell from last week). For this interview, I instead focused upon Cornell’s clear respect for Lee’s work and general storytelling approach, as well as the opportunity to work with BOOM. As witty and sharp as Cornell is, it made for an enjoyable interview, despite his busy workload. I appreciate Cornell’s time, as well as BOOM! Studios’ Chip Mosher willingness to arrange the interview. I’m hoping that in addition to creating a great tale for us to read, Cornell garners the Stan Lee nickname he so clearly craves.
Tim O’Shea: Back in 2009, at your blog, you lamented that you entered the industry after Stan’s heyday of giving collaborators nicknames. Now that you’re working with Stan, have you scored a nickname from him yet?
Paul Cornell: I think I’ll try and pluck up the courage to ask him for one. That’d be like being knighted.
O’Shea: In a DowntheTubes 2008 interview, in terms of your own comics writing, you said “…what I try and do is what all the best superhero books do. I try and write modern Greek and Roman myths that actually reflect things that are going on right now. Much as every body of mythology talks about what is happening right now, in terms of when it was created. … And everything that Stan Lee ever did was literally just about looking out of his window. His Marvel comic body of work, which is all about New York, is just extraordinary.”
Are you looking out the proverbial window to write this Stan Lee project? If you are, can you share some of the view?
Cornell: This particular window is looking into the real lives of wheelchair users, and trying to create a superhero that reflects their experiences in the modern world. It’s Stan doing what he always did best, with us acting as Rick Rubin to his Johnny Cash: demonstrating that what Stan does isn’t about pastiche and nostalgia, but is classic and timeless, and can be immediate in today’s world.
A few weeks ago we learned that BOOM! Studios, publisher of everything from Mark Waid’s Irredeemable series and Farscape to Disney/Pixar comics like The Incredibles and Cars, was branching out into the alt.comix arena. Their new imprint, BOOM! Town, will publish and market “literary comics,” selective reissues of out-of-print works and merchandise.
Their first few projects include:
The line is being overseen by BOOM! publisher/co-founder Ross Richie and their marketing director Chip Mosher. I interview Mosher via email over the last week about the new imprint, what their plans are for it and the online reactions to one project in particular. My thanks to Chip for his time.