Here’s an announcement you don’t see very often — a price drop. Action Lab Entertainment, publishers of Princeless, NFL RushZone and the upcoming Molly Danger series, announced at C2E2 this weekend that they plan to drop prices on all their ongoing series later this year.
Starting with the titles in June’s Previews catalog, Action Lab’s ongoing, 32-page comics will drop from $3.99 to $2.99. The licensed NFL RushZone, which is 20 pages, will drop to $1.99 and come out twice monthly. This month sees the number of Action Lab’s ongoing titles almost double, as they launch several new mature readers comics under the Action Lab: Danger Zone imprint. These titles include Ehmm Theory, The Final Plague, Ghost Town and Night of the ’80s Undead.
Additionally, beginning with Jamal Igle’s Molly Danger in July, Action Lab will also offer “a number of 48 page oversized European style hardcovers at $19.99,” according to the press release.
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans show off their collections. Today’s shelves come from Bill on the outskirts of Chicago, who shows us his comics, trade paperbacks, statues, art prints and more, with special guest appearances from Jim Lee and Grant Morrison.
Want to contribute your own shelves? Find all the details here.
Take it away, Bill …
The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy — “This is your summer event,” the teaser promised — arrived this week, setting into motion a multi-generational superhero tale by Mark Millar and Frank Quitely. The duo set a high bar for themselves and superhero comics more than 10 years ago with their work on The Authority. And since then they’ve each built up quite a resume that includes Ultimates, Kick Ass, All-Star Superman, Wanted, Sandman, Batman & Robin, Civil War and many more. Now the pair re-teams for a creator-owned “superhero event.”
“It’s very, very much a superhero event. Marvel and DC have their various events this year, and I’m planning on blowing them both away with this,” Millar told Comic Book Resources’ Kiel Phegley. “I see this as the big creator-owned superhero event. Nobody’s tried anything like this before, but it’s a big thing covering a huge time period with tons of characters and tons of dramatic twists. Like I said, this is my love letter to America and everything I like about America. America has had its problems, but this is my way of reminding you what’s cool about America. It’s very timely. This story couldn’t have been done five years ago. It’s straight out of the headlines of today.”
So how does the first issue stack up? Here are a few opinions from around the web:
The New York Daily News casts a spotlight on Ray Felix, the small-press publisher who’s challenging the joint claim of DC Comics and Marvel to the “super hero” trademark, and comes away with some interesting details:
- The two publishers have prevented at least 35 people from using “super hero,” or some variation, since they were granted the mark in 1980 for toys and in 1981 for comic books. (You may remember that in 2004 GeekPunk changed the name of its series Super Hero Happy Hour to Hero Happy Hour following objections by DC and Marvel.)
- Although Felix admits he’s unlikely to win his case before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, a lawyer specializing in intellectual property tells the newspaper that Marvel and DC’s joint ownership “violates the basic tenet of trademark law.” “A trademark stands for a single source of origin, not two possible sources of origin,” Ron Coleman argues. “If the public understands that the word ‘superhero’ could come from A or B, then by definition that’s a word and not a trademark.”
- Even if the appeal board were to find in Felix’s favor, it would only mean he can retain his registration for his series A World Without Superheroes. Revocation of Marvel and DC’s trademark would require a costly civil lawsuit.
Felix’s dispute with the comics giants dates back to September 2010, when he received a cease-and-desist letter after registering a trademark for his series. Following more a year and a half of exchanges between Felix and the companies’ attorneys, DC Comics and Marvel Characters Inc. in March 2012 filed a formal opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
After four installments, Comic Book Resources’ monthly “B&B” feature, in which DC Comics Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase answered questions from readers and CBR’s Josie Campbell, is no more. Jerry Ordway’s work situation, and controversies generally, were apparently to blame. Of course, DC is free not to participate in such things, and CBR is likewise free to investigate such controversies on its own. Still, the whole thing only highlights the problems DC has had in connecting successfully with fans.
Now, it may be more accurate to say DC has had problems connecting successfully with fans who are vocal about their negative opinions of the company. For all I know, DC may be quite popular with whatever audience it has targeted. Regardless, despite its constant PR presence, today’s DC seems a lot more guarded than it has been; and I think that can only hurt it in the long run.
