Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Panel Syndicate imprint has announced its second “pay what you’d like” digital series: Universe! by Spanish cartoonist Albert Monteys.
Monteys is the former director for and contributor to the satirical magazine El Jueves, from which he resigned this summer after the owners refused to use a cover featuring the King of Spain.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
The release of a new issue of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s excellent and, given recent news, timely The Private Eye is always enough to warrant a “Best of 7″ post. But the icing on the cake is that Vaughan revealed some sales data last week for the series thus far — and business has been good for the talented team.
Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]
Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]
Marcos Martin grew up reading American superhero comics imported to his native Spain, and for the first 13 years of his career, he lived, breathed and drew those heroes in titles like Batgirl: Year One, Doctor Strange: The Oath, The Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil. But now he’s moved on, devoting himself primarily to creator-owned comics with a reach beyond the direct market. The first sign of that is The Private Eye, the digital comic he created with celebrated writer Brian K. Vaughan about the price of privacy in a futuristic world.
Both Martin and Vaughan have talked with CBR about their project, so for this installment of “Conversing on Comics” I reached deeper into the artist’s work, looking for his influences and his choices. The interview, conducted in late April via Skype, pulls back the curtain on Martin, an ambitious but private professional who’s looking to entertain not just the ardent comic book fan but also more mainstream readers interested in fiction and fables.
If, like me, you’re a big fan of The Private Eye, the digital comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, you may be pleased to learn Panel Syndicate has opened a store where you can buy prints from the acclaimed sci-fi mystery set in a world where privacy is at a premium.
So now you can get 17.7-inch by 12.6-inch prints of Martin and colorist Muntsa Vicente’s covers for issues 1 and 4, or pages from Issue 1; there’s also a limited-edition black-and-white print. They’re $20 each, plus $10 shipping (except for that last one, which will set you back $50).
It’s been more than three months since we last saw a new installment of The Private Eye, the name-your-own-price digital comic by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente, but now the wait is over with the release of the fourth issue on Panel Syndicate.
Planned for “around 10 issues total,” The Private Eye is a sci-fi detective story set in a not-too-distant future where surveillance is so prevalent, and privacy so sacred, that everyone possesses a secret identity. Against that backdrop, the protagonist — an unlicensed journalist, akin to a private investigator — is drawn into a mysterious plot.
You can check out a preview of the 30-page fourth issue below.
Although it appears we’ll have to wait a while longer for the fourth issue of The Private Eye, the acclaimed digital comic by Brian K. Vaughan, Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vincente, Panel Syndicate is making the interim a little easier to endure with the release of The Making of The Private Eye, an 85-page “inside look at the creation of the digital comic.”
As with The Private Eye, readers are asked to name their own price for this special issue, which includes such behind-the-scenes content as Vaughan’s original pitch, Martin’s character designs and email exchanges between the creators. You can get a sneak peek below.
“I think the digital distribution revolution is maybe the best thing that’s ever happened to mainstream comics. I really miss the days when you could find a comics spinner rack in every drug store, but now anyone who owns a mobile device can have their own personal spinner rack, and it’s always stocked with every issue imaginable. I don’t know if creators at other companies are privy to exactly how many digital copies their books are selling these days, but the statements Fiona and I get from Image are pretty staggering. I realize that’s not true for every book, but the day when many titles start selling more digital copies than print copies is not years away, it’s months away.”
– Brian K. Vaughan, discussing digital comics in a new interview with Comic Book Resources about Saga and The Private Eye
More than seven weeks after the second issue debuted, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin continue their name-your-own-price digital comic with the release of The Private Eye #3.
A detective story that centers on timely issues of privacy and surveillance, The Private Eye is set in a not-too-distant future, where everybody in the United States has a secret identity: “Our protagonist is a member of the paparazzi, outlaw private investigators who dig up the kind of personal dirt no longer readily available through search engines. It’s a mystery with lots of masks, but no superpowers.”
About a month and a half after the debut of The Private Eye, the name-your-own-price digital comic from Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin, the duo is back with the second issue of the futuristic detective story.
In case you’re a little late to the game, The Private Eye is set in 2076, “when everyone in the United States has a secret identity. Our protagonist is a member of the paparazzi, outlaw private investigators who dig up the kind of personal dirt no longer readily available through search engines. It’s a mystery with lots of masks, but no superpowers.”
The 32-page second issue is now available on the Panel Syndicate website. As “name-your-own-price” suggests, you can pay whatever you choose, although the Vaughan and Marcos think 99 cents is fair (the writer says $3 seemed to be the most common payment for the first issue).
“I’m delighted to say that many more people paid us than didn’t. Those who opted to pay something paid at least 99 cents, and I don’t think too many people paid more than $5. Three bucks, the cost of most new paper comics, seemed to be a common payment.”
– writer Brian K. Vaughan, revealing to The New York Times the lowest and highest amounts paid for the first issue of The Private Eye, his digital collaboration with Marcos Martin and Muntsa Vicente. Readers were encouraged to name their own price, with 99 cents as the recommended amount.
I was excited by the teasers for Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s creator-owned project — Saga is one of my favorite current reads, and I love anything the artist draws — and now I’m pleased to see the actual announcement doesn’t disappoint.
Rather publish a traditional miniseries, which is what I was expecting, the Doctor Strange: The Oath collaborators have reteamed for Panel Syndicate, a website where they’ll release digital comics in a variety of formats, all DRM-free, which will undoubtedly please those who have been critical the the industry’s predominant digital-delivery methods. What’s more, the creators are allowing readers to name their price, although “we think 99 cents is a pretty fair asking price for our new issues” (hitting upon another hot-button subject in the digital debate, that $2.99 or $3.99 is too expensive for a standard-length comic).