Thirsty Comic-Con attendees and die-hard Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans take note: Beginning today, a Jones Soda truck will be driving around the San Diego Convention Center and the Gaslamp Quarter dispensing collector’s edition bottles sporting Season Eight art by Georges Jeanty and such themed flavors as “Dawn’s a Centaur Root Beer,” “Giles’s Grape Potion” and “Willow’s Green Apple Witch’s Brew.” There are six in all.
If you miss the truck, or aren’t in San Diego this week, don’t worry: You’ll apparently be able to order the Buffy line from the Jones Soda website beginning later today.
Business | Japanese e-book publisher Bitway has invested $750,000 in Crunchyroll, the San Francisco-based website that streams anime and live-action Asian movies. A major distributor of electronic books, including manga, in Japan, Bitway hopes to work with Crunchyroll to develop a comics-distribution platform overseas, with an emphasis on the United States and Canada.
Crunchyroll launched in 2006 as a for-profit site, and featured among its content illegally hosted user-uploaded fansubs and bootleg anime. But in 2009, following a $4 million investment from venture-capital firm Venrock, Crunchyroll began offering only licensed content. The website reportedly attracts 6 million unique visitors a month. [Anime News Network]
Forget trailers or Twitter accounts for fictional characters or MySpace pages. The next great trend in comics promotion just may be board games. Okay, maybe not. But you have to admit, this board game for Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro’s new graphic novel Foiled is pretty neat. (Michael May reviewed Foiled for Robot 6 earlier this week.)
On the First Second Books blog, Marketing Coordinator Gina Gagliano writes that the game has been described at the imprint’s offices as “Candy Land, but evil.” (For a truly evil children’s board game, see Uncle Wiggily. Terrifying.)
Gagliano notes that the game, which is based on the plot of Foiled, has been sent to booksellers “far and wide.” There’s even talk that Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn may organize a game-playing session as part of its Free Comic Book Day activities. However, you don’t have to wait: You can download a printable version of the game from the Macmillan website.
Digital Comics | Dark Horse announced via press release that both Umbrella Academy and Hellboy: Seed of Destruction are available through the iTunes Store, with subsequent issues available soon. Seed of Destruction is available as four issues at $0.99 each, or as a bundle of all four issues for $3.99. The first issue of Apocalypse Suite is available for free, with issues #2–#6 only $0.99 each, or a bundle of all six issues for $4.99.
Digital Comics | Disney Comics Worldwide shares more details on Disney’s DigiComics initiative. They’ll eventually be rolled out worldwide, starting in December in English-speaking countries and Italy. They’ll be available for the iPhone, iPod and Sony PSP, and eventually Disney hopes to expand to other platforms like Nokia phones and the Wii. The stories will initially come from “the huge archive that The Walt Disney Company Italy has built up in the last 50 years.”
Motion Comics | All five episodes of the Spider Woman, Agent of S.W.O.R.D. motion comic are now available for free viewing on Hulu. Because it is “intended for mature audiences,” you’ll have to register and verify your age.
Sports-apparel giant Adidas has produced three promotional comics illustrated Jae Lee, JG Jones and Ryan Benjamin that spotlight soccer stars Emmanuel Adebayor, Steven Gerrard and Ricardo Kaka, respectively.
The comics are available online for viewing or download on the company’s website, and will be released in print in Adidas markets worldwide. There are also plans to offer the titles for free through e-publishing sites and as an iPhone application.
The shirt itself doesn’t harm anything by existing. I don’t object to it any more than I’d object to seeing a T-shirt featuring Jenny Sparks, the Engineer, and Swift that says “I love to see women in Authority.” It’s a cute idea. I do have serious problems with it being alone in that article. Well, not alone. It’s on display with some heart pendants featuring Spider-man/Gwen Stacy and Spider-Man/Green Goblin (which I predict will be a surprisingly good seller) and lip gloss tubes featuring unrecognizable characters kissing. And that begs the question… Where are the female superheroes in this superhero merchandise aimed at female people?
