Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Terry Moore announced on his blog last week that he will release his comics digitally via comiXology, beginning with Strangers in Paradise and hopefully going on to Rachel Rising, his current series. Actually, he lets one of his would-be readers, Aaron, do most of the talking:
I went to Bedrock Comics today, asked about Rachel Rising #5, and was told that they only ordered two copies, and both were pre-orders. The shopkeeper said when the book first came out, he ordered more, based on track record, but they didn’t sell. I simply don’t have the time to go searching around, and I don’t buy enough comics to warrant a pull list. I’m not sure what the problem is that there “isn’t a single penny” for you with digital, but I’d buy PDFs straight from this site if I could. Unfortunately, I can’t justify $6.99 plus shipping for a comic….
There is something profoundly wrong with the distribution system when a title from a leading creator can’t be found at a comic store in a major metropolitan area. I can’t see how digital would be any worse for you, and it would be a lot better for me (and I’m betting plenty of others). I want to support your work, but it shouldn’t be this difficult.
This is the problem, in a nutshell, for independent creators like Moore. I’m sure if Aaron were looking for the latest DC or Marvel title, there would be no problem, but it’s hard for retailers to take a risk on titles that may not sell — or that don’t sell well for the first couple of issues. You can’t blame them for that, but it presents an obstacle to new or alternative creators whose work may take a while to catch on. Moore isn’t abandoning print, or the direct market, but he’s a good example of a creator who will probably add readers with digital.
It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics. As usual, we’re focusing on graphic novels, collected volumes and first issues so that we don’t have to come up with a new way to say, “Batwoman is still awesome!” every month. And we’ll continue letting Tom and Carla do the heavy lifting in regards to DC and Marvel’s solicitations.
One cool change this month and for the foreseeable future: I’m joined by Graeme McMillan who’ll also be pointing out his favorites.
Finally, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.
The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist – I admit, I tend to run hot and cold on Clowes’ output, but I’m a sucker for coffee-table career retrospectives, so the idea of taking 224 pages to look back at his career to date (with, of course, the traditional little-seen artwork and commentary) seems like a must-look at the very least. [Graeme]
Rachel Rising, Volume 1: The Shadow of Death – Terry Moore’s latest series gets its first collection and I love the premise of a woman’s waking up in a shallow grave with no memory of how she got there and needing to figure out who tried to kill to her. [Michael]
Legal | The Los Angeles Times reports that the Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Toby G. Scammell with insider trading. Scammell has been accused of using confidential information “surreptitiously gleaned” from his girlfriend to make $192,000 off of Disney’s 2009 acquisition of Marvel Entertainment. Scammell’s girlfriend was an intern working in the corporate strategy department at Disney. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Heidi MacDonald rounds up questions creators have raised about the Womanthology project, which raised $109,000 on Kickstarter, specifically about how the extra money will be used and whether the creators who are involved will be paid. Organizer Renae De Liz has posted additional details on the Womanthology site. [The Beat]
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con gets into full swing today in Rosemont, Illinois. Comics guests include Brian Azzarello, Jim Cheung, Mike Deodato Jr., Gary Friedrich, Patrick Gleason, Mike Grell, Dave Johnson, Ariel Olivetti, Eduardo Risso, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ethan Van Sciver. The Chicago Sun-Times briefly spotlights attending artists Ivan Brunetti and Don Kramer, while the Daily Herald interviews Brunetti and Nate Powell. [Wizard World]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
It’s a week where I’m happily embracing the superhero of it all. If I had $15, I’d go for the fifth issue of Marvel’s Fear Itself ($3.99), mostly because I’m this far in and I’ll probably keep going just to see how it turns out instead of actually enjoying it, as well as the first issue of “Spider Island” in Amazing Spider-Man #667 (Marvel, $3.99) to continue my love/hate relationship with Dan Slott’s Spider-Man run. But when it comes to full-on nostalgia, DC has me in the palm of its hand with DC Retroactive: Justice League of America – The ’80s #1 (DC, $4.99). No joke: The Justice League Detroit era is one of those guilty pleasures that I not only can’t explain, but also can’t resist – Gerry Conway revisiting that failed team for a new one-shot (especially with art by Ron Randall) is something that I literally can’t help myself but pick up.
