Return of the Dapper Men
Jim McCann answered the summons untold millions of people have longed to hear: “Come on down! You’re the next contestant on The Price Is Right!”
The writer of Return of the Dapper Men and the upcoming Lost Vegas appeared on Thursday’s episode of the long-running CBS game show, where he was called down to Contestants’ Row by announcer George Gray in the opening moments. I won’t spoil anything, but McCann did make it onstage with host Drew Carey (as you can see above), and he did play “Any Number.” To see how he did, you’ll have to watch the episode online for yourself (sorry, the CBS video player won’t embed).
“You don’t see it, but I hugged EVERYONE on contestant row,” McCann revealed on Twitter. “Also, you can’t hear ANYTHING so you have no idea what others bid. [...] Something else you don’t see: I almost fell going on stage and once I did get there, I went the wrong way. D’oh. [...] And so ends my life-long dream of being on a game show. Next up- become a game show HOST!!!!”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we detail what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Our special guest today is David Harper, associate editor over at the recently redesigned Multiversity Comics.
To see what David and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
On the surface it may not look like The Return of The Dapper Men, Hawkeye and Mockingbird, and Mind the Gap have much in common, beyond the fact that they are all written by Jim McCann. One’s a fairy tale, one’s a straight up superhero comic and the third McCann describes as a “thriller mystery” with some “preternatural” elements.
But McCann says they have more in common than you might think, or at least that I thought. Last week when I interviewed him about his new Image series, McCann drew parallels between Mind the Gap and those two previous projects, noting that he had plans for a big central mystery for his run on Hawkeye and Mockingbird that never came to pass.
“With Hawkeye and Mockingbird, unfortunately that series was cancelled, but I had a two-year plan for that, and it started to lay a couple of seeds early on,” McCann told me. “Brian Bendis picked up on one of them that occurred in the last issue of Hawkeye and Mockingbird, issue #6. There was a brief moment between Clint Barton and Jessica Drew that was supposed to set up a fling between the two of them. We had talked about that before, and when the series ended he was able to take it and run with it. So there are still some ideas out there that were able to live on. I like to plan things out no matter what the story is. I think it’s important to know your ending, and I think it’s fun to plant Easter eggs and seeds.”
‘Tis the season for decking those halls, trimming those trees, lighting the menorah and, of course, figuring out what to buy for your friends and family. To help give you some ideas, we reached out to a few comic creators, asking them:
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
We’ve gotten back a bunch of suggestions, which we’ll run between now and the end of the week. So let the merriment commence …
1. Exclusive 2011 Janet Lee Holiday Ornaments
Every year, Janet does about 12 ornaments, three sets of four. This year, she has done Hipster Animals, Scary Toys and Art Nouveau Angels. They are signed and dated, and at the end of the season, that’s it! She stops making them. I’ve been collecting them since 2007, and now our tree is almost completely filled with Janet’s art. You can buy them exclusively through her Etsy shop.
Oh, and if you’re REALLY nice, she MAY have a very limited Dapper Men ornament or two. Just ask!
2. This year, for myself, I’m going with a mix of Blu-Rays (portable Blu-Ray player, please, Santa!) and books. But the thing I’m REALLY excited for is the hardcover edition of the Complete Ripley novels, by Patricia Highsmith. Most people only know of Ms. Highsmith through The Talented Mr. Ripley (and classic film lovers through Strangers On a Train). There were actually five Tom Ripley novels, and the collection looks amazing. Why these books? My spouse recently Tweeted a quote from John Lithgow that struck me as a writer: “Duality, duplicity, truth and deception, good becoming bad and vice-versa are crucial elements of great storytelling.” Highsmith was and remains an unsung hero of mastering that, so I hope I learn something in the process!
Happy Holidays from the Dapper Lariosa-McCann household!
Jim McCann is the writer of Return of the Dapper Men and its upcoming sequel, Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol, Hawkeye:Blindspot and the upcoming Mind The Gap.
Return of the Dapper Men
Written by Jim McCann; Illustrated by Janet Lee
There’s a line in Finding Neverland that’s stuck with me. “Young boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older.” What I love about that movie (and stories like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland) is their celebration of childhood. They reflect a delightfully tenacious refusal to let something as mundane as growing up steal the joy of an imaginative life.
Of course, there’s a flipside to that perspective. A couple of them, really. The dreary one that’s most often cited by boring people is that you can’t stay a child forever. As a Grown Up, one has Responsibilities to face. As if meeting responsibilities and living a blissful, inspired, creative life are mutually exclusive activities.
There’s another response to the Peter Pan Syndrome though; one that’s just as special as the desire to hold on to childhood. It doesn’t belittle childhood as something to be put behind as quickly (and grumpily) as possible. It takes the best part of childhood and invites us to carry it with us into a more mature way of looking at the world. That’s the perspective that Jim McCann and Janet Lee introduce in Return of the Dapper Men.
We’ve all seen the limitless press announcements from every comics publisher there is about sold out books. After a while, they lose meaning. Did the publisher not print very many? Did retailers under-order? Do people just really love the book? Seldom do we get answers to those questions.
