INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Although Image Comics has staked out territory as both the premier publisher for creator-owned work and a proving ground for fledgling writers and artists, it was another 1990s company that served as an entry point for many of today’s top talent: Caliber Comics.
Launched in 1989 by retailer Gary Reed, Caliber Comics was a harbinger of the coming wave of creator-owned titles. Launching with two flagship books — Deadworld and The Realm — Reed quickly expanded the line with his in-house anthology book Caliber Presents and a entire sub-line of illustrated books similar to Classics Illustrated. But perhaps its enduring contribution was as a doorway into the comics industry for writers and artists who are today marquee names
The list of A-list creators whose comics debuts were made possibly by Caliber is mind-boggling: Brian Michael Bendis, Stuart Immonen, Michael Lark, James O’Barr, Brandon Peterson, Dean Haspiel, Georges Jeanty and Jason Lutes all made their comics debuts here. In addition, Caliber also was where many budding creators made their first recognizable work; it was at there that Mike Allred created Madman, and Guy Davis blossomed with Baker Street.
Publishing | Dynamite Entertainment CEO Nick Barrucci talks frankly about the state of the marketplace, digital comics, and his company’s plans. He also acknowledges some missteps: “Green Hornet was a license we paid a lot of attention to last year, probably too much attention. Going back to what we were talking about earlier, putting out too much product, we put out too much Green Hornet product. Part of it is that we wanted to get trade paperback collections out in time for the movie, and we did that, we succeeded. We built up our market share and we generated more revenue for us and the retailers. I’m going off on a tangent here, so I apologize, but we took that money and reinvested into projects like Vampirella, like Warlord of Mars, like the upcoming Kirby: Genesis. But we overdid it, and that we realize, which is why you don’t see us doing four Vampirella titles and four Warlord of Mars titles.” [ICv2.com]
Creators | For its annual Comics Issue, the Village Voice takes a fascinating, lengthy and very depressing look at the often-grim financial reality faced by cartoonists — an environment to which, it turns out, the Village Voice contributed. “I’m not sure how much you’ll be allowed to write about this,” says Dan Perkins (Tom Tomorrow), “but of course the Village Voice Media chain is one of the major culprits in this —their decision to ‘suspend’ cartoons [in 15 papers in 2009] dealt a serious blow to the struggling subgenre of alt-weekly cartoons.” It’s noted parenthetically that Tom Tomorrow will return to the paper “within a few months,” and that “many of the artists in this issue aren’t getting paid, but have contributed work for the exposure.” [Village Voice]
Although the Buffy the Vampire Slayer television series went out with a bang in 2003, Ms. Summers and the Scooby gang had a very busy 2010. Not only did we get the big reveal of who the villain Twilight really was — a character whose comic series will return to Dark Horse next year — but we’ve also made it to the end of “season eight” with a huge story with huge consequences. And we found out that the crew will be back sometime next year for season nine.
But before that one begins, you gotta have an ending. On Jan. 19, Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40 drives a stake through the ambitious season eight, where “betrayal comes in the shape of the closest, most unexpected individual of all.” Jan. 19 is the birthday of Buffy Summers, and Dark Horse has six events planned around the country to celebrate it.
And right here for our birthday, we’re very pleased to present an exclusive preview of Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40, courtesy of the kind folks at Dark Horse Comics. Check out the preview, solicitation info and details on the Buffy birthdays after the jump.
Yesterday, DC announced that frequent Grant Morrison collaborator Cameron Stewart has been replaced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight artist Georges Jeanty on the Western-themed fourth issue of Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne. Post-solicitation creative-team changes are a dime a dozen at DC, but this is certainly one of the more high-profile examples of that kind of switcheroo I can think of. Amid all the say-it-ain’t-sos, Stewart took to his blog to offer a fairly circumspect summary of the situation:
Unfortunately, several weeks back I was forced to make the difficult decision to leave the book. It was a decision that I struggled with, but sadly conditions were such that I felt that my work would be drastically compromised and subpar should I stay on board, and so I felt that it was best that I walked away. I’d like to extend big thanks to my editors for trying to do whatever they could to make it possible for me to stay, but in the end it just wasn’t happening.
Stewart added that the only thing he’d drawn for the issue was the cover and a sketch or two, so the final product will be all Jeanty. He also promised a big announcement at the San Diego Comic-Con regarding a popular property he and Karl Kerschl will be working on. So while fans of his Bat-work (like me!!!) are no doubt disappointed, there are at least a few more Cam jams coming down the pike.