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§ By chance, two websites have been devoting some time to overviews of…non Big Two Comics I guess you could call ‘em. Multiversity is running Small Press Month and offers A Brief History of Alternative Comics by Drew Bradley which offers a pretty good run down of the journey from Zap to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with stops for Arcade and The Comics Journal:
Naturally, this wasn’t a clean transition, and the term was applied retroactively to books after the shift had occurred. Like the undergrounds, alternative (or simply ‘alt’) comics were set apart from mainstream content by their target audience (20+ adults), their higher production quality, and their black and white art. Similarities aside, alt comics differed from undergrounds in two major ways. First, while underground comics had focused on shocks and rule breaking, alt comics made a concerted effort to have meaning and value. Second, and deriving directly from the first, was a greater acceptance of alt comics in the fast growing number of comic specialty shops, a place where underground never made much headway. When Phil Seuling and his Sea Gate Distribution turned those shops into the direct market as it’s known today, the alternatives had large industry access without large industry costs.
In another piece called Different Viewpoints
, a discussion of just what is “alternative” is discussed with tiers and so on.
Meanwhile, at The Mary Sue, Jordan West digs in to Small, Mighty, and Super Weird; or, A Brief Guide to Indie Comics :
So is that what an “indie publisher” is? A small company that puts out weird stories?
Eh. Sort of. Terms like “indie” and “small press” have come to mean anything that’s not Marvel or DC, which doesn’t really mean anything. We already talked about the Creator Owned model and how that distinguishes independent publishers from the Big Two. That, plus the absence of any shared universe or continuity, gives creators greater leverage and more room to move. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but writers in general and comics writers in particular tend to be pretty weird people, so yeah, given enough leeway, they’ll put out some weird freaking stories.
A little broader picture there and much of the article is concerned with Image Comics, which is stretching indie a little. In fact they also mention Archie which is…just…no.
I have to admit, I have an “Indie Comics” category where I kind of lump a lot of things that should be together. A Zenescope is not the same thing as a Drawn & Quarterly. I also have one category called “art comics” and another called “literary comics” and that doesn’t make any sense either.
Today’s comics purchasers, and by extension retailers, are a lot less snobby about publishing labels, I think. Image is definitely the hottest publisher, but creators have bigger followings than labels do.
The day is long past when a Dark Horse or Dynamite is an “indie.” There are The Front of the Books Dark Horse, Dc, IDW, IMage and Marvel” and the “Next Five” as I like to call them, Boom, Dynamite, Oni, Valiant and Avatar. (These are not the next five on Diamond’s chart, because don’t forget Eaglemoss.) And oh yeah, Archie. And Viz. And Zenescope and Titan. These publishers all put out periodical comics and in general have editors who select the personnel for these books. (Oni is kind of not doing that any more, but then, they’ve sort of been in a mutable place for a while.)
Fantagraphics and D&Q and Koyama, AdHouse, Uncivilized, Secret Acres and so on all have a different publishing focus, based on graphic novels, and maybe occasionally the slim pamphlet from a cartoonist who works very slowly. (Optic Nerve and Palookaville, for instance.)
Anyway, someday I need to fix my categories. What is an “art comic” and what is a “literary comic”? Any clues, readers? Paging Frank Santoro.
§ Speaking of Viz, I missed this exciting news that many more of their books are now available on Comixology, with 650 volumes added including
MAGI Vols. 1-10
CASE CLOSED Vols. 1-53
BLACK BIRD Vols. 1-18
THE DRIFTING CLASSROOM Vols. 1-10
HAPPY MARRIAGE?! Vols. 1-10
ITSUWARIBITO Vols. 1-13
MIDNIGHT SECRETARY Vols. 1-7
Everyone will have their own pick from these but mine is, of course, Drifting Classroom by Kauo Umezu. Other Beat picks: Sexy Voice and Robo, Solanin, Sunny by Matsumoto, Children of the Seas…oh it’s all good. (I don’t know if these were available before but I’m just poking around.)
BUT STILL NO URASAWA because he hate digital, I guess. You suck, Urasawa. Not really.
§ Nathan Reese at Complex presents Race and Gender in Comic Books which is a sound overview of all the stuff happening of late, from Ms. Marvel to Milo Manara.
“There’s nothing inherently masculine about telling stories with pictures; there’s nothing inherently masculine about superheroes,” says DeConnick. “In the ’40s and ’50s, there was a book called Calling All Girls that had a circulation of half a million monthly readers. But in the ’50s our industry became hugely dominated by the superhero genres, and comics began to be identified not as a medium, but as a genre, which was one of the first steps to the paring down of the diversity of our readership.”
