Here’s Mark Millar explaining why he doesn’t want his creator-owned comics to be released in digital the same day as print:
Digital comics are like TV rights to me in that they’re the tertiary phase of all this. These are for the most casual, mainstream readers or viewers and much cheaper than the primary or secondary waves. They’re a great way of pulling people in for the next product coming out in theatres or in comic stores, but absolutely not the bedrock of your business. The fact they’re not on paper doesn’t matter as these guys aren’t collectors as such and the lower price point is very attractive to them.
That was in November 2011, when same-day release of digital comics was still something of a novelty. Now it is so commonplace that, as Rich Johnston noted, Twitter was full of confused readers last week who couldn’t figure out why the first issue of Millar and Frank Quitely’s new series Jupiter’s Legacy wasn’t available digitally.
You can’t fault Millar for not being able to see the future. It’s pretty counterintuitive to think that sales in the direct market would go up in tandem with the rise of digital media, but that’s exactly what has happened. There’s zero evidence that digital sales are hurting comics shops.
What really bugs me about Millar’s comment, though, is that he seems to be giving the back of his hand to readers who get their comics digitally. Someone should tell him there’s a large audience out there that’s fully engaged, to the point where they are willing to pay full cover price for digital comics in order to get them the day the print editions come out. Those fans seem to me to be precisely “the bedrock of the business.”
I won’t pay $3.99 for a single-issue digital comic, but there is apparently a substantial audience out there who will. Publishers and digital distributors aren’t in the business of losing money, and they wouldn’t maintain that full cover price if people weren’t paying it. Someone who will pay top dollar to get a comic right away, rather than wait a couple of months for the price to drop? That’s an engaged fan.
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:
Image Comics has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at Dave Johnson’s variant cover for the debut issue of Jupiter’s Legacy, the Wagnerian superhero saga from Mark Millar and Frank Quitely.
Announced in January 2012 as Jupiter’s Children, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. We’ve each picked the five comics we’re most anticipating in order to create a list of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.
As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
Crater XV HC (Top Shelf, $19.95): I’ve been following (and loving) the serialization of Kevin Cannon’s follow-up to Far Arden in the digital pages of Double Barrel, but I know that I’ll be picking up this hardcover collection of the further adventures of sea dog Rusty Shanks nonetheless. The Canadian space program deserves no less.
In The Days of the Mob HC (DC Comics, $39.99): To say that Kirby’s 1970s take on the organized-crime world of the 1930s is something I’ve been longing to read since I first discovered its existence would be an understatement, so I’m definitely looking forward to this deluxe reprint, complete with material that wasn’t in the original edition.
Indigo Prime: Anthropocalypse TP (Rebellion/2000AD, $24.99): John Smith’s cosmic authorities are one of comics’ most secret treasures, I think, especially when he’s paired with an artist like Edmund Bagwell, who brings a wonderful Euro-Kirby influence to the stories in this collection. Really looking forward to this one.
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen GN (First Second, $17.99): As a sucker for good autobiographical comics and also good food writing, the idea of Lucy Knisley creating a food-centric memoir — complete with recipes! — is far too good to ignore. I love that publishers like First Second are publishing work like this.
Solo Deluxe Edition HC (DC Comics, $49.99): Even though I own most of these issues from their original appearance, the oversized hardcover format is waaaay too tempting when you consider some of the material this book has up its 500+ page sleeve: Paul Pope covering Kirby! Brendan McCarthy channeling Ditko as only he could! The amazing Darwyn Cooke issue! The only thing that could make this better would be if it included work completed on follow-up issues before the plug had been pulled … But maybe that can appear in a second volume, one day…
The Hollywood Reporter teases the April debut of Jupiter’s Legacy with a first look at colored and lettered art from the Image Comics series from Mark Millar, Frank Quitely and Peter Doherty.
Announced in January as Jupiter’s Children, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar explained in November. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
On his message board, the writer indicted he’ll likely release more comics through Image, which published his unfinished 2008 miniseries War Heroes. “I like the Image guys,” he wrote. “I’m great friends with the Marvel guys too, of course, but seeing how this goes with Image. They’re doing great things over there and I have plans to do a lot more with them if this hits as big as I think it’s going to. Kick-Ass 3 is still going to be through Marvel’s Icon imprint, but I have high hopes for future stuff at Image.”
Check out some of the panels from Jupiter’s Legacy below, and visit The Hollywood Reporter to see more.
“We just preferred it when we were playing around with finished logos and decided to tweak the title while we still could,” Millar tells Comic Book Movie. “The front cover will now look as below, out in April from Image Comics and priced at a very lovely $2.99. Artist and co-creator Frank Quitely and I are very proud of this little superhero epic and look forward to taking all your money next year.”
