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Comics A.M. | DC Comics to ‘pull back’ on variant covers

Justice League of America #1 variant

Comics | DC Comics’ Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and Vice President of Marketing John Cunningham discuss October sales, the date change for Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and variant covers. Although the company is releasing 52 variants for Justice League of America #1, DC plans to cut back on variants in its other lines. “We’re going to pull back and drop variants from a handful of titles in the next solicitation cycle to pull back that number ourselves, where it didn’t seem the variant was making a substantial difference in the buy-in for the book or the perception of books,” Wayne said. “We’ll be looking at the remaining titles that have variants the following month.” [ICv2]

Comics | Speaking of variant covers, Tim Beyers of The Motley Fool discusses the dos and don’ts of buying variant covers as an investment. [Daily Finance]

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NYCC | Marvel rolls out convention-exclusive items

With just a week to go until New York Comic Con kicks off, Marvel has unveiled a rundown of convention-exclusive merchandise that will be available only at the publisher’s booth (#1838). The items range from the Rocket Raccoon/Guardians of the Galaxy coffee mug above — someone from the Comic Book Resources contingent needs to snag me one, please — and a lithograph to T-shirts and variant covers. (Note that the Marvel booth apparently only accepts credit cards.)

Check out the full list below. New York Comic-Con runs Oct. 11-14 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

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Comics A.M. | Top Cow reveals Cyber Force retailer incentives

Cyber Force

Publishing | Top Cow Productions has announced details of its retailer program for the relaunch of Cyber Force, which is using Kickstarter to raise enough money to make the first five issues of the reimagined series available for free, both digitally and in print: Retailers will be charged 25 cents per copy for the first five issues, but will receive incentive variant covers — with suggested prices of $10 and $20 — to offset the cost of the comics. The Kickstarter campaign has raised more than $50,000 of its $75,000 goal with 17 days remaining. [ICv2]

Publishing | Former DC Comics editor Janelle Asselin, who now works for Disney, talks about her experiences at the editor’s desk and offers one reason there are so few female superhero comics creators: Women aren’t lining up for the job. “In my time at DC, exactly one woman reached out to me via email, and I hired her,” she said. “I didn’t hire her BECAUSE she was a woman, I hired her because she was good, of course. But in that same amount of time, probably at least two or three men a week contacted me looking for work, some of them intensely pushy and many of them decidedly not good. I think more female creators should put themselves out there. The numbers are growing, we all can see that, especially in indie comics and comics published by traditional publishers, but if there are women who want to work on super hero books, they need to speak up.” [Women Write About Comics]

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John Allison to draw Adventure Time covers

Here’s an interesting bit of news from the BOOM! Studios Tumblr: John Allison, creator of Bad Machinery, is providing variant covers for all six issues of the upcoming Adventure Time story arc “Marcelline and the Scream Queens.” The covers will be available only to customers who order the comics through the BOOM! website; if you subscribe to the entire miniseries through the site, the shipping is free.

That seemed like a great deal until I clicked through and realized that the variant covers are $14.99 each (as opposed to $3.99 for the regular cover), so the subscription is $90. That first cover is nice, but … damn, that’s a lot of money for a variant. The miniseries is written and drawn by Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie), so that’s some serious webcomics star power on these.

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Quote of the day | Healthy breasts for healthy heroines

Wolverine #315

“It’s a shame that the company is no longer scrappy enough to do something involving their bustier heroines. I’d pay attention to an ad that showed, say, Emma Frost talking about how it was particularly important for her to keep her breasts healthy, given how often they were on display.”

Johanna Draper Carlson on Marvel’s Susan G. Komen for the Cure variant covers, which will grace several of their comics in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Mars Attacks, and the invasion of the variant covers

This week IDW Publishing released the first issue of its Mars Attacks series, and, like so many comics these days, the book was being promoted with variant covers. Unlike many comics these days, however, the number of variant covers accompanying this particular issue was mind-bogglingly large: 55.

That’s not a typo, and you’re not suffering from double vision. There are actually 55 variant covers for Mars Attacks #1.

Which makes this as good a time as any to take a few moments to consider the variant cover in general. So, variant covers — threat, menace, the work of the devil or the absolute worst things ever? (I’m sorry, “none of the above” is not an option. Please select one of the four options.)