§ When Emerald City Comic Con teamed up with Reed Pop, Rose City Comic Con, formerly allied with ECCC, was left alone. But it seems its heart will go on, as showrunner Ron Brister says the last event drew 26,000 people:
Rose City is already reaping the benefits of its short-lived partnership. Comic book artists and vendors are now contacting them, booking spots as far out as 2016. As far as financials go, you don’t have to work hard to figure out that 26,000 by $20 a ticket equals a pretty decent profit.
Despite their newfound reputation and skyrocketing popularity, Rose City organizers are looking to keep a reserved approach to growth, Brister said.
§ Former Diamond vp of purchasing Bill Shanes
has joined games company Cryptozoic as a VP,
as has another Diamond alum, John Parker
. That’s a strong line-up for any company.
§ I missed this interview with Jeanine Schaefer, departed Marvel editor, at DC Women Kicking Ass Schaefer left Marvel to move west with her husband, DC editor Mark Doyle, but she left her mark.
I think we’ve discussed the impact that digital can have on changing the demographics of comics – what’s the most interesting thing you saw as digital became a force in the comic business?
Ms. Marvel! Ms. Marvel is a JUGGERNAUT on the app. But I think that reflects the bigger story, which is that there’s an untapped market that’s dying to buy comics. Young women and girls especially are a large percentage of the digital comics market. But the internet has always been a haven for women to create and connect, and as social media and digital distribution becomes bigger, so do women’s voices.
§ Meanwhile, sad news in that the incomparable Zainab Akhtar is cutting back her posting to once a week. NOOOO! But she is writing some reviews fo the AV Club, such as this one on First Year Healthy:
First Year Healthy reads smoothly, its striking art cause for pause and contemplation, offering possibilities and interpretations to be gleaned. It may mean this, it could mean that; it probably means both, and something else besides. And that’s the beauty of DeForge.
§ Do you remember two years ago when a Chicago school decided to pull Persepolis from its curriculum because of a scene of torture? Well, a FOIA request has revealed the rest of the story.
The first e-mail was sent at 12:54 AM on Saturday, March 9, 2013, from Chandra James to Annette Gurley. James was the network chief for a group of elementary schools on the west side. And Gurley is the chief officer of Teaching and Learning, which oversees curricula. “I’ve attached a copy of 2 pages from the book ‘Persepolis’ that was sent to schools,” James wrote. “In my opinion it is not appropriate at all. Please let me know if I can pull the book from my schools.” Her e-mail included attachments to an image from Persepolis that showed a prison guard urinating on a prisoner, and parts in the book where the words “bastard” and “fucked” are used. At 10:13 AM on Saturday, Gurley responded: “By all means, pull them.”
Much more in the link.
§ The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar is in trouble again, after being arrested for a tweet which was critical of a court ruling that convicted the mainopposition political leader of sodomy.
Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – was arrested on Tuesday night, hours after Mr Anwar was jailed for five years in a politically charged sodomy case. “Of course this is a form of intimidation, with the purpose that society does not question the authorities,” Fazlina Rosley, his wife, told AFP. “Zunar will not bow down to this intimidation. He will continue to criticise even if he remains in jail.”
Zunar has been fighting the good fight for free speech for a long time, but it seems Malaysia has a lot of problems with that old freedom thing
, like how you convict sometime to 20 years in jail for “sodomy.”
In recent years, as young voters have defected to the opposition and the government’s power has slipped, prosecutors have filed a raft of cases against critics, including opposition figures, a professor and a cartoonist. In the coming months, the government plans to strengthen and update an archaic sedition law, one of the main tools used to stifle dissenting voices.
This was the second prosecution of Mr. Anwar on a charge of sodomy. He spent six years in prison after a conviction in a separate sodomy trial by a different accuser but was acquitted on appeal in 2004. He has always insisted that the charges were baseless and politically motivated. Human rights groups question whether a law against sodomy should exist at all.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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by Pamela Auditore
Anyone familiar with Spike TV Scream Award Winner and New York Times Bestselling Artist/Writer Ben Templesmith’s work knows he is profoundly influenced by HP Lovecraft. Even a cursorary glance at his art makes this apparent. Lovecraft’s influence is most directly on display in Templesmith’s most recent graphic novel Squidder. A tale of a one time warrior doing battle and eluding the common place acolytes who’ve accepted the Dark Cephlopod Gods as their own.
But now, the marriage is official!