Legal | The Second Circuit Court of Appeals backed the 2010 decision by a federal judge to dismiss a comic writer’s claims that Adam Sandler, Judd Apatow, Columbia Pictures and parent company Sony Picture stole his idea for a hairdresser-turned-hero and transformed it into the movie You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. Robert Cabell filed a copyright-infringement lawsuit in February 2009 accusing the moviemakers of ripping off his comic The Hair-Raising Adventures of Jayms Blonde, about a Navy SEAL-turned-hairdresser who fights crime armed with a blow dryer. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Creators | The Hero Initiative reports that comics creator Josh Medors, who has a rare form of cancer, has been released from the hospital after being treated for a lung infection. [Hero Initiative]
Creators | Dave McKean discusses his most recent work, the erotic graphic novel Celluloid. [Suicide Girls]
Boston Comic Con isn’t one of your better-known cons, like SDCC or NYCC—heck, I live just north of Boston and I never heard of it until last year—but if you’re in the area, this year’s show looks like a pretty good bet, with guests like Darwyn Cooke, Frank Quitely, and Joe Kubert.
Right off the bat, BCC is better than 90 percent of comic cons because it is not in some sterile, isolated convention center. You know how you have to walk a mile from the Javits to get a reasonably priced sandwich? No problem here; the Hynes Convention Center is conveniently attached to a mall, and it’s located in the heart of the Back Bay, which is chock full of great little restaurants, funky boutiques, and bars with atmosphere. I used to live in the neighborhood, and it’s still one of my favorite places to go. When you’re at the Hynes, you know you’re in Boston.
Another nice thing about a small con is that conflicting panel times won’t drive you crazy; the panel schedule (warning: PDF) has only one strand, so if you want to see Stan Sakai, Darwyn Cooke, and Terry Moore speak, you don’t have to be in three places at once. Just stay in your seat.
And there will be interesting things to see and to buy! Sam Costello will be debuting the latest volume of his Split Lip horror comic, complete with a back cover blurb from me! Anthony del Col and Andy Belanger, two of the creators of Kill Shakespeare, will be there with an “exclusive digital promotion” as well as the news that they just got some financing to develop a film script based on the property. The Artists Alley lineup includes Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), Tak Toyoshima (Secret Asian Man) and a panoply of Boston-area talent. I just hope the show doesn’t get too successful, or they’ll move it to Boston’s own sterile, out-of-the-way convention center and it will lose much of its charm.
“Rachel is a woman who wakes up one morning in the woods and realizes that she’s sitting on a freshly dug shallow grave,” he told Comic Book Resources’ Kiel Phegley. “She freaks out, digs up some of the dirt and realizes the person in the grave is her. The story goes from there, showing how she goes back into down to figure out what’s going on. This is a woman who has died, but she’s back. And she remembers who killed her. That’s the starting point for the first issue.”
And it explains the cover. The first issue is due in July.
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Ryan Cody, creator of Icarus and illustrator of Villains and Jesus Christ: In the Name of the Gun. You’ll be seeing more of Icarus around these parts starting very soon …
To see what Ryan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.
Graphic novels | Metro, the graphic novel by Egyptian cartoonist Magdy El Shafee that was banned in 2009 under Hosni Mubarak’s regime, will be published in English next year by Metropolitan, a division of Macmillan. El Shafee who, along with his publisher Mohammed al Sharqawi was convicted of disturbing public morals, has appealed to Egypt’s new Ministry of Culture to have the ban lifted. “I’m waiting to hear if the minister of culture will allow it to be published again,” El Shafee says. “They will have to consult with the courts. I’m hoping there may be some kind of apology.” [CNN.com]
Legal | In an article that’s heavy on background and light on new information, Matthew Beloni reports that the attorney representing the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster has asked the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to determine exactly what elements from the Man of Steel’s mythology his clients can reclaim as a result of the 2008 court ruling. [THR, Esq.]
Retailing | Barnes & Noble stock fell 16 cents following a report that bookstore chain, the largest in the United States, will likely end its months-long search for a buyer. Although the auction isn’t over, initial interest from at least seven potential buyers is said to have waned following the first round of bidding. [Bloomberg]
Terry Moore just announced his new series, Rachel Rising, yesterday, so he was getting a bit of attention at his booth. I asked him how far ahead he has written the story, and he said, “I have plotted out through the first trade. I have a really good feel for her and for the setting of the town, but I’m still think of new things. It’s like when you prepare for a tennis match, and things start happening after you start playing.”