So when Archaia recently sold out of both Return of the Dapper Men and the Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard collection at the same time, there seemed to be an opportunity to dig into this phenomenon a bit. At C2E2 last year, I learned that Archaia is remarkably forthcoming about their business strategies, so their double sell out seemed like a great time to find out not only what that event means to a small publisher, but also to learn about the work that went into creating the situation in the first place. I asked Archaia’s Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy, Mouse Guard’s creator David Petersen, and Return of the Dapper Men’s Jim McCann and Janet Lee to help me understand. They not only did that; they also gave me a unique look at how Archaia perceives itself and what sets the company apart from other publishers.
Michael May: Stephen, can you talk about the print runs of Return of the Dapper Men and Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard? How do they compare to Archaia’s typical numbers?
Stephen Christy: They were both larger than a standard Archaia print run. Mouse Guard is our bestselling title, so we knew we had to print heavy and Dapper Men had enough preorders to justify a run of 10,000 copies. It wasn’t until preorders jumped on both titles a week or two before release that we started to get a feeling that we could get hit with a sell out.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew has been enjoying on the comics front. Today our special guest is our friend Ron Richards, one of the co-founders of the popular comics website iFanboy.com. To see what Ron and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Welcome to another installment of “Food or Comics?” Every week we set certain hypothetical spending limits on ourselves and go through the agony of trying to determine what comes home and what stays on the shelves. So join us as we run down what comics we’d buy if they only had $15 and $30 to spend, as well as what we’d get if we had some “mad money” to splurge with.
Check out Diamond’s full release list if you’d like to play along in our comments section.
If I had $15, at least $9 of it – okay, $8.98 – would be already spoken for. The first issue of Batman Incorporated ($3.99) and one-shot lead-in Batman: The Return #1 ($4.99) offer up the first glimpses of what Grant Morrison has in mind for his new Batus-quo and, after the way he brought the RIP/Return of Bruce Wayne storyline to a close, I’m pretty much on board no matter what. The remaining money…? It’s a tough one, but I’m going to go for Spider-Girl #1 ($3.99), pretty much because I like Paul Tobin’s writing, I like the Twitter gimmick (Somewhere, Joe Casey’s going “I did it first in Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance!” and I know, Joe), and, most importantly, the Spider-Girl short was my favorite part of last week’s Amazing Spider-Man relaunch issue. Who could’ve seen that coming?
If there’s one job in comics that I’m not sure that I’d want, it’d be the guy who has to tell everyone that J. Michael Straczynski isn’t writing the Superman or Wonder Woman series anymore (sorry, Alex). But if there’s another job, it’s PR person for an indie publisher.
See, Marvel and DC have it (relatively) easy when it comes to PR, at least when it comes to the comics internet: Sites like Newsarama, Comics Alliance or this very place are pretty much primed for almost any piece of (real) news that either publisher puts out, because news from either publisher – or, to a lesser extent, Image – is big news, both in terms of the fact that the companies are so big in the industry that they can set the news agenda if they try hard enough, and in terms of the fact that stories about Marvel and DC are what the majority of visitors to those sites want to read, and every website wants the hits, so they’ll go where the virtual money is. But for indie publishers, that’s not only not the case, but any and all press that gets released will have to fight for attention (and, let’s face it, normally lose) against the Marvel/DC PR for the day.
Writer Jim McCann and artist Janet K. Lee‘s Return of the Dapper Men (Archaia) will have its pre-release West Coast debut at Meltdown Comics (in Los Angeles) this Wednesday–with McCann at the store to help celebrate the event, as well as sign advance copies of the graphic novel. As detailed in the recent CBR preview of the book: “Welcome to Anoreve, a world in between time, where children have played so long it’s almost become work, machines have worked so long they have begun to play and all the clocks have stopped at the same time. This is how this land has remained, until 314 dapper-looking gentlemen rain down from the sky and set off in different directions to start the world again. Now Ayden, the only boy to still ask questions; Zoe, the robot girl all other machines hold dear; and the Dapper Man known only as “41” must discover what happened that made time stop, understand what their true places are in this world, and learn what “tomorrow” really means. The sun is setting for the first time in memory, and once that happens, everything changes.” There’s been a great deal of interest and discussion in Lee’s art, so I was motivated to email interview her so I could better grasp her artistic style for the book, which will officially be released on November 17. I can honestly say this marks the first time I’ve gotten to discuss the craft of decoupage in an interview.
Tim O’Shea: There seems to be an immense amount of trust between you and Jim McCann. On one level, McCann had an incredible level of trust in your artistic talent, despite the fact this is your first graphic novel. And you had to trust McCann to deliver a script that you could bring to life visually. Would you agree there’s a deep level of trust to your collaboration with McCann?
Janet Lee: Before there was a book, before Jim was ever at Marvel or I started showing art regularly, we were really good friends. That that friendship absolutely shaped our collaboration on RETURN OF THE DAPPER MEN. I can ask Jim any question, make suggestions freely, knowing that we’ll still be friends at the end of it. I would absolutely hope he feels the same way about me. Even when there’s a difference of opinion, I know Jim’s only intention is to make the book the best it can be, and I trust his vision.