Templesmith will be tackling Lovecraft himself, the horror master who has influenced creators for nearly a century, including Mike Mignola, Nic Pizzolatto (“True Detective”) and GRR Martin.
In an e-mail yesterday, Templesmith, announced he is temporarily forgoing a sequel to Squidder, for an adaption of HP Lovecraft’s “DAGON.” “A proto-Chuthullu story,” as the Kickstarter page calls it.
As Templesmith tells it:
“‘DAGON’ is the first Lovecraft story I ever read… and is just oozing in mood and fear [sic]…so I figured I’d turn the visuals it gives me in to a deluxe graphic novella. I finally get to handle some of the unspeakable horrors of Lovecraft, especially because it’s the 125th anniversary of his birth.”
Templesmith also says he will be working on Fell, and is in talks with Warren Ellis for more issues of Wormwood.
Whew the comics arts festival circuit news is flowing thick and fast; we’re in the middle of application season and hearts and minds are turning to tabling. And the CAFs are answering back with news.
§ First off, the revamped APE (Alternative Press Expo) has revealed its dates and location: October 3-4 2015 at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose. This is by all accounts a fine spot for a show, and the new San Jose-based APE sounds like its off to a good start. There is a one day overlap with CXC in Columbus, but what are ya gonna do—even the CAF circuit is busting out these days.
§ Short Run, the indie themed event held in Seattle, has announced its dates: Saturday, October 31st at the Fisher Pavilion at Seattle Center.
WHAT?! That’s right: get ready for a “scary” good time with Short Run as we take over Halloween afternoon with comix, zines, art books, mask-making, experimental animation, and much more. There will be both tricks and treats with 250 exhibitors under the Space Needle.
WHERE??!! Yes, it’s true: our beloved Washington Hall will be under construction this entire year as they make much needed renovations. In 2015, we’ll be returning to Seattle Center (site of the very first Short Run festival), and this time, we’ll be in the grand, expansive Fisher Pavilion. We are excited to offer both exhibitors and attendees wider aisle space in this new venue!
WHO?… Well, stay tuned! We’ll be announcing our 2015 special guests soon, as well as opening applications for this year’s exhibitors. We had such an incredible experience with our international guests last year, that we will continue to bring comix artists from around the world to Seattle.
Sounds like a good time.
§ ELCAF (The East London Comics Festival) has announced it’s expanding to two days this year, June 20-21, at a venue to be named later. This show has been getting a strong reputation for indies and it’s doubling in size. Applications are also open. (h/t Zainab)
§ Finally, April’s Lineworks NW, the Portland, OR based indie fest has announced its first four guests: Daniel Clowes, Lisa Hanawalt, Lisa Congdon and Jay Howell. Clowes and Hanawalt are best known for their comics; Congdon is afire artist and Howell does animation designs for such things as Bob’s Burgers. All four have heavy multi-media portfolio, and mixing up a CAF with guests from allied arts and animation is a very smart move and probably something we’ll see a lot more of.
More CAF news coming! If you have info on a show you would like to pass long, please email The Beat at comicsbeat at gmail dot com.
2015, the year of the team up. Brooklyn’s Hang Dai Editions, a studio whose members include Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, Seth Kushner, and Josh Neufeld, will team up with Alternative Comics for distribution and some publishing in 2015.
Haspiel and Neufeld were previously published by Alternative during the early aughts when Geoffrey Mason ran the line. Current publisher Marc Arsenault is happy to welcome them back to the fold. “Josh and Dean were a big part of Alternative in the past—not just as creators. It’s nice to have that continuity. I’m looking forward to everything that comes out of their studio.”
The line-up includes the long awaited SCHMUCK by Kushner, delayed by his illness and now happily back on track following his miraculous recovery. And new work by Haspiel, Benton and Neufeld is always welcome. Here’s the lineup:
SCHMUCK by Seth Kushner and various artists
184-pages. Full color.
SCHMUCK is a graphic novel memoir about one man’s awkward coming-of-age-quest to find love in New York City, written by SETH KUSHNER, with design by ERIC SKILLMAN and a forward by JONATHAN AMES. SCHMUCK is an anthology featuring art by 23 great cartoonists, including; Nick Bertozzi, Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld, Noah Van Sciver, Leland Purvis, Sean Pryor, Bobby Timony, Shamus Beyale, Ryan Alexander-Tanner, George Schall, Nathan Schreiber, Stephen Destefano, Jon Allen, Christa Cassano, Kevin Colden, Tony Salmons, George Jurard, Omar Angulo, Pierce Hargan, Skuds Mckinley, James O Smith, Tim Ogline and cover by Joseph Remnant.
