Mike Dawson Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Comics sales | ICv2 unpacks February’s miserable direct market sales numbers a bit, noting that for the second month in a row just one comic — in this case, Batman #28 — sold more than 100,000 copies, indicating weakness at the top of the list. Since September 2011, when the most recent “growth spurt” began, at least two comics have sold more than 100,000 copies each month; however, that streak ended with the first two months of 2014. One cause of the poor sales may be the unusually cold winter, which meant higher heating bills and thus less disposable income for some folks. ICv2 also has a separate analysis of dollar sales and the charts of the top 300 comics and graphic novels of the month. [ICv2]
It’s become an annual tradition here during our birthday bash: No matter how much stuff we line up, people we interview, etc., there are still tons of folks we like to hear from and include in our giant New Year’s/anniversary/birthday activities. So, as we’ve done in past years, we asked a cross-section of comics folks what they liked in 2012 and what they’re excited about for 2013. We received so many this year that we’ve broken it down into two posts; watch for another one Tuesday.
But for now, check out all the great stuff people shared with us, including hints at new projects and even some outright announcements. Our thanks to everyone this year who responded. Also, thanks to Tim O’Shea, Michael May and Chris Arrant, who helped collect responses.
JIMMIE ROBINSON (Bomb Queen, Five Weapons)
What was your favorite comic of 2012?
Image’s Saga, Fatale, Hawkeye‘s reinvention is fresh and exciting, Peter Panzerfaust, Enormous by Tim Daniel. It’s hard to pin down just one because there is SO much good work coming out nowadays — from many publishers across the board.
After this post went live, a representative from Kickstarter reached out to clarify some of the points made below. I don’t think it changes my basic conclusion, but when you’re working with statistics, it’s good to have all your caveats in a row, so I added a few more comments after the cut.
Simply put, I’d be wary of allowing my ability or inability to successfully fund the printing costs of a book to have any influence over whether or not I saw said project through to completion.
Pre-failing financially, would undoubtedly undermine any chances I have of succeeding creatively.
Allowing a kind of market to pre-determine if my project has value… that would alter my own perception about it’s worth, no matter how hard I tried to fight that.
Failing to raise funds would mean I’d scrap the story and try something else. And I think that’s a crappy outcome.
(Emphasis in the original.) It’s not the same as getting rejected by a publisher — that, he feels, could be written off as the opinion of one or two people. If the entire market rejects your work, it’s a lot harder to get up the enthusiasm to complete it.
But hold on a minute. After looking at the Kickstarter statistics presented by Jeanne Pi of AppsBlogger and Prof. Ethan Mollick of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, I wouldn’t be so quick to scrap a project just because it didn’t get a lot of pledges. Pi and Mollick present their findings in a handy infographic, but here’s a quick summary:
It’s been almost three years since writer/artist Mike Dawson and I last talked (back then our focus was on Ace-Face: The Mod with the Metal Arms and 2008′s Freddie & Me). In this 2012 round, we pitch a tent around his latest Secret Acres release Troop 142, the story of one week at a boy scout camp and its impact on the boys attending as well as the men running it. Dawson is a great interviewer in his own right (as we discuss briefly), so I was a tad nervous in trying to generate my queries. It was also refreshing to understand his stepping away from social media to the benefit of his creative efforts. My thanks to Dawson for his time and perspective, especially the book’s evolution from webcomic to printed bound edition.
Tim O’Shea: I gotta be honest, reading this book a week before my son goes off to scout camp was not the best thing for me to read. Many of the kids straddle the line between being insecure and total jerks (as all kids will be). But all the characters had redeeming values (of course)- – how challenging was it to strike a balance of positives and negatives with the characters?
Mike Dawson: I think that’s one of the few aspects of writing that comes easily to me. People are a mix of positive and negative values, and even then it’s subjective. It’s important to me to try to show different sides of a character. I think readers first impulses would be to dislike a lot of these characters, especially some of the adults in the beginning of the story, and my hope is to bring them around a little bit, and see them as more complex.
