SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Retailing | Former retailer Atom! Freeman, now sales manager for the revived Valiant Entertainment, has set out to contact every comics retailer in the direct market to promote the publisher’s upcoming superhero line. What has he learned? Retailers are divided on the importance of variant covers, and they don’t place a high value on returnability, but they care a lot about timeliness: “I try to ask every retailer I speak with what his or her biggest concern is in dealing with a new publisher. The number one answer I get is timeliness. Retailers want to know that they will have a consistent product shipped on a consistent schedule.” [ICv2]
Retailing | Todd Allen’s survey of readers of The Beat, admittedly a specialized audience, reveals that more than two-thirds use pre-ordering as their primary method of buying comics, although many will pick up a few off the rack as well. [The Beat]
The Quality Companion is a great book for lovers of comics history. It starts out with nine comics featuring heroes such as The Ray, Phantom Lady and The Human Bomb, with art by Jack Cole, Lou Fine and other comics luminaries, and then there is a detailed account of the history of the company. You may not have heard of Quality Comics (I hadn’t), but it was one of the early comics publishers and the original home of Jack Cole’s Plastic Man. Many of Quality’s characters were eventually absorbed by DC. The book is well-written and detailed, and the comics in the front are at once cheesy and fascinating.
TwoMorrows makes the book, and most of its other titles, available in two formats, a hardcover print book and a digital version. The digital book is a PDF, which means it can be downloaded and read on any device, without any concern about the distributor disappearing and taking it with them. That also means it could be easily pirated, and there’s a note in the front of the book telling people that if they downloaded it for free, they did so illegally. “Go ahead and read this digital issue, and see what you think,” the note continues. “If you enjoy it enough to keep it, please do the right thing and go to our site and purchase a legal download of this issue …” This makes so much sense that I don’t know why everyone else doesn’t do it.
It seems as if TwoMorrows has found a digital/print balance that works, at least for this type of book. The print edition is priced at $31.95 (marked down to $27.16 at the moment), and if you spring for it, you get the digital edition free. That’s quite a reasonable price for a book like this. Even better, the digital edition is priced at only $10.95. The print edition will obviously appeal to collector, but for someone like me, who wants to read the book and have it as a reference, the digital edition is a great deal, especially with no DRM.
Hello and welcome to a special holiday edition of What Are You Reading? Actually it’s just a normal edition of What Are You Reading?, because changing the font color to red and green, and adding twinkling lights around the border just made it harder to read.
Our special guest this week is Andy Khouri, associate editor over at ComicsAlliance, where he drops comic news and commentary on a daily basis.
To see what Andy and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Sometimes when you interview a creator, you get the distinct impression that person would rather be promoting a new film or a new novel, anything but a comic book. Other times you are fortunate enough to talk to a creator like artist Jamal Igle who relishes his craft, loves comic books and is almost as much a booster of his fellow creators as the typical comic book fan. This Wednesday (December 14) marks the release of The Ray 1, the first installment of the four-issue DC miniseries by Igle with the writing team of Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. My thanks to Igle for the email interview. Once you’ve enjoyed this interview, be sure to check out CBR’s late November interview with Palmiotti and Gray, as well as the preview that CBR offered of issue 1.
Tim O’Shea: When the initial 52 DC Books were announced there was a great deal of displeasure voiced about the fact you were not on the list of creators. Two-fold question: How gratifying was it to see your fans support you so vocally on this front. Secondly, without going into details, were you offered a New 52 assignment and passed on it (please feel free to skip the first part and only answer the first part, if you prefer not to delve into it)
Jamal Igle: It was very flattering and humbling at the same time. It was a little difficult for me to respond to all of the inquiries, because I didn’t know, frankly, how to respond. I was still working on Superman at the time, so I hadn’t been assigned anything. It was a really weird, with all of the assignments being announced, not being able to say anything. The offer for The Ray came just as I was finishing up Superman # 713, prepping #714 and getting ready for San Diego.
In many ways, for longtime DC superhero readers, this is the first week of the rest of our lives. This is the week the first batch of New-52 second issues come out, and as such, this week the New 52 stops being a September-specific gimmick. We all know the second issue is where the rubber meets the road. Accordingly, in conjunction with a look at December’s titles, here’s where I am after a month of first issues.
Back when the September solicitations came out, I listed 37 books that I was planning at least to try:
Action Comics, All-Star Western, Aquaman, Batgirl, Batman, Batman And Robin, Batwing, Batwoman, Blackhawks, Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Catwoman, DC Universe Presents, Demon Knights, Detective Comics, The Flash, Frankenstein: Agent Of SHADE, The Fury Of Firestorm, Green Lantern, Green Lantern Corps, Green Lantern: New Guardians, Grifter, Justice League, Justice League Dark, Justice League International, Men Of War, Mister Terrific, Nightwing, Red Lanterns, Resurrection Man, Static Shock, Stormwatch, Supergirl, Superman, Swamp Thing, and Wonder Woman
Writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray will team with artist Jamal Igle for The Ray, a four-issue miniseries debuting from DC Comics in December.
The Washington Post reports that this time the “human ray of light” isn’t Stan Silver, the version created by Palmiotti, Gray and Daniel Acuña and featured in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. Instead, he’s Lucien Gates, the fourth incarnation of The Ray since the character’s introduction in 1940 in Quality Comics’ Smash Comics #14.
The second Ray, Ray Terrill, was introduced in 1992 in a six-issue miniseries by Jack C. Harris and Joe Quesada before going on to star in a monthly series by Christopher Priest and Howard Porter. That title ran from 1994 to 1996, ending with Issue 28.
The Ray marks the second DC relaunch title for the prolific duo of Palmiotti and Gray, who last month concluded a 70-issue run on Jonah Hex: They take on the bounty hunter again in All-Star Western, which premieres Sept. 28. Igle most recently drew Supergirl for DC.