SMOKE by Gregory Benton
64-pages. Full color.
After an accident on an industrial farm unhinges two young brothers from reality, they are guided through a weird and wonderful journey by Xolo, the mythological protector of souls.
BEEF WITH TOMATO by Dean Haspiel
96-pages. B+W comix and essays. (published by Alternative Comics)
A native New York bruiser is fed up with life in the dregs of a drug-addled Alphabet City where his neighbors are shut-ins and his bicycle is always getting stolen. He escapes from Manhattan to make a fresh start in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, only to face a new strain of street logic — where most everything he encounters is not as it seems. Emmy Award-winning artist Dean Haspiel returns to his semi-autobiographical roots with BEEF WITH TOMATO, where he explores the emotional truths between prime and primate.
THE VAGABONDS #4 by Josh Neufeld
24-pages. Full color.
Josh Neufeld’s The Vagabonds #4 serves up a spicy blend of journalism, social commentary, memoir, and literary fiction. This issue features Neufeld’s story of racial profiling at the U.S./Canadian border and three collaborations with Neufeld’s wife, writer Sari Wilson. Throw in a couple of light-hearted travel tips, and The Vagabonds #4 is chock-full of the thought-provoking and witty comics Neufeld is known for.
HEART-SHAPED HOLE by Dean Haspiel
24-pages. Full color.
Billy Dogma and Jane Legit punch the apocalypse right in the kisser as their eternal war of woo breaks a Trip City-wide hymen.
SECRET SAUCE COMIX Vol.1 by Seth Kushner and various artists
28-pages. Full color.
Seth Kushner’s new anthology features a mix of fumetti/cosplay, indie/sci-fi, and Silver-age inspired heroes by way of THE BROOKLYNITE, drawn by Shamus Beyale, COSTUMED CHARACTERS, layouts by Dean Haspiel, and YOUTOPIA, illustrated by Charles Stewart.
Hang Dai’s previous books are also available
SCHMUCK COMIX #1
–Seth Kushner’s semi-autobio webcomic gets a print edition with three stories written by Seth and drawn by Jon Allen, Shamus Beyale and Noah Van Sciver. Cover by Gregory Benton.
PSYCHOTRONIC COMIX is Dean Haspiel’s anthology of memoir and Silver Age inspired genre featuring The Red Hook, Tommy Rocket, A-Okay Cool, and NY Stories.
FORCE OF NATURE by Gregory Benton, follows an artist through a lush forest as he searches for a lost sketchbook.
THE VAGABONDS #3
–After an eight-year hiatus, Josh Neufeld’s The Vagabonds returns with its third issue — now published by Hang Dai! Many things have changed in the interim: Neufeld produced three books, became a father, and won a year-long journalism fellowship. This issue highlights Neufeld’s journalistic work over the past few years, including reportage on Hurricane Sandy, the Arab Spring, the education wars (with writer Adam Bessie), and the life of a “comics journalist.”
A lone woman fights the odds in this no-holds-barred short companion piece to B+F by Gregory Benton.
POCKET BOOK 2 by Gregory Benton
Drawn from life, pages from Gregory Benton’s sketchbooks create a loose narrative. Travel through the NYC subway, take in a concert or two, and wash up on the beach.
Sparkplug Books has just put out new of their new mini series, with work by Suzette Smith, Olivia Horvath, Nalleli Sierra, Ebin Lee and Solomon Fletcher. I’m not familiar with most of these, but I’m always interested in whatever Sparkplug is putting out.
Here’s the line-up:
Sparkplug Books is pleased to announce the addition of 5 new titles to the Sparkplug Minis Series in 2015. The Sparkplug Minis Series (SMS) is a collection of short run, limited addition mini comics by up-and-coming and outstanding artists. So far the series has included books by Asher Craw, Whit Taylor and Yumi Sakugawa. In 2015, five more excellent artists will join the roster.
• Ce Ze (SMS #4) by Suzette Smith will debut in April. Smith is a graduate of the IPRC comics certificate program. Her work has appeared inComics Workbook, Bitch Magazine and the Portland Mercury. Description of Ce Ze: “Honey Czarny and Amelia Smith are 7th graders who share fragmented memories of past lives in which they were powerful beings named Ce and Ze. A rival king’s plot to murder Ze forced her to flee her kingdom. Ce and Ze study and emulate human behavior but wish to return to their realm. “
• SMS #5 will be by Olivia Horvath and is slated to come out in June. Horvath is a printmaker, comic artist and Xeric Grant recipient from Providence, RI.
