"Star Wars" Minor Players Reflect on a Galaxy Not So Far Away in "Elstree 1976"
Richard Bruton draws our attention to Your Days Are Numbered, a London-based free quarterly “graphic fiction magazine” chock-full of interviews and illustrations, all presented in a smartly designed package. The current issue (the fourth), which you can browse below, includes interviews with the likes of Brandon Graham, Chris Ware and David Ziggy Greene (who also provided the cover art).
You can subscribe to Your Days Are Numbered on the magazine’s website.
Top Cow honcho Marc Silvestri gets what a lot of other publishing folks don’t:
The problem is that once the “genie of convenience” is out of the bottle, not all the lamp-rubbing in the world is gonna get him back in. I pay for all my music, but I’m fully aware that millions don’t, and I’m not going to fool myself into thinking that’s going to change. What it comes down to is that people spend a lot of energy fighting city hall when what really needs to be done is to simply make city hall work for you. The Internet is always going to be a numbers game about eyeballs and piracy versus the increased number of said eyeballs. This is especially true when it comes to entertainment.
So when Silvestri planned the relaunch of the classic 1990s comic Cyber Force, he decided to use Kickstarter to fund it—and then give it away for free, in both print and digital forms. “Even the guys filming our interviews for the Kickstarter campaign were taken by surprise when we got to the free part,” Silvestri told Geoff Boucher of the LA Times Hero Complex blog. Silvestri will write the five-issue miniseries, which will be illustrated by Koi Pham. The project isn’t up on Kickstarter yet, but the comics must be well under way, as Silvestri plans an October launch.
This will be interesting to watch, because the fundamental question will be whether people will be eager enough to be part of the creation of this comic to shell out money for something that will be given away for free. Will Silvestri appeal to their altruistic instincts, or will he offer premiums that non-pledgers can’t get? And will there be a collected edition that folks will be expected to pay for in the near future?That seems to be the way the industry is going, but as Silvestri seems to be determined to not just think outside the box but kick the box to the curb and flatten it, it’s hard to say which way this will go.
A while back, I recommended a stylish new webcomic called The Sisters Grimm, noting that creators Dave Pauwels and Nicolas R. Giacondino seemed to be starting off on solid ground. Indeed, the webcomic, now retitled Free Mars, has been proceeding at the stately pace of one page a week for the past year and a half, and Pawels and Giacondino have done a nice job of building up their vision of a rebel girl band in 2339 (although they use some odd slang—the meanings are usually self-evident, but a glossary would be helpful).
Yesterday, Ape Entertainment announced that they have become “ownership partners” in Free Mars and will be publishing the graphic novel edition in July. The graphic novel will also be available via iVerse’s Comics + iOS app, which raises the question of whether Free Mars will continue to be available as a free webcomic. I checked in with Pauwels, and he cleared that up, saying, “The free webcomic will definitely continue with weekly updates and that content will be the lion’s share of the print graphic novel. But for the loyal webcomic readers, we’ll have additional material in the print version, including a mini-prequel story and some other original material.” That’s a great idea, adding some value to the print comic, and it will be interesting to see if the audience they built up with the webcomic will flock to the print version as well.
Legal | The judge in the trial of former retailer Michael George banned note-taking in the courtroom on Friday out of concern that two women were sharing information with George’s wife Renee. George is on trial for the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara, and Renee George has been barred from hearing the testimony of other witnesses because she may be called to the stand herself. Also, on Friday a witness testified he had called George’s store at around 5:30 on the day of the murder to ask why an Amazing Spider-Man comic had jumped in value from $5 to $40. Michael Renaud said he spoke to George for about five minutes and that George seemed to be in a hurry to get off the phone; the testimony places him at the crime scene rather than at his mother’s house, where he claimed to be at the time of Barbara’s murder. [The Detroit Free Press]
Conventions | Nearly 5,000 people turned out over the weekend for the second annual Detroit Fanfare, held at the Cobb Center. That’s slightly more than the number who attended the first event at the Dearborn Hyatt Regency, but half what organizer Dennis Barger Jr. had hoped for this year. [The Detroit News]
Digital Manga has been aggressive about expanding its business in several different directions, but I didn’t see this one coming: This week, their eManga website is carrying a number of IDW titles, including Doctor Who, Locke & Key, and Silent Hill. Oh, and Astro Boy, of course—the movie adaptation, not Osamu Tezuka’s original.