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This morning DC Comics launched the website for its “After Watchmen, What Next?” initiative designed to lead new readers to other comics.
Although the initial announcement last month mentioned just six DC titles — Identity Crisis #1, Planetary #1, Preacher #1, Saga of the Swamp Thing #1 and Transmetropolitan #1 — the website spotlights some 50 graphic novels and collections divided into categories such as “Books That Redefine Modern Super Heroes,” “More Books By Alan Moore” and “Books That Push The Boundaries of Science Fiction.”
Titles include All-Star Superman, DC: The New Frontier, We3, DMZ, Astro City, The Sandman, Ex Machina, Fables, Batman: Year One, 100 Bullets and Y: The Last Man.
According to Publishers Weekly, the DC program initially will focus on a fewer number of books — about 20. In addition to the website, the initiative will include co-op advertising, email newsletters, online banner advertising, and new groups on Facebook and MySpace.
Editor’s Note: I started talking to Ken Marcus, whose Super Human Resources comic comes out from Ape Entertainment next month, some time ago about doing a quick Q&A for the blog. But after doing a quick Google search, I realized I was way behind the curve. So instead, he agreed to write up a guest column. Playing off of a post I did last year, he offered to share some of the things he’s learned about marketing his indy comic over the last few months.
And if you aren’t interested in this topic, we’ve got you covered as well — Marcus also sent over some preview pages from the first issue.
by Ken Marcus
Hey, peeps. My name is Ken Marcus. I’m the creator of the new mini-series Super Human Resources from Ape Entertainment. #1 is due in comic stores at the beginning of March.
Why am I talking to you? Um, besides shamelessly whoring my own book out? I’ve learned a few things about marketing my indy comic along the way, and I thought it would be helpful to share them with those thinking about publishing their own book. Particularly in light of the new Diamond sales thresholds.
Am I an expert? Hardly. Our sales numbers are not exactly lighting the world on fire. But they were pretty good for an indy from a first-time creator. In…I don’t know…the worst economic climate ever to launch a comic. I’m also an associate creative director at one of the top ad agencies in the country. So I know just enough about marketing to be dangerous. So I wanted to share what we learned. Starting with this little pick-me-up:
People do not care about you. Not readers, not retailers, not the press and maybe not even your publisher. No one gives two turds about your book except for you. (The publisher thing isn’t really true, but regardless, this NEEDS to be your working mindset.) So making other people give two turds about your idea rests solely on your shoulders. That’s another way to say “marketing.”
Even superheroes need a pick-me-up for those long nights fighting crime or doing other things, and here it is. The Organic Coffee Cartel is now selling a blend called Veidt Enterprise’s Nite Owl Dark Roast:
It’s a small moment in the film WATCHMEN – Dan and Laurie save a group from a tenement fire. Once inside the Owl Ship, the survivors are offered what else? Coffee. Among all that hardware, there’s an airplane-style coffee maker. And Veidt Enterprise’s Nite Owl Dark Roast is the imaginary brand of coffee they brew. What better name for the quintessential caffeinated beverage when served in the context of nocturnal crime-fighting? In truth, this is 100% organic specialty coffee from WATCHMEN unit photographer Clay Enos and his Organic Coffee Cartel.
Only 10,000 cans will be produced, and they’re giving away a chance to attend the premiere of the film in Los Angeles with each purchase. Enos, you may recall, did the Watchmen: Portrait book as well. Per the site, a majority of their profits go to charity.
Marketing for Zack Snyder’s $130-million adaptation of Watchmen apparently took a bizarre turn over Valentine’s Day Weekend as Warner Bros. turned to some creative measures.
According to WatchmenComicMovie.com, folks in Columbus, Ohio, were handed a matchbook-style package emblazoned with the familiar bloodstained smiley face. When the cover was opened, they found a neon-blue condom and the slogan, “We’re Society’s Only Protection.”
Soon I’m going to create a “Things That Make Alan Moore Scream” tag for the blog.
Watchmen opens on March 6.
(via Topless Robot)