• SMS #6 by is by Nalleli Sierra, a.k.a. Naji and is coming out in September. Naji is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Her work has appeared in Linework comics anthology.
• SMS #7 is by Portlander Ebin Lee. The release of this comic will coincide with Short Run Comics Festival in Seattle, WA this coming October. Lee is a graduate of PNCA and an accomplished illustrator and self-publisher.
• SMS #8 is slated for February 2016 and will be by Solomon Fletcher. Fletcher is a comics artist from Minneapolis. They are the author of many minicomics and the sex positive webcomic Goldy and the Bears.
We hope you are looking forward to these new books as much as we are!
CE ZE (SMS #4)
By Suzette Smith
April 2015 Ÿ$6.00
B&W with color cover
TITLE TBD (SMS #5)
By Olivia Horvath
June 2015 Ÿ$6.00
B&W with color cover
TITLE TBD (SMS #6)
By Nalleli Sierra (Naji)
September 2015 Ÿ$6.00
B&W with color cover
TITLE TBD (SMS #7)
By Ebin Lee
October 2015 Ÿ$6.00
B&W with color cover
TITLE TBD (SMS #8)
By Solomon Fletcher
February 2016 Ÿ$6.00
B&W with color cover
After a lengthy hiatus, the creative team behind Image Comics’ EGOs is back in action and ready to serve up more interplanetary crime drama with their upcoming fifth issue. Writer Stuart Moore and artist Gus Storms were kind enough to take some time to chat with the Beat about their series, in addition to humoring some ill-fated Beyoncé puns.
Comics Beat: So let’s start with the basics. Give us the gist of what’s going on in EGOs for new readers.
Stuart Moore: EGOs is basically about a superhero team in the far future, but what’s it’s really about is a marriage between two of the founding members. They’ve been together a long time, and they’ve had a lot of ups and downs, and it’s kind of a show business marriage because they’re both stars in a way. Deuce, the leader, is a former pretty boy who now uses a thing called an “imager” to make his face look younger than it is whenever he’s on camera. Pixel was very young when she joined the team, and she’s become her own brand and has sponsors and products and stuff like that. So they both basically have their own lives. In the course of the first storyline which is collected in the first trade, Quintessence, Deuce decides to re-form the team. Mostly because of a huge threat to galactic peace, but also because he wants to be relevant again and he kind of feels Pixel slipping away from him, and thinks this could be a way to bring them together again.
CB: And what will be going on in the forthcoming issues?
SM: So having set all that up, in this arc we’re setting up a big galactic conspiracy – a sort of invisible threat to the entire galactic economy. And in the course of investigating that, what happens is we meet a lot of new characters, and it becomes a bit of a mystery. Some combination of these characters are behind this gigantic plot, and it’s up to the two EGOs teams on two different planets to unravel and solve this mystery. So what we’re doing with the two main characters, Deuce and Pixel, they were together in the first story, but now they are completely apart. Deuce is involved in the core of the conspiracy on Earth, while Pixel is leading a stealth team on the remote, lawless planet of Tortuga with a subset of the team. So they’re off in two different places. It’s kind of weird because their relationship is still the heart of the story, it runs through every page of the book, but we’re really seeing them do their jobs here, and we’re seeing them do it separately. So it’s this weird mix of superhero and science fiction and in this story, crime drama.
CB: There’s quite a time gap between the release of the last issue and the date for the upcoming fifth issue. What caused the extended break?
SM: Well, I needed time to rethink the thing. Gus isn’t quite a monthly comics artist, he needs more than a month to do a book. And it ended up being a little longer than we planned because the two of us are doing a two part story for DC as part of their Convergence storyline. So that wound up delaying our return a little bit. But it should work out nicely since Convergence will come out during the middle of this EGOs run, so hopefully people will notice the two things together.
CB: Is there anything different about how you’re approaching the making of the book this time around?
SM: The biggest difference for me is that it’s a much longer, more extended storyline. I had to plot it out in great detail. The first part is sort of a teaser, issue six is almost a little self-contained story within the story, and then it’s full-barrel to the end with a lot of twists and turns for the next three issues.
Gus Storms: I had fun with the art – it’s totally more terrestrial. It’s more location based and there’s nothing I love more than drawing location, as in the people in it and world-building. So I didn’t approach it differently, I just think that art-wise it’s more in my bailiwick and my natural inclinations.