IDW and Digital Manga couldn’t be more different, except for one thing: They were both early adopters of digital media. Both put their wares on the iPhone back in the days when every issue of a comic was a single app, and both have experimented with different formats and platforms. IDW isn’t the first outside publisher that Digital has invited over to the eManga site: They also host manga from two potential rivals, Yaoi Press and BLU.
eManga is a Flash-based site, so it won’t work on the iPad, although it should be OK with Android devices. I use it to read manga on my computer, and it works quite well, although the default image size is a bit too small for me (there’s a zoom button). It’s streaming, so you have to have an internet connection to read your comics; there is no way to download from the site.
Icarus is a comic by Ryan Cody and is serialized here on Robot 6, with new pages every Monday, Wednesday & Friday.
To wrap up our Halloween treats today, our own Sean T. Collins and artist Isaac Moylan share a comic called “I Remember When the Monsters Started Coming for the Cars.” Check out the complete story after the jump.
Web comics creator and manga editor Shaenon Garrity has penned a ten-point manifesto on comics at comiXology that is well worth a read. I’ll summarize her ten points here for brevity, but you should really go over and read Shaenon’s explanations, as she expands on every point:
1. Newspaper comics are dead: I don’t think this comes as a surprise to anyone. Most of their creators are dead as well.
2. Monthly comic books are dead: Shaenon chalks this up to the deficiencies in the direct market.
3. Format is infinitely mutable: It’s all comics, and people will read it in the format that suits them.
4. The audience is infinitely fragmented: When you take the wider view, lots of people are reading different types of comics, and they no longer fit the standard stereotypes. ” Open the discussion to webcomics, and the audience fragments all the way down to the tip of the long tail; on the Internet, everyone is famous for fifteen people.”
The retailer site ICv2 has some handy charts of the most valuable properties for the second quarter of 2010. These make for interesting reading as they include all channels — comics shops, bookstores, and online sales. Kick-Ass tops their list of the Top 15 Superhero Properties, while Scott Pilgrim and R. Crumb’s Book of Genesis are the two biggest “Fiction & Reality Titles” — strange bedfellows indeed, and of dubious “reality.” This list includes the older American Born Chinese and Fun Home, which shows that a good graphic novel can hold its value. They also post lists of the top manga, kids and tweens, genre, and comic strip properties. All make interesting reading and may raise some eyebrows — Dick Tracy makes the comic strips list, for instance, and who knew Papercutz was doing so well with those Geronimo Stilton graphic novels?
They also looked at the numbers for the first half of 2010 and came to an interesting conclusion: Periodical comics are doing better than graphic novels. In comics shops, sales of graphic novels showed a double-digit drop every month except February, and in bookstores (where the numbers are harder to calculate) they seem to be down as well. Twilight: The Graphic Novel is the best-seller, but ICv2 notes grimly that
The other bestselling movie-driven graphic novel in the first half of 2010, Marvel’s Kick-Ass Hardcover posted sales that were less than 10% of what Watchmen achieved during the same period in 2009.
Projected bright spots include The Walking Dead, Janet Evanovich’s Troublemaker (80,000 pre-ordered), and IDW’s two James Patterson graphic novels.
The Ape Entertainment folks announced this week that they will have special issues of Freakshow #1 available for purchase at their booth at SDCC, and creators David Server and Jackson Lanzing will be participating in panel on Thursday at 1 p.m. With art by Joe Suitor (Spider-Man: Fear Itself, GI Joe: Helix) and a postapocalyptic premise that is interesting if not entirely novel, it looks like it might have promise.
It certainly is a slow gestation, though. If their production blog is to be trusted, they were hyping the comic at SDCC in 2008 (planning a 2009 release) and 2009. The series is currently scheduled for “early 2011,” and there has been a pre-con flurry of activity at the Freakshow production blog and Facebook, so perhaps this will be the year…
Full press release after the cut.