Ironically, part of the problem is the corporate-comics news cycle. Each week’s worth of DC books has a couple of promotional features, namely the “All Access” editorial and the new “Channel 52″ two-pager. Beyond that (and probably more frequently than once a week) the company issues press releases and facilitates interviews for various news sites. Furthermore, each month’s solicitations advertise what’s coming out at least two months in the future; and during convention season the company can manage its particular messages in person. That’s a lot of information for a company whose bread and butter come from a few dozen monthly 20-page story installments.
This awesome-looking comics-themed Macbook keyboard skin has been doing the rounds on design blogs, but I saw it on HiConsumption. For an atrocious, eyes-on-the-keyboard, six-fingers-in-a-claw, typist such as myself, it’d be a nightmare. But it does look fantastic. It’s from Killer Duck Decals, and is available from its Etsy store.
The accompanying blurb shows them to be very witty people, indeed: “Zorro instead of Zatanna because I didn’t want to deal with the top hat, sorry”; “Our skins are meant to make your stuff look cooler, not make them bomb proof. So don’t go flashing them around in the bad part of town and skipping them across lakes because they do not grant your electronics super-powers.”
There’s a few inspired choices on this thing (check out the “Y” key), and a couple I’ll admit I’m baffled by. (What are the icons on the “O” and “D” keys referring to? I presume I’ll kick myself when someone points them out.)
To see what James and the Robot 6 crew are reading, click below …
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly voyage into the home of a comic fan. Today’s collection comes from Steve Tabala, a digital illustrator who shows us his shelves of comics, trades, statues, art books and more. His “to read” pile looks like he’s building a fort, making my own pile look not quite as intimidating. It’s certainly a good way to spend more than a few Saturday afternoons.
If you’d like to see your shelves featured right here on Robot 6, check out the details here.
And now let’s hear from Steve …
Categories for this year’s awards include Best Artist, Best Writer, Best Cartoonist, Best Letterer, Best Colorist, Best Publication Design, Best Small Press, Best Anthology, and Best New Talent, as well as a new category, Best Webcomic. Nominees were chosen by a jury of industry professionals, and the awards also include a “Reader’s Choice” category.
The 2013 nominees are:
Cullen Bunn — The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun
Greg Rucka — Stumptown
Leia Weathington — The Legend of Bold Riley
Joshua Williamson — Sketch Monsters
Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir — Bad Medicine, Vol. 1: New Moon
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and whatever else we’ve been checking out lately. Today we are joined by guest Evan Young, an “influential pioneer” of digital literature and creator of the digital graphic novel The Carrier. He’s currently raising funds for his next project, The Last West, via Kickstarter, so head over there and check it out.
To see what Evan and the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.
Don’t ask why — because the answer is too boring and has nothing to do with Steven Spielberg — but the other day I was thinking about the original 13 American colonies, and from there the general course of American history across the 18th and 19th centuries. Naturally, from there I imagined how DC Comics would solicit the story of a young nation. It ended up being something like a team book: Meet the states that will form a great democracy — and discover the shocking secret which threatens to tear them apart–!
And then, as fate would have it, DC released its July solicitations, and my stab at patriotic humor was somewhat justified. So there you go.
In any event, on to “Trinity War” –!
WORLD WAR T
Say, remember when “World War III” was an actual part of DC history? I’m not talking about the Great Disaster, or something that happened in the hazy interregnum between the present and the Legion of Super-Heroes, or even the final Grant Morrison/Howard Porter JLA arc. No, as part of 52 (2006-07), “World War III” was the name given to a week-long global Black Adam rampage. I bring it up because it’s no longer in continuity, and we still don’t know (beyond another “Villain Month”) what’s coming in September for the New 52′s second anniversary.
Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.
With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? To find out what the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look into the homes of comic fans around the world. Today’s Shelf Porn comes from Louie, a man of few words, but a whole lot of shelves. “I love seeing how people store and display their collections so I thought I’d share mine,” he said in his email.
You can find out how to submit your collection to Shelf Porn right here. And now take a look at Louie’s collection …
If the DC Comics New 52 reboot hadn’t happened, Detective Comics would have reached its 900th issue this month. That wasn’t lost on DC, which celebrated the milestone this week with the release of an 80-page, $7.99 anniversary issue. The issue sports the New 52 debut of an old favorite, and a tribute to the number 900 in a story that ties into the larger ‘Emperor Penguin’ arc running through the comic. It also features back-up tales starring Bane, Man-Bat and the Gotham City Police Department, as well as a gallery of art by various artists.
So does this oversized issue do justice to its 900-issue legacy? Here are a few opinions from around the web …