SM: I actually had Gus in mind for Tortuga, which is a former prison planet that’s now sort of a lawless trading world. A lot of the long-time inhabitants are missing limbs and have artificial limbs and I thought that was just right for Gus. “Shankers” are a mass produced sort of artificial limb, and they’re a very important element to the story, as in who has them and what they’re used for.
CB: So does a lot of research go into the writing for this, science and space-wise?
SM: Well, I try and make it a little more plausible than a lot of comics! I have sort of a background in science fiction, and my father was a nuclear physicist, so I don’t come from that side of the family at all. I don’t understand any of that stuff, but I like bashing my head against it every once in awhile. So I try to keep current, but at the same time I’ve written stuff much more hardcore sci-fi than this. This is at core a superhero story with a science background, and when you get down to people’s powers… there is only so plausible it gets. In terms of the story-telling approach, I want to work as drama first, and then make it as plausible as possible, rather than the other way around.
GS: And this one is more cyber-punk than space opera. The first one is really sort of a more space opera, and this one is dystopia noir.
SM: That’s interesting, I hadn’t thought about it as cyber-punk, but it probably seems that way because of the noir influence. There’s a pretty hard edge to issue six when you meet some of the suriviors of the Crunch War. One of the new characters, the Commander, fought it in. What that war did to these people, and these planets, is a crucial part in where the story is going. I’m very fond of an old subset of noir that focuses on damaged WWII veterans and the crimes they committed, and it was something people were writing a lot about in the 1950’s and that influenced this story as well, but in a more futuristic context.
CB: So in to your first collected trade, you had an essay on why you took on the mantle of writer/editor and how Gus is also sort of an artist/editor. Are you sticking to those titles this time around?
SM: So what I said, for those who haven’t read it, is that I very purposefully gave myself the title of writer/editor on this book, which I got some criticism for, and I expected. But I did it for a couple of reasons. One was there are projects I do where I need an outside editor, I could absolutely not do without one, and then there’s EGOs where I pretty much know where I’m going. Gus backstops me, he’s absolutely invaluable in story matters, and so does Marie Javins who has been our co-publisher and co-editor all along. But I don’t really need a traditional editor on this book. I’ve been a comics editor myself, I’ve edited a lot of books, so I pretty much know what I’m doing. More than that, it was almost a little tribute to the fact that in the 1970’s and 80’s when I start really reading comics, a lot of people had that title, and a lot of the best comics published were under that title. Howard the Duck, Firestorm, Conan, even things like Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four were done that way for awhile. It fell out of favor partly because most of the major companies don’t work that way anymore, but it’s kind of my way of showing that this can still be a valid way to work on the right project.
GS: We don’t have a lot of continuity stuff to manage, which is a big part of the Big Two editorship. I think [Moore] needs an enforcer, you need someone to hassle the artist more.
CB: So let’s talk about the art. It’s been great seeing it develop across issues and tighten up to where it’s at now. It seems like you draw a lot of inspiration from French comics and the like, so did you have anything in mind when you started creating these designs?
GS: The process of the artist is just trying to shore up your deficiencies. So I’m just trying to occlude my poor drawing as much as possible. As far as inspiration… definitely a lot of the European guys. I like static shots. Not a huge fan of the forced perspective, sort of fish-eye lens type comics bombast you see in American mainstream. Lifetime Moebius devotee, and Darrow and Quitely. I always have trouble with people – with drawing handsome and attractive people. I find them way less interesting than the weird, grotesque side characters. Part of the evolution of EGOs art wise is that EGOs started as my first all-digital thing, working on the Cintiq, and there’s a big learning curve there. The most recent book has a lot of zipitone, and you can just sort of throw it on willy-nilly, so that’s sort of a different look. I like in particular the bar scenes. I would just draw weird back-water bars all day if I could.
SM: When I plotted out the first storyline, Gus wasn’t onboard yet, but I had him much more in mind on this arc.
GS: I found a lot of difficulties in the first one, there was just so much “people floating in space.” I had a hard time making that interesting. And some people can do it so well, like aerial fights. I had to figure out how to do it.
CB: Tell me a little about what it’s like to design such unique characters. Masse, for example, seems like he would have been very difficult to take from concept to execution.
GS: Yeah, that was maybe the most design discussion we had. I had originally wanted to make him more ambulatory – give him sort of malformed arms or something. But I think Stuart guided us in the right direction with that. He was a lot of fun. The other one I really enjoyed was Quark, which is the pink, constantly-shifting, energy dude. And the most high concept design guys come a little later in the story, and they’re an interesting… firm-type thing.