Dark Horse’s dollar comics, debuting in August, are a wallet-friendly way to kill some time while you wait for the recession to end. The comics are first issues of established series (or story arcs within series), including Hellboy, Usagi Yojimbo, Umbrella Academy and The Goon.
The idea piqued my curiosity, so I fired off some questions to editor Dave Land about the new/old line. Here’s our mini-chat:
Brigid: Is this the first time you have tried something like this — low-priced introductory issues?
Dave: We’ve done low-priced first issues before, but we’ve never done a whole line of low-priced reprints before.
Brigid: How did you select the comics to be reprinted?
Dave: Mainly it was based on finding popular titles that played an important part in helping to define Dark Horse. There’s a good mix of different types of material covered by the 1 for 1 program — from creator owned titles like Sin City to licensed properties like Star Wars and even to classic reprint comics like Magnus, Robot Fighter.
The Heroic Age is here, every one! Hoorah! Siege is over, the great event Seven Years in the Making has reached its last chapter and we stand in May on the crossroads. Behind us, we can see a different Marvel Universe, full of doubt and fears. Heroes were in hiding, the Avengers were villains, it was madness, my friends. But now, ahead of us is this all new age (a Heroic one, you could say) and as prices average to $3.99 a comic, the iPad gives you access to digital content, movie studios and comic company walking hand and hand… a new age is indeed upon us.
So let’s think to the future without forgetting where we came from; from darkness, the True Believer will emerge unscathed and approach the future facing front, chin held high, excel-
Wait. The Women of Marvel alternate cover for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #640 features the Black Cat and MJ in a cute T-shirt? Mary Jane doesn’t love Spider-Man anymore. I thought we were through with this, Marvel? You can’t sweep the marriage under the rug and then use her to promote a man you untied her to!! No! This is an outrage! This is just rubbing our noses in the Mephisto deal and I won’t stand for it! Angry letters at the ready! Open weeping in the streets on standby! BAAAW-
*achem* My apologies. Excelsior.
The Dark Horse folks used their Facebook yesterday to explain why they are bringing Star Wars: Legacy to a close. Actually, “explain” is kind of a strong term, as they never say exactly why the series is ending, other than that for some reason they didn’t think they could keep producing it at their usual high standards, but it sounds like they just might have run out of stories to tell:
Unlike other publishers, Dark Horse has never been one for prolonging a series simply to do so. Our comics come from a place of creativity and artistic expression, and this applies to all of our titles, whether creator owned or licensed property.
One of our promises to ourselves, our fans, and George Lucas himself was that we would treat our line of Star Wars books with the highest level of respect. We hope that you’ll agree that we’ve achieved this goal, and trust you’ll take our word when we say that we’ll continue to strive for such high standards.
Their other Star Wars comics will continue, and they are launching a new series, Star Wars: Knight Errant, due out in the fall.
(Via the Sci-Fi Block, where Robert Ring adds some commentary.)
The winners of this year’s Doug Wright Awards for best Canadian comics and creators working in English were announced at the Toronto Comics Art Festival last weekend. The Best Book award went to George Sprott, by Seth; the Best Emerging Talent award to Michael Deforge; and the Pigskin Peters award to Hot Potatoe, by Marc Bell. (That last is for “experimental and non-narrative efforts of Canadian cartoonists,” in case you were wondering. Pigskin Peters was a character created by cartoonist Jimmy Frise.)
Now this is pretty clever … Halo & Sprocket creator Kerry Callen shares a comic configured like a crossword puzzle, which he created with his son Martin. Callen said it came to him in a dream — how cool is that? I’m impressed with how he used the same panels to tell different stories.
“Like Scrabble, the tough areas were where something had to work when two squares inconveniently touched, such as the ‘Love is the solution.’ touching ‘What about overpopulation?’ There’s a joke there, but it doesn’t jump out at you,” he wrote on his blog. “I’m thinking this has the potential to be a fun challenge for cartoonists, much in the same way a ’24 hour comic’ is!”