X-POSITION: Bennett Talks "Years Of Future Past's" Teenage Mutant Savior Heroes
Publishing | As the smoke settles around the turmoil at Platinum Studios, it appears that company founder and CEO Scott Rosenberg remains in his position following an attempt by President Chris Beall to unseat him — and it’s Beall instead who’s been voted out. According to Deadline, Beall stands by his claims that Rosenberg has mismanaged Platinum and transferred controlling interest in the company to a shell entity called RIP Media without the approval of shareholders. Rosenberg denies the accusations, including that he controls RIP. The Beat has background on the whole mess. [Deadline]
Passings | Cartoonist Chris Cassatt, one of the contributors to the comic strip Shoe, has passed away following a short illness. He was 66. Cassatt started out in 1993 as the assistant to Shoe creator Jeff MacNelly and worked with him until MacNelly’s death in 2000. After that, he collaborated with Susie MacNelly and Gary Brookins on the strip. In earlier days he was a photographer for the Aspen Times in Colorado and also created a local comic featuring a character named Sal A. Mander whom he had run in actual local elections. “After candidate Sal A. Mander was thrown off the ballot in an Aspen mayoral election on the shaky (in Aspen, anyway) grounds that he was not a ‘real person,’ Cassatt legally changed his name to Sal A. Mander and ran for Colorado governor in 1978, finishing fifth in a six-candidate contest,” the newspaper writes. The following year, he mounted a write-in campaign for Sal against an unpopular district attorney who was running unopposed. He lost, but the ridicule Cassatt’s character heaped on the D.A. during the campaign took its toll, and he didn’t stay in office for long. [Aspen Times]
The digital comics juggernaut comiXology is having quite a week: Mark Waid put his Insufferable, which is also hosted on his own Thrillbent site, onto the service, and the company signed a deal with Andrews McMeel for digital versions of Doonesbury, Dilbert and Big Nate. And today comiXology debuted something that was initially announced in October: ComiXology Submit, which allows creators to submit their own creator-owned comics to the platform. Here’s the deal, fresh from the press release:
With The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hitting theaters Friday, fan interest is high — and some of those fans happen to be comic creators. Artist Daniel Govar and writer (and former comics executive) Ron Perazza are releasing today a unique one-off comic project on Comic Book Think Take celebrating an overlooked facet of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth stories: the walking songs of Bilbo Baggins.
The Road Goes Ever On is described by Perazza as “a lyrical presentation of the Shire” based on Baggins’ walking songs featured in the Middle-earth stories. In those original novels, the songs were featured in bits and pieces that are now collectively referred to as “The Old Walking Song.” Govar and Perazza have threaded those verses into one continuous piece that they’ve overlaid on a panoramic view of the Shire illustrated by Govar.
For the past 18 years, Ron Perazza has worked in and around the comics industry in virtually every facet of the medium. He’s best known for spearheading DC Comics’ first major foray into original webcomics content with the celebrated but sadly defunct Zuda initiative, but now he’s in a different place — but still doing what he’s always done: pushing to get comics in front of as many people as possible.
After working for 12 years at DC and briefly at digital-comics platform comiXology, Perazza is pushing innovation in comics formats and delivery systems as a consultant for others and with his own initiatives. One of those is Comic Book Think Tank, an idea incubator of sorts for Perazza and collaborator Daniel Govar to examine and execute comics in a digital world. Their first release was the comic Relaunch, with more planned. I talked with Perazza about the future, and what led him down the path to where he is today.
It seems almost every new digital comics project announced is “destined” to change the industry and the way comics are read. Sometimes however, people find it’s not about reinventing the medium but about simply providing new stories for it and an easier way to read it.
Ron Perazz, former vice president of online for DC Entertainment and former vice president of comiXology, has teamed with artist Daniel Govar on a three-pronged foray into comics online: a website, a comics reader and a venue for works of that kind. Comic Book Think Tank will play host to all of this, working as one part incubator and one part firing range to test out new ideas and to showcase webcomics from the team. Their first offering is a science-fiction-themed series called Relaunch that’s available now on their website both for desktop and mobile devices.
Ron Perazza, who resigned in May as DC Entertainment’s vice president of online, has been named vice president-general manager of publisher and creative services for comiXology, the digital comics retailer and platform provider.
According to the announcement, he will work with co-founder John D. Roberts to develop “comiXology’s next generation publisher and creator tools.”
“There are only a handful of people in the comic book industry that have the depth and breadth of knowledge and experience that Ron does, in taking comic books from the print to the digital world” Roberts said in a statement. “Ron will be instrumental in the creation of a stellar set of next generation tools for our current and future publishing partners. We are confident that Ron will help comiXology take comics to the next level.”
Perazza, who before his promotion in December 2010 was DC’s vice president of creative services, is best known for his role in overseeing the company’s online initiatives, including the defunct Zuda imprint. He reportedly left the company after changing his mind about moving from New York to Burbank, California, with DC’s administration, multimedia and digital-content operations. ComiXology is based in New York City.
Ron Perazza, who was promoted in December to the new position of DC Entertainment’s vice president of online, has confirmed his resignation from the company.
Bleeding Cool broke the news this morning, reporting that Perazza gave notice a couple of weeks ago after changing his mind about moving this summer from New York to Burbank, Calif., where DC Online will be based. He’ll remain with DC through mid-August.
Previously DC Comics’ vice president of creative services, Perazza is best known for his role in overseeing the company’s online initiatives, including the defunct Zuda imprint.