SM: Oh yeah, the Quantum Trust. This story is a little more grounded, as we said, and most of the characters are human or humanoid. But there are some pretty strange looking people coming.
CB: Is there anything you hate drawing that you found yourself having to improve on this series? Maybe something that you’re now good at drawing?
GS: I meannnn, I don’t think I got GOOD at drawing any of the stuff. This is my first job pretty much save for one little comic project I did out of school. And in school, when I was drawing, everyone was just really ugly and monstrous, so I guess I just had to draw allegedly attractive people. You know, Deuce and Pixel are supposed to be good-looking – they’re celebrities. I did have to focus on trying to make people look comely.
SM: I’ll add one other thing – these are not easy scripts. One of the games with EGOs for me was to pack as much into each story as I could without seeming crowded. That was one of the things I really wanted to do. Partly because I think if you’re going to do an original indie comic where people aren’t buying it for Batman, you need to really give people their money’s worth. If people are going to pay three dollars for an issue of this comic, I want them to walk away thinking they really got an experience. And that means there’s a lot of scene-changes, there’s a lot of characters, there’s a lot going on. These scripts are not easy to draw, and Gus has done a beautiful job at every stage.
GS: The best part is design, and it’s just been an option to constantly design little pieces, like Shara’s home world that you see just for a second. That kind of thing is all over the comic, which is a real treat.
CB: Anything else you’d like readers to know about what’s to come?
SM: Well, there are a lot of twists and turns. Not all the characters will necessarily survive… Basically what I had wanted to do with this story is do a large-scale epic where the villain is hidden. The villain is not out in plain sight, you don’t know who it is. And kind of bring some of the ways a good police procedural story work into this and see what happens. Hopefully that’ll work, hopefully people will like it…
I’ll just say one more thing. When it came time to decide whether or not to continue this book, and how long to continue it for, I plotted out the story and I sat down and wrote issue five. I know I’m too close to really know, but I think it’s the best script I’ve ever written for comic books. And then issue six is good, but I think issue seven is even better. So if people have read my stuff this is the one I would recommend, because out of all the comics I’ve written, I’m as happy with this one as anything I’ve ever done.
GS: I second that. I love it. It’s been a lot of fun to work on. It’s a great story, it’s exactly the type of thing that I like to read.
EGOs #5 is due out February 4th from Image Comics. Item Code: DEC140641
Festival poster by Tim Lane
Whitney Taylor continues to be my favorite investigative comics journalist—well, maybe investigative is too strong a word, but if “talking to a lot of people and painting a picture” is the criterion, Whit is it, as her report on Comic Arts Brooklyn shows. This was a strong show but one that experienced an unexpected glitch: a lot of people thought it was a two day show and didn’t come to the exhibits on Saturday. This resulted in a smaller crowd and, for some, lower sales. On the day there was a lot of anxiety—it’s like basing your business plan on Christmas sales and then there’s a big blizzard the day of the big sale—but everyone seems to have survived intact.
And yet, is a financial model this precarious one that is “sustainable”? I predict sustainable will be THE word of 2015, as a the last few days of posts here have been exploring. Taylor talks about the model with many publishers and creators and key behind the scenes people like publishing rep Tony Shenton, and while everyone is optimistic, there is no real consensus on whether things are working, improving or just providing a false illusion of hope:
Sustainability is a word that I hear floating around the small-press comics world. This is an industry people choose to get into primarily because they love the medium of comics, not because of the money, but that doesn’t mean that financial concerns aren’t real, albeit complicated and often frustrating. “Art and commerce is always a troubled combination,” says Fowler. “It’s a contradiction. I’m an idealist, and I like to see artists making work apart from considerations of the marketplace, but I’m involved in a commercial enterprise related to the sale of artwork. These issues are larger than comics, but they’re predicated by living under the dominant economic model of capitalism. Artists shouldn’t think about commerce when they’re making work, but in America people vote with their pocketbooks, and it feels good when a stranger gives you money for your art. It’s important.”
The piece is full of great pull quotes, like Kevin Czapiewski:
Czapiewski also emphasized the dynamic nature of the industry. “I get the sense that the landscape is the middle of a transition, like our ideas about comics shows are evolving, largely in response to this question of whether or not they can be sustainable. I’m optimistic,” he says. “That said, I have to recognize that even my role models need to supplement their publishing operations with one or more other sources of income. We may not be able to completely sustain ourselves on selling comics, but maybe there are ways to make money from the infrastructure of comics, like printing and distribution (those webcomics guys were trying to make a business as Kickstarter campaign consultants… did that go anywhere?). Also, it may sound counter-intuitive, but I feel like the continuing diversification of the playing field, with more and more different people making and selling comics, is a good thing overall.”