Big news over at CBR, where Terry Moore (Strangers in Paradise, Echo) has announced his newest project, Rachel Rising, about a woman who has recently died but isn’t finished with life yet. Kiel Phegley zoomed in and got some details:
“This one will be ongoing because I’m developing a character and a whole world that I want a lot of open possibilities with,” Moore told CBR News. “I’m going for another genre that I love a lot. What I’m doing is that I’m still doing what I do with my character work, but like I’ve added a touch of sci-fi or what have you [to past projects], this one leans towards horror. And it’s not like gory horror or splatter. It’s more like, ‘This is not a town where you want to be on the streets at night.'”
I like it: The sort of horror that makes you uneasy, not grossed out. There’s more at the link, including a brief rundown of the premise of the story.
Legal | A former middle-school teacher in Idaho has pleaded guilty to possession of obscene visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children for downloading 70 cartoon images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Many of the images depicted characters from The Simpsons. Boise resident Steve Kutzner, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison, supervised release of up to three years, a maximum fine of $250,000 and … a special assessment of $100. Sentencing is set for Jan. 5. [Idaho Statesman, press release]
New York Comic Con | Tom Spurgeon settles in for a lengthy, bulleted look at the news and announcements from last weekend’s big convention. Gareth-Michael Skarka, meanwhile, offers commentary on the digital-comics arena. [The Comics Reporter, The Designer Monologues]
New York Comic Con | Ruth La Ferla uses the convention as a chance to look at the intersection of comic books and fashion, spotlighting both cosplayers and noted designers. [The New York Times]
One of the things I love most about conventions is the artists who visit and show off their sketchbooks and draw sketches for people. Even if you don’t attend the convention, you can follow artists’ blogs and see work they did during the con begin to trickle in. With last week’s Baltimore Comic-Con in the rear-view, that’s beginning to happen. Take, for example, Terry Moore, who did a phenomenal drawing of the girls from his Strangers in Paradise series dressed up as Slave Leia from Return of the Jedi.
You can view several additional pieces on his blog, including a Red Sonja and a piece he did for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
Down to the wire here, so let’s do a round-robin of a few more cool items you can get at the San Diego Comic-Con this year …
• Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba are bringing a new limited signed giclée print, which you can see to the right.
• Buenaventura Press is having a going-out-of-business sale at booth #1734. Alvin Buenaventura will be there, selling the last copies he has of Kramers Ergot 7, Boy’s Club by Matt Furie, The Gigantic Robot by Tom Gauld, original art and more.
• Gene Luen Yang has a new T-shirt he’ll be selling at the show.
• Terry Moore is bringing The Complete Paradise TOO — “a 360 page softcover book filled with hundreds and hundreds of my comic strips and cartoons, from high school to SIP to all the Kixie strips and Plato and Lizzie the axe-murderer… all for just $30.”
Like clockwork, Comic-Con organizers have released the schedule for the third day of the convention, Saturday, July 24.
Below you’ll find highlights of the comics-related programming, ranging from movie panels for Warner Bros.’ Green Lantern and Marvel’s Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger to Joe Quesada’s traditional “Cup O’ Joe” and “Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 6: Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour vs. The Fans.”
The full programming schedule for Saturday can be found here.
10 to 11 a.m. Spotlight on Carla Speed McNeil — Comic-Con special guest Carla Speed McNeil is best known for her creator-owned title Finder. A few years back, Carla took new stories of Finder to the Internet, and the result was an Eisner Award for best webcomic of 2008 and a new series of reprints from Dark Horse. Carla talks about her work and what’s next in this Spotlight panel. Room 3
10 to 11 a.m. The Black Panel 2010 — This year’s Black Panel will be one for the ages. The focus will be on empowerment, education, real-world networking, and finally but never last, fun. The panelists include entertainment attorney Darrel Miller, novelist Nnedi Okorafor, artist Denys Cowan and writer/producer/director Reggie Hudlin, with moderator Michael Davis. Once they answer life’s burning questions, they’ll chill with a salute and Q&A from the audience with actor/writer/director Bill Duke. As always, surprise guests who will rock your world. Room 5AB
10 to 11 a.m. Marvel Comics Writers Unite! — The third in Comic-Con’s series of “Year of the Writer/Comics Writers Unite!” panels focuses on Marvel Comics and includes Comic-Con special guests Brian Michael Bendis (Avengers, New Avengers, Ultimate Spider-Man), Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man, Thor) and Chris Claremont (X-Men Forever, X-Women) in a discussion with writer Mark Waid (Amazing Spider-Man, Irredeemable). Room 6DE