INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at how publishing is done on Kickstarter, and interviews Maris Kreizman, the general publishing manager, and Jamie Tanner, who oversees the comics category and is himself a comics creator. Comics campaigns have a success rate of nearly 50 percent, making them the fourth-highest category on Kickstarter (and way ahead of general publishing, which has a 32 percent success rate). Tanner sees the popularity of comics as an indication that people still like a print product, and, he pointed out, “setting up a [Kickstarter comics] project, offering rewards and a delivery date, is very much like any conventional comics publishing project.” [Publishers Weekly]
DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint has been releasing one-shot anthologies on a fairly regular basis, using them to dust off old titles like Strange Adventures, The Witching Hour and Mystery in Space, which gives contributors a general theme, and likely helps the publisher maintain trademarks.
Despite once being as common as mutant superheroes are today, anthologies of any kind haven’t been readily embraced in the modern marketplace, and one imagines the ever-increasing costs of comics doesn’t help. These Vertigo titles, featuring short, generally forgettable, riff-like stories from a multitude of creators — which the law of averages suggests will include some stories a reader won’t like — will run you $7.99, just two bucks shy of an ad-free, spine-having trade paperback collection of Image Comics’ Pretty Deadly … or Vertigo’s own FPB: Federal Physics Bureau.
This year the imprint is trying something slightly different: It’s still publishing $8 anthologies, with a variety of creative teams riffing on a theme, but rather than raiding long-faded DC titles (sorry if you were waiting for a revival of More Fun Comics or Adventures of Bob Hope),Vertigo is going with a sort of printing theme. Four anthologies, published on a quarterly basis, each using one of the four basic colors of traditional printing: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and blacK. If nothing else, this will make repackaging and reselling these stories in a trade format a little easier, as the theme will be consistent between a series of anthologies.
The cyan issue debuted this week; it’s a very strikingly designed comic. The cover by designer Jared K. Fletcher is simple and understated, and it pops off the comics rack and begs for special attention. Even the two-page table of contents, in which each story is given a paint swathe-like panel of cyan/different shades of blue, is lovely (I feel tempted to make a joke about combining the thrill of reading a table of contents with the thrill of picking out a paint color, but I can’t; I genuinely dug those pages on an aesthetic level).
So the idea is rather inspired, as is the design — but how are the stories? Par for the course, I suppose. Some good, some bad, some mediocre; some clever uses of the theme, some that seem to ignore it all together. Let’s take a look, shall we?
U.K. company Titan Publishing plans to expand its reach in July with a new imprint devoted to original creator-owned comics and new and classic graphic novels. Each release will be available the same day in print and digital versions on comiXology and other platforms.
Titan Comics will launch with the debut of Chronos Commandos: Dawn Patrol by Stuart Jennett and the newly colored expanded Numbercruncher by Si Spurrier and P.J. Holden, which originally appeared in Judge Dredd Megazine, alongside collections of Ring of Roses by Das Petrou and John Watkiss, Thrud the Barbarian by Carl Critchlow and two never-before published volumes of The First Kingdom by Jack Katz.
Those releases will be followed in September by Gravestown by Roger Gibson and Vince Danks, and Surface Tension by Jay Gunn, and in October by Death Sentence by Monty Nero and Mike Dowling.
Titan Comics Publisher Nick Landau tells USA Today he’s particularly excited for readers to discover Death Sentence and The First Kingdom, saying, “”The first because it is a masterfully constructed sci-fi psycho-drama, and the latter because for over 25 years I have been a fan of Jack Katz’s First Kingdom and following on from our success with the six-book Simon & Kirby Library, we are ever so proud that Jack has completed the series — which originally stopped publication halfway through — for the launch of Titan Comics.”
He adds in a press release, “This is the start of something very special. We’re searching out fantastic new voices and astonishing new artists, and helping them bring their dream projects to fruition – as well as remaining a world-leader in the field of classic comics restoration and republication.”