Superheroes | Writer Jim Zubkavich tackles the burning question of why there are so few Canadian superheroes: “We don’t have a long standing superhero tradition in this country. We don’t have a long-standing focal point character people recognize (I like Captain Canuck, but the average person on the street does not know who he is). We’re not a country galvanized by heavy-duty patriotic pride that lends itself to a Superman, Captain America or even a Batman. We don’t have the kind of rampant crime that ‘needs’ a heroic symbol to fight back against.” [Zub Tales]
Digital comics | The first issue of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 100,000 copies in stores, but was that because he refused to allow it to be sold in digital format the same day? Steve Bennett is doubtful, because so many people (including himself) didn’t realize until the last minute it would be print-only for now. [ICv2]
Two to three years ago, it seemed inevitable: Single issue comic books, derisively called “floppies,” were on the way out. Graphic novels were the future for most publishers, and floppies weren’t even working as loss-leaders. But over the past year, the single issue is on the rebound and flourishing.
While I love graphic novels, the episodic consumption of comics is one of its unique strengths. Comics can excel in either form, but they aren’t interchangeable. Just as TV shows and movies present stories differently, so too do comic book series and original graphic novels. For a time, it seemed like The Walking Dead was the last great monthly comic book because it knew how to grab with the first issue, it knew how to use the monthly cliffhanger, it knew how to utilize those 30-some odd pages, it knew how to keep the status quo shifting. It still does, and now it’s being joined by more and more comics that are embracing the episodic nature of the format. It wasn’t always that way, though, in part due to creative patterns and economic changes in the industry.
In 2010, only an estimated 69 million comic books were ordered by North American specialty stores, the lowest quantity in nearly a decade. For publishers not backed by large entertainment corporations (i.e., not Marvel and DC), single issues were starting to look like the next horse and buggy, something from a soon-to-be bygone era.
Comics sales | Is Mark Millar on to something after all? The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 105,000 copies to direct market stores in April; the only other Image comic to reach those numbers in recent years is The Walking Dead. ICv2 runs the numbers and also posts the Top 300 comics and graphic novels for April. [ICv2]
Passings | Matt Groening’s mother has died at the age of 94. Although she always went by Margaret, Groening borrowed her name for Marge Simpson in his animated series The Simpsons. [Comic Riffs]
Retailing | Amanda Emmert has resigned after nine years as executive director of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization. [ComicsPRO]
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.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. This weekend, the focus turns on the creators — both established and newcomers — with the School of Visual Arts’ Illustration & Cartooning Department’s Fresh Meat exhibition in New York City and Stumptown Comics Fest is Portland, Oregon.
Meanwhile, our contributors select their picks for the best comics going on sale Wednesday, including Jupiter’s Legacy #1, Vader’s Little Princess and Morning Glories #26.
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.
Citing an increased workload at Millarworld and Millarworld Productions, organizers Sarah and Lucy Unwin have announced London’s Kapow! Comic Convention won’t return next year. However, there are hopes for “an even bigger and better show” in 2014.
“Sarah and I have had to make a very tough decision, and after much deliberation and poring over upcoming work schedules, we have decided to put Kapow! 2013 on hold,” Lucy Unwin said in a statement. “The event is a genuine pleasure to work on and everyone has been a total delight, but this year we are unable to dedicate the time necessary to deliver a weekend that once again exceeds the expectations of attendees, guests, exhibitors, publishers and studios.”
Mark Millar, who launched Kapow! in 2010 “to bring “San Diego Comic-Con to these shores,” added on his message board: “4 movies, 4 new comic series, overseeing the Marvel movies at Fox and starting our TV line mean 2013 just too mental for Kapow this year, I’m afraid. we absolutely hope to come back and wow everyone in 2014 tho.”
In addition to signing on in September as a consultant on Fox’s Marvel film properties, Millar has Kick-Ass 2 opening next year, and a handful of adaptations — Nemesis, Supercrooks and The Secret Service among them — moving into production. Add to that such Millarworld comics projects as Jupiter’s Legacy, Nemesis 2 and Kick-Ass 3, and the aforementioned television line, which begins Jan. 3 with the BBC One documentary Pavilion of Dreams.
“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.