When it comes to moving comic books in the direct market, variant covers must work or publishers wouldn’t employ the strategy with such frequency. But the way variants seem to work — enticing comic shops to order more issues of a particular book than they might otherwise do so that they can get the variant covers, many of which are only attainable to shops that meet a certain buying threshold — does overall damage to the industry, in my own generally ill-informed opinion. And, I think, does some small amount of damage to the medium. (Go ahead and click “Continue Reading”; I’ll get to a review of Mars Attacks #1 eventually, I swear)

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Godzilla variant covers revealed

We noted Thursday that IDW Publishing would be releasing Duane Swierczynski and Simon Gane’s new Godzilla series digitally the same day as print. No big novelty there. But company also will have digital variant covers, which is something you don’t see every day. The good news is that you don’t have to buy 500 copies of one of the comics to get the variant — you just pick one or the other. And in the spirit of the Godzilla: King of Monsters comics, which showed the title character crushing different comics shops, the new covers will show Godzilla’s giant claw crumpling tablets with the logo of the IDW app and the comics distributor comiXology.

And baby makes three: Love and Capes returns this summer

Love and Capes

The most recent Love and Capes miniseries ended with the two main characters, newlyweds Abby and Mark, finding out that they were expecting. I remember it pretty well because I read it the same week I got to see the sonogram that told us we were having a boy, therefore I say with all the sappiness implied in such a statement that it’ll always be one of those comics I remember when and where I read it, and I will treasure it forever because of it.

So the subject of Thom Zahler‘s next Love and Capes, subtitled “What to Expect,” is one that I can really identify with, as the characters go through the process of trying to pick a name. (Actually, once we knew we were having a boy, the name came really easy).

“I’m thrilled to be able to tell another chapter in Mark and Abby’s adventures. And there’s no greater adventure than parenthood,” Zahler said. “Except, of course, for a fight for existence itself against an all-consuming galactic threat, and this book isn’t about that. Well, probably not. Fifty-fifty, tops.”

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Amy Reeder shares process artwork for Batwoman #7 cover

Batwoman #7

Amy Reeder, who takes over the art duties on Batwoman with issue #6 with Richard Friend, shows off process artwork for the cover of Batwoman #7 on her Facebook page.

You probably saw the finished version in the recently released DC solicitations for March, but she has the pencils and inks up there too for those of you who like to see all stages of the process. Also, remember those variant covers that weren’t going to be used? Well, as you may know by now, the first one is being used for Batwoman #6, so hopefully the others will see print as well.

Mike Mignola’s ‘Year of Monsters’ variant covers kick off in January

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror #1 variant

As announced last summer at the San Diego Comic Con, Dark Horse has released the schedule for Mike Mignola’s 2012 “Year of Monsters” variant cover program. The variant covers, which feature Mignola drawing classic monsters, will be available to retailers who order five or more copies of the standard cover.

“Mike Mignola got into the comics business with the simple goal of drawing monsters for a living,” said Scott Allie, Dark Horse managing editor, in a press release. “Mike celebrates 2012 by pitting his greatest characters against his favorite monsters on these special covers, unrelated to the stories inside.”

The schedule for the first half of the year can be found below, which shows that at some of the covers will appear on the just-announced B.P.R.D. titles. Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1 arrives in stores on Jan. 11.

January—Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #1
February—B.P.R.D Hell on Earth: The Long Death #1
March—B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Pickens County Horror #1
April—Lobster Johnson: The Burning Hand #4
May—B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth: The Transformation of J. H. O’Donnell
June—Baltimore: Dr. Leskovar’s Remedy #1

Variant covers for Peanuts feature first appearances of characters

Following the announcement of the creators for their new Peanuts ongoing series, BOOM! Studios has announced variant covers for the first four issues available to comics retailers as order incentives. The covers feature Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus and Snoopy as they first appeared in the comic strip reproduced directly from Charles Schulz’ original panel art.

The first Peanuts miniseries, which BOOM! confirmed will be published as a series of miniseries a la Hellboy, will hit stores in January. Check out the other covers after the jump.

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IDW gives one fan the chance to die for their retailer

Star Trek "Be a Redshirt" cover

I know a lot of people who would likely love to win this costume. Heck, some of them even blog here at Robot 6. And really, what comic fan wouldn’t want to appear on a Star Trek comic cover saving the life of their favorite comics retailer?