Digital | Retailer Brian Hibbs responds to recent comments around the price of digital comics, commenting on how “channel migration” could effect comic retailers: “The concern of the comics retailer isn’t that there IS digital — fuck, I’m totally all for a mechanism to drive a potentially wide segment of customers to the medium of comics itself. How can that NOT help me? But, rather, that enough customers will ‘change channels’ (of purchase), so as to make segments of work unprofitible to carry. I’ve been pretty straight with you — most periodicals are but marginally profitible; most books are largely unprofitible. That we have stellar, break out, oh-my-god-it’s-like-printing-money successes like WALKING DEAD or BONE or SANDMAN doesn’t mean that this is the way all books can follow. Quite the opposite in fact! So what this means is that even losing a TINY portion of the readership through Channel Migration could potentially have dire effects. Seriously, if I lost just 10% of my customers, I’m done. And what we also know is that when physical stores close, most of that readership for comics UTTERLY VANISHES. The gist of this is that losing 10% of sales to migration could mean that the other 80% of that stores’ sales are COMPLETELY LOST.” [The Savage Critics]
Conventions | The New York Post previews this week’s New York Comic Con in a pair of articles, the second of which focuses on announcements from Marvel and DC. Marvel’s “Cup O’ Joe” panel will reveal how Fear Itself, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade and X-Men: Schism tie together, while DC plans to reveal “the surprising origin of a longtime member of the Justice League” and more creators who will work on their New 52 books, in addition to Andy Kubert. Update: Presumably the Justice League member with the surprising origin is Wonder Woman. [New York Post article #1, article #2]
Comics | Not surprisingly, DC saw double-digit increases in September compared to the year before, but the overall market was down a touch as graphic novel sales, lacking this year’s equivalent of Scott Pilgrim, were down. [The Comichron]
Business | Disney CEO Robert Iger, who oversaw the company’s purchase of both Marvel Entertainment and Pixar, will step down as CEO in March 2015. [Bloomberg]
Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Kevin Colden, whose comic work includes Fishtown, I Rule the Night, Vertigo’s Strange Adventures and Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, among others. He’s also the drummer for the band Heads Up Display.
To see what Kevin and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below …
SPX, or the Small Press Expo, returns to the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Bethesda, Md. this weekend.
The show’s special guests include Roz Chast, Jim Woodring, Diane Noomin, Jim Rugg, Ann Telnaes, Chester Brown, Johnny Ryan, Craig Thompson and Matthew Thurber, and fans who attend will also have the opportunity to meet and/or hear from Kevin Huizenga, Anders Nilsen, Jessica Abel, Sarah Glidden, Alex Robinson, Brian Ralph, Mike Dawson, Meredith Gran, Roger Langridge and Julia Wertz, just to name a few. I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that our own Chris Mautner will be attending and conducting a Q&A with Johnny Ryan on Saturday, so be sure to tell him hi for us.