Announced in January, the 12-issue miniseries centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar explained last month. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
As he’s done with some of his other creator-owned projects, Millar held a charity auction for the right to name one of the characters in the comic. The effort raised $3,550, which will go to the St. Bartholomew’s Primary School Pantomime Fund to help send students in Glasgow, Scotland, to Christmas shows.
I remember that a year or two ago, Chris Weston playing a little game with his Twitter followers: casting an imaginary Carry On X-Men film. If memory serves, I may even have contributed to it myself; I think I might have been the first to suggest Bernard Bresslaw as Colossus. And that was the end of that, we thought — until he updated his blog with this image.
Surely he’s not been working on this all that time? Weston is something of a movie poster nut, regularly uploading fine examples from his collection, and I’m also enough of an illustration nerd to realize he’s copping the style used by the great Renato Fratini on several U.K. Carry On movie posters.
Midway through the two-day charity auction to name one of the main characters in Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Children, the high bid is already $2,550 (the starting bid on Wednesday was $100). Proceeds again will go to the St. Bartholomew’s Primary School Pantomime Fund to help send students to Christmas shows.
Millar previously auctioned the rights to name characters in Kick-Ass (Dave Lizewski), Nemesis (Matt Anderson and Blake Morrow), Supercrooks (Chris Matts) and The Secret Service (James Arnold), with proceeds going to such projects in his native Scotland as a playground for children with special needs and a specially equipped mini-bus. Last year’s Secret Service auction also helped to raised funds to send children from his elementary school to the annual pantomimes.
“It’s something I’d like to do every year and expand into other schemes in the community with a few other ideas I have,” Millar told The Hollywood Reporter. “Some of the kids had never been to the city before and when I went back to my old school to hand out prizes last summer they all told me how much they enjoyed it.”
Announced in January, Jupiter’s Children centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island. The 12-issue series is expected to debut in April from Image Comics.
By way of comparison, last year’s winning bid to name the villain in The Secret Service was $5,100; the Nemesis auction in 2010 brought in $8,500. You can bid on eBay until Friday at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted a first look at Frank Quitely’s character designs for Jupiter’s Children, a planned trilogy that writer Mark Millar hopes will be as epic as The Lord of the Rings or Star Wars.
Announced in January, the ambitious story centers on the offspring of superheroes who have essentially squandered their inheritance, failing to live of to the example set by their parents, who gained their powers in the 1920s after discovering a mysterious island.
“We have the last remains of these old-school heroes and their mainly vacuous children living in L.A., a massive disappointment to the first generation of super-people and just lost, no real direction in their lives beyond advertising gigs and opening night-clubs,” Millar tells the trade paper. “This is literally where we find everyone and then we go into the future, taking these guys on a journey like we’ve never seen in comics before.”
The writer offers character descriptions to accompany a gallery of Quitely’s designs, but he won’t reveal any of their names or powers. So we get a look at figures like “the lady in red,” “the eagle-crested super-heroine,” “the cool guy,” and “the duo,” whom readers will recognize from Quitely’s cover for the first issue, debuted in January on Comic Book Resources.
Check out Quitely’s designs below, and visit The Hollywood Reporter to read Millar’s comments about each of the characters. Originally planned for a September 2012 debut, Jupiter’s Children is now targeted for spring 2013.
Comics | Scottish publisher DC Thomson has asked Dundee City Council to rename a street in the city’s west end to honor the Bash Street Kids, stars of the long-running comic strip in The Beano. An unnamed street adjacent to 142/144 West Marketgait would be called Bash Street as part of the celebration of the magazine’s 75th anniversary. [LocalGov]
Retailing | North Hollywood will get a new comics shop on Nov. 10, when Blastoff Comics opens its doors. Owner Jud Meyers seems to think it is an essential part of a hip neighborhood: “They want restaurants, they want bars, they want supermarkets, they want gyms. What didn’t they have? They don’t have a comic book store, every neighborhood has got to have a comic book store.” The opening will feature an assortment of comics guests, including Mark Waid, Greg Hurwitz, and Jim Kreuger, whose The High Cost of Happily Ever After will premiere at the event. [Patch.com]
If you didn’t have the massive ticket price for MorrisonCon last weekend, perhaps this is more your speed: the fifth annual Dundee Comics Day at the University of Dundee, Scotland. Much of the day’s event sounds like a redux of the program for Morrison’s high-end Sin City shindig, sans the pop magick angle:
The Dundee Comics day once again welcomes a stellar line-up of top industry talent, this time to celebrate the comics of award-winning Scottish writer Grant Morrison (MBE). Grant will be discussing his approach to writing comics, his thoughts about superheroes, as expressed in his recent book Supergods: Our World in the Age of the Superhero, and his experience of working with some of the best comics artists in the industry.