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, IDW and CBS have gotten together to give one comic fan and their retailer of choice the chance to do just that. They’ve kicked off the Star Trek “Be A Redshirt” contest, an essay contest where fans explain in 300 words or less why their retailer is the best. The grand-prize winner will appear on a limited edition variant cover of Star Trek #5, along with their retailer. The cover is limited to 300 copies; 100 will go to the fan, 100 to the retailer and 100 to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who will use them to raise funds. The fan will also receive the original art for the cover.

A “redshirt,” for those who may not know, is a character who dies soon after being introduced. On the original Star Trek television show, they’d typically send an away team to a hostile planet consisting of several show regulars along with a no-name actor or actress in a red shirt. Chances were, the “redshirt” wouldn’t make it back to the ship or out of the episode alive.

As redshirts are famous for always catching the phaser in Star Trek episodes, and as comic fans can be so loyal in defending their local retailer, it’s the perfect contest,” said Dirk Wood, IDW’s director of retailer marketing. “And partnering with the CBLDF is perfect, because no one knows more about defending retailers than they do.”

To enter the “Be A Redshirt” contest, e-mail your explanation in 300 words or less about why your retailer is the best to IDW at contests@IDWPublishing.com with the subject: Save My Retailer.

DC’s push for New 52: Blue Beetle, Ted Kord, Static Shock and more

Blue Beetle #1

As DC Comics, retailers and fans prepare for another round of New 52 titles next week, here’s a collection of the latest news and such …

• DC’s Bob Wayne told CBR’s Kiel Phegley that they planned to extend certain sales incentives to retailers through December, and this week DC released more details on what exactly that means — additional discounts for qualifying retailers on certain books, returnability on many titles and variant covers for several books, including the fourth issues of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, Flash and Green Lantern.

• Wired’s GeekDad talks to Tony Bedard about the relaunched Blue Beetle series, which is due in shops next Wednesday. Bedard notes that the new series will be “less convoluted” than the last one in terms of Beetle’s origin, noting that this time around it isn’t tied to Infinite Crisis. He also notes Ted Kord won’t figure into the new series: “I loved the Ted Kord Blue Beetle as much as anyone. But he doesn’t figure into this new Blue Beetle series at all. My mission right now is to make 15 year-old El Paso high school student Jaime Reyes into the best character and the best Blue Beetle imaginable. And I have really good material to work with there. As anyone who read the last series or caught his appearances on Brave & The Bold will tell you, Jaime is a character teens and twenty-somethings can really latch onto. He has a terrific supporting cast and I’m building a ‘rogues gallery’ for him that will knock your socks off. None of this means that Ted Kord never existed. It’s just that before we go back and rehash the past, we are going to build a solid future for DC, and Jaime Reyes is the future.”

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Captain America #1 goes Canadian for Fan Expo Canada

Captain America #1 FanExpo variant

Marvel is heading north to Fan Expo Canada Aug. 25-28, and they’re bringing an exclusive Dale Eaglesham-drawn variant cover for Captain America #1. Cap, however, is nowhere to be seen; instead Wolverine and Alpha Flight sport Cap-like shields for the hometown crowd. The “variant” shields worn by Puck and Guardian are really nice touches.

Marvel offers retailers a Fear Itself variant for unsold Flashpoint tie-ins

Cue up the Steely Dan: Marvel has announced their intention to do it again by offering retailers a rare Ed McGuinness variant of Fear Itself #6 for every 50 covers they send in from certain Flashpoint tie-in titles from DC. Dubbed “Comics for Comics,” the divisive program is intended, according to Marvel, to offer relief to retailers who they say have been saddled with unsold product during the current economic climate. (This claim has met with some skepticism, Tom Brevoort’s protestations notwithstanding.)

Marvel’s done this before: Last year, they offered a J. Scott Campbell Deadpool variant of Siege #3 in exchange not just for unsold Blackest Night “power ring” tie-ins the from DC, but for unsold Siege and X-Men: Second Coming tie-ins as well. A copy of that comic [UPDATE: a signed, CGC-graded one, which I'm told makes a difference] recently sold on eBay for $625 (via ComicsAlliance commenter Tom). I’m curious as to whether Marvel will eventually make its own books eligible for this trade-in, too. (I’m also curious as to whether some other country will provide us with a functioning legislature in exchange for every 50 House GOP members we send them if we default on our debt, but I suppose that’s neither here nor there.)


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