His promotion came as part of a massive corporate restructuring that, when completed later this year, will see the shift of DC’s administration, multimedia and digital-content operations to Burbank while leaving the publishing division in New York City. As many as 80 employees were expected to be relocated or fired as part of the reorganization, while others were elevated to new positions.
Ron Perazza, DC Comics’ vice president of creative services, announced this afternoon he’s accepted the position of vice president of online for DC Entertainment. He’ll be based in Burbank, Calif., along with the rest of DC Online, which moves to the West Coast next summer.
Perazza is best known for his role in overseeing the company’s online initiatives, including the recently closed Zuda imprint.
His promotion is only the latest in a series of staffing announcements to come out of DC in the past few weeks as the company continues its major restructuring that began in September 2009 and is expected to continue through at least August 2011.
The reorganization has seen the establishment of DC Entertainment, under new President Diane Nelson, and the creation of an executive team that includes Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns. Most dramatic, however, is the “bi-coastal realignment strategy” that will see the shift business/administration, multimedia and digital-content operations to Burbank, while leaving the publishing division in New York City. As many as 80 employees are expected to be fired or relocated in the move.
Other recent promotions have included: Hank Kanalz to senior vice president-digital; Bob Wayne to senior vice president of sales and marketing; Bob Harras to editor-in-chief, VP, DC Comics; Mark Chiarello to vice president-art direction & design; and Eddie Berganza to executive editor of the DC Universe imprint.
Last week Zuda Comics shut down their website and announced they will release content on DC’s new digital platforms. Currently issues of Bayou and High Moon have made the jump to the iPhone, iPad and PSP, with more on the way.
Ron Perazza, vice president of creative services for DC Comics, oversees DC’s online initiatives and has been at the helm of the imprint since it launched in 2007. He agreed to answer a few questions I had about the imprint, its immediate plans and a few of the lessons they’ve learned over the last three years. My thanks to Ron for answering my questions in what is likely a very turbulent time for him.
JK: Last week we saw a transition in what Zuda is, from a free webcomics site to becoming a part of DC’s new digital strategy, meaning people will be paying to download and read the strips (except for the free first issues, of course). What were the reasons for making this transition?
Ron: The reason is pretty simple, actually. As DC Comics moves more aggressively into Digital Publishing they wanted to coordinate their efforts across all imprints. So while the specifics about which title or how many of each issue might differ, the overall plan is the same for the DCU, Vertigo, WildStorm and Zuda.
JK: What were some of the lessons you guys learned over the past three years that maybe helped pave the way for DC’s digital plans?
Ron: I think the most significant lesson was the importance of Digital Publishing and digital content itself. In addition to some really amazing critical successes that clearly resonated with the comic-buying audience, we were putting up some solid metrics month after month. So in a way, ZUDA was sort of like a pioneer project for DC Comics. Exploring. Now it’s time to move in and settle in a more permanent way.
Later this month, Zuda Comics will celebrate its second anniversary as DC’s webcomics imprint. One of the people responsible for the success is Ron Perazza, Vice President of Creative Services.
For starters, take a moment to tell our readers who you are.
Sure. I’m the Vice President of Creative Services for DC Comics – which doesn’t really do much to describe what I do every day. In a nutshell, I’m responsible for what can very, very loosely be described as “other.” Ha! It includes everything from custom publishing (like posters for the American Library Association or LEGO’s Bionicle Comics), creative for promotions and tie-ins based on DC Comics characters (like the BATMAN BEGINS DVD menu, the SUPERMAN RETURNS/PEPSI webcomic or the SMALLVILLE animated “content wraps”) and creation of marketing materials such as convention graphics, house ads or PREVIEWS. I also oversee DC Online, which includes all of our websites, of course, but also things like the audio/video & podcasts and I’m very involved with DC Comics’ talent search, which we do at conventions. On top of all of that, I run Zuda Comics – DC Comics’ webcomics imprint. It’s kind of never the same day twice.
For those who haven’t heard about Zuda Comics, what it is all about?
Zuda Comics is DC Comics’ webcomic imprint. Basically we’re publishing comics online and then later, once there’s enough material available, collecting them as graphic novels for traditional print distribution. We take open submissions – anyone can send us their ideas and samples – but we select what we’re going to publish in kind of a unique way. On the one hand we have a traditional editorially driven selection process where the Zuda Editors (Kwanza, Nika and I) simply read, review and select what we think would be good for the site. However, in addition to that we have a competition where we put the submissions online and let the users decide. The resulting catalog is a pretty interesting mix of genre and style but I think it’s been very effective so far.
Molly Crabapple is a successful entrepreneur (as the founder of the Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School) and storyteller. After a recent book tour to support her new Fugu Press book, Scarlett Takes Manhattan, she indulged me in a quick email interview. Her graphic novel is described (on the book’s back cover) as “A young woman orphaned in tragic circumstances (by a pair of copulating circus elephants) rises to become the foremost burlesque performer of her era: Scarlett O’Herring.”
Tim O’Shea: How did the book land at Fugu Press?
Molly Crabapple: Years ago, I did a catalog cover for a company owned by Christophe (big cheese at Fugu). When he decided to found a comics publishing company, he asked if I had any ideas for graphic novels. The rest, history…
O’Shea: You clearly love to explore the art of sexuality through your work. In those terms, what was the most enjoyable or challenging scene to convey in Scarlett Takes Manhattan?
Crabapple: I actually loved the scene where Scarlett is working as a dock prostitute and is able to avoid an unpleasant client with the help of a watermelon. Sadly, a watermelon was worth more than a blowjob in 1884.