Publishing | DC Comics will allocate the second printing of Justice League #1, with retailers receiving 32 percent of their orders, which now won’t ship until Sept. 21, the same day the third printing will be released. ICv2 reports some stores are concerned that potential new readers drawn in by the publisher’s promotional campaign for the New 52 won’t understand the two-week wait to pick up a copy of the comic. The website also runs down the list of cable television shows during which DC’s New 52 commercial is airing. [ICv2.com]
Passings | Comic Art Community reports that artist Dave Hoover passed away earlier this week. Hoover, who drew runs of Captain America and Starman in the 1990s, more recently worked on Zenescope’s Charmed comic. Before working in comics, Hoover was an animator, working on Flash Gordon, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, The Super Friends, The Smurfs and many more in the 1970s and 1980s. [Comic Art Community]
Conventions | Comiket 79, the winter installment of the self-published comic book fair held twice a year in Tokyo, set a turnstile attendance record last week with 520,000 people over three days. That’s just 20,000 less than the summer record — and the equivalent of about four Comic-Cons. [Anime News Network]
Legal | Archie Comics reportedly has threatened legal action against the in-production Indian film Boys Toh Boys Hain, which, according to this description, is “based on the lines of the celebrated [Archie] comic book but set in Delhi instead of Riverdale.” However, the director now claims that, “We never made any statement which suggested that the film is inspired from Archie comics. One of my actors may have said in an interview that the film has a feel similar to Archie, but never that the film is based on it.” The publisher was dealt a blow in an unrelated legal matter in September when India’s Delhi High Court refused to hear a complaint challenging the use of the name “Archies” by a Mumbai company. The court said it had no jurisdiction in the matter because Archie Comics doesn’t have an office in India. [Hindustan Times]
Troop 142 creator Mike Dawson shares a “DVD extra” — an extended scene that won’t make it into the final story.
It’s a funny scene, but Dawson explains why he dropped it.
“I probably drew these pages over two years ago, and even though I think this scene is funny, I’m not sure that there’s a place for it to fit into the story anymore,” he writes on his blog. “And, aside from that, my drawing style has changed enough since then that I think it would be pretty noticeable if I just dropped it all in somewhere.”
As I mentioned yesterday, over the last couple of weeks Tim O’Shea and I have been reaching out to various folks around the comics industry, asking them what they are excited about for 2010. We asked them to mention something they were anticipating as a fan and also something they were working on, if they could talk about it. Here’s round two; we’ll have round three up later today.
I am personally excited about what changes are coming at both DC COMICS and MARVEL COMICS. Most people look at change as a negative thing, but looking at the projects coming from both companies and the amount of multi-media projects coming our way, I cant help become excited to what the future holds. I think all these changes will help bring brand new readers to our industry and deliver some exciting projects to the loyal fans as well. see? a lot of positive vibes…there really is no reason to fear change. I believe in embracing it.
As far as what I have coming up… well , that would take a while, but the first thing that is coming to mind is the Image Comics one shot Justin Gray and I have in the works for this spring called Splatterman. Originally we were going to make this a few issues , but decided to go the graphic novel way and put it out as one book. It features beautiful artwork by Giancarlo Caracuzzo and Paul Mounts with a stunning cover by award winning artist, Tim Bradstreet. It’s the story of two comic creators [not us, lol] that create the ultimate horror comic character that comes back to haunt them. It’s crazy adult comics the way they were meant to be told. Anyone that enjoyed our Friday the 13th series and The Last Resort will understand what i mean.
Mike Dawson‘s Freddie & Me ranked on many Best of 2008 lists. It looks like he’s trying to capitalize on his elevated creative profile–given that the upcoming Previews (out on January 28) will include Dawson’s upcoming work for AdHouse, Ace-Face: The Mod with the Metal Arms (“a collection of stories . . . featuring everybody’s favorite well-dressed crime fighter, doling out super-powered justice with his bionic limbs, and handling crisis’s at home as a husband and father.”)
In addition to discussing Ace-Face, we delve into Freddie & Me. But that’s not all, as starting February 17, Dawson is returning to ACT-I-VATE with Jack and Max Escape From the End of Time, a webcomic spinning out of the Ace-Face universe. My thanks to Alex Robinson for facilitating this email interview as well as Dawson for his time and thoughts.
Tim O’Shea: How much of the Ace-Face book consists of flashbacks to his childhood and how much of is it “present day” adventures?
Mike Dawson: The stories take place in a variety of different times over the course of Ace-Face’s career. A good chunk of the stories happen in close-to present day, but there are a number of flashbacks. We see his origin as a little kid with gigantic metal arms in the 1940’s and 50’s, a little bit of his mod hey-day in the 1960’s, and some of his latter-day adventures as well.