This exploration of the comics of Grant Morrison is timely given his recent award of an MBE, but also because the University of Dundee is currently leading the way in the emerging field of Comics Studies with modules on comics at Undergraduate and postgraduate level, including the UK’s first MLitt in Comics Studies in the School of Humanities, launched in September 2011. DJCAD has also launched very successful modules on creating comics. The University of Dundee is therefore delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate the huge success of one of Scotland’s most influential and successful authors. The Comics Day talks are designed to appeal to everyone with an interest in comics, and will be accompanied by an exhibition of comic art work.
A raft of Morrison’s past collaborators will be joining him in Dundee, including Cameron Stewart (Seaguy, The Guardian), Frazer Irving (Klarion The Witch Boy, Batman), Frank Quitely (Flex Mentallo, New X-Men, WE3, All Star Superman, Batman & Robin, Multiversity), Rian Hughes (Dare) and Jill Thompson (The Invisibles). Two days prior, the college’s cinema is hosting a showing of Talking to Gods, the seldom-screened documentary on Morrison’s life and career.
MorrisonCon organizers have released the programming schedule for the Sept. 28-30 event, which brings together a limited number of attendees and such creators as Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, Robert Kirkman, Gerard Way, Jim Lee and J.H. Williams III for an “intimate gathering” in Las Vegas.
Highlights include a spoken-word performance by Morrison and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way and James Dewees, a discussion of Morrison’s upcoming project (including Happy! with Darick Robertson, Multiversity, and Pax Americana with Quitely), separate panels with the event’s featured writers and artists, and spotlights on Kirkman, Williams, Jason Aaron and Jonathan Hickman.
Attendance is limited to 1,000. Ticket packages, which range in price from $699 to $1,099 (and include admission and a room at the Hard Rock Hotel), are still available at the MorrisonCon website. See the full schedule below.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted the variant cover created by Invincible artist Ryan Ottley for the landmark 100th issue of The Walking Dead, the acclaimed horror series by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn. The variant joins those newly revealed from Todd McFarlane, Frank Quitely and Marc Silvestri, as well as the wraparound by Adlard.
“When Robert asked me to draw a cover for The Walking Dead, he said the magic words: ‘draw whatever you want.’ So I was totally excited to do something ‘action-y’ with Michonne and her sword,” Ottley said. “She’s always been my favorite character in the book, and soon to be in the TV show as well. And it’s always fun drawing zombie gore, especially with swords!”
Comic Book Resources will reveal Bryan Hitch’s variant cover Tuesday morning. Another by Sean Phillips will likely debut elsewhere. The Walking Dead #100 arrives July 11.
Kirkman and Ottley’s Invincible should reach its 100th issue in January. Check out the covers by Ottley, Quitely and Silvestri below (sorry, TV Guide ran McFarlane’s postage-stamp size).
Since the dawn of the medium, comic books largely have been the creation of writers and artists working hand-in-hand to produce the characters, stories, titles and universes you follow each week. Recently, however, lawsuits by comic creators against publishers — and sometimes other creators — have raised the question of where, when and how a comic is truly created. Are they the product of the writer, with the artist simply tasked to illustrate the story based on instructions laid out in a script or outline? Or is it a communal effort, with writer and artist both providing unique contributions to the creation of the character and setting, each serving as a storyteller in the planning, coordination and draftsmanship of the actual comic pages? In recent years, comics have become a writer-centric medium, for better or worse, but artists continue to play a crucial, if sometimes overlooked, role in the design of characters and transformation of the writer’s scripts into, you know, comics.
In an interview with ICv2.com, Howard Chaykin relayed a story about how an unnamed writer views an artist’s contribution as “absolutely nothing to do with the creative process in comics.” “I am of the belief that the artist does 50 percent of the ‘writing’ in comic books,” said Chaykin, who’s worked as a writer and artist for decades. “I think the guy is plum crazy. It staggered me in its limited understanding of what comic books are about.”
Sometimes I think I dreamed that DC Comics announced that they would finally collect Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s Flex Mentallo miniseries into a deluxe edition, but no, I didn’t dream it — it actually was announced earlier this year. And if you need more proof that it isn’t some sort of hoax, dream or Elseworlds scenario, today Vertigo revealed Frank Quitely’s cover for the Flex Mentallo Man of Muscle Mystery Deluxe Edition, which is due out in February.
Check out the entire cover after the jump.