On her tumblr, Anya Davidson informally announced that her comic strip Band for Life will be collected by a pretty major publisher, but we’ll refrain from putting it in the announcement since it’s “informal.”
Band for Life was long serialized at Vice, but is now available in full on Davidson’s website, where it updates every Friday. it’s about the colorful, raucus and surreal adventures of a band of misfits in a world where some people sort of look like monsters. So yeah, Doug for a new generation.
Band for LIfe was nominated for an Ignatz, and her previous book, School Spirits, was published by Picturebox.
By: Heidi MacDonald
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By Bruce Lidl
Lost somewhat in the initial burst of news from last week’s ImageExpo was the announcement of a new Image Humble Bundle offering, beginning that morning and lasting until January 21. The “Humble Image Comics Bundle 2: Image Firsts” is a massive collection of digital comics that can be purchased for whatever price the consumer chooses. Included in the basic bundle are the beginning issues of a number of recent series, including Alex + Ada, Deadly Class, C.O.W.L., Elephantmen 2260 Book One, Minimum Wage, God Hates Astronauts, Genius, and Satellite Sam. Paying at least $15 also gets you the slightly higher profile titles The Manhattan Projects, The Wicked + The Divine, The Fuse, Velvet, Sex Criminals, Wytches, The Walking Dead Vol. 22: A New Beginning (#127-132), The Fade Out #1, Nailbiter, Stray Bullets, Southern Bastards, and Shutter. And finally, a stretch price of $18 brings The Walking Dead Compendium One (#1-48), East of West: The World, and Saga Book One (#1-18). For anybody at all interested in Image brand comics, the price truly cannot be beat, especially as the retail price of the comics would be over $300 according to Humble Bundle. Also, purchasers are strongly encouraged to mark a portion of their price paid towards charity, in this case the comics creator focused Hero Initiative. As of this evening, the Image bundle has generated almost $318,000, with over five days left to go.
The current offering is the third Humble Bundle to include Image titles. The first time Humble Bundle included any digital comics was the Image bundle in April 2014 that generated almost $400,000 revenue in two weeks, with titles including Saga, Walking Dead, Fatale, Invincible and Chew. Image imprint Skybound also did a special Comic-Con Humble Bundle in July 2014 as well, which was almost entirely Kirkman based titles such as The Walking Dead, Invincible, Thief of Thieves, and Super Dinosaur. That bundle alone generated $232,000.
Other comic publishers that have released Humble Bundles since April include Dark Horse, Oni, Dynamite, BOOM!, IDW, Top Shelf and Valiant. According to Kelley Allen, Director of Books for Humble Bundle, comics publishers are eager to work with them, and she has a number of ebook and comics bundles planned in 2015 alongside Humble Bundle’s traditional gaming focused offerings. The average revenue number for the comics based bundles so far has been $288,000 for the 14 day period. According to Allen, non-gaming bundles allow Humble to “break out from their core gaming audience” but from the comics perspective, they can also create “enormous crossover” by getting great comics in front of the very large Humble Bundle community. With a very clearly defined, and devoted, young male demographic, Humble Bundle chooses comics with both a logical appeal, like Transformers, Star Wars and The Walking Dead, but Allen also curates high quality titles that may stretch demographic borders. She “pushed very hard” to include titles like Sex Criminals in the latest Image bundle, trusting the Humble Bundle audience to appreciate an outstanding title, even without prior awareness.
While the Humble Bundles may help expand the reach of digital comics, they are also helping to encourage comics publishers to feel comfortable with forgoing DRM protections for their products. Humble Bundles, regardless of content, gaming or ebooks, do not use Digital Rights Management anti-copying technologies, both for philosophical reasons and from a practical standpoint. As Allen pointed out, why use DRM when the consumer could theoretically decide to purchase the content for one cent in any case? Even Dark Horse, which has been very reluctant to forgo DRM generally, was convinced to try not using it for their big Star Wars themed Humble Bundle in October and was rewarded with sales over $375,000 for the two week offering.
Fundamentally, the Humble Bundle “pay what you want” approach reflects exactly the insights independent game developers have learned over the years in regards to digital sales. Since their products are almost universally available to be pirated, often in formats that are actually *more* user friendly than the official versions, game creators have learned to embrace the concept of giving customers compelling reasons to purchase, in the recognition that they do not have to anymore. Distribution options like Steam and Humble Bundle provide explicit value beyond what a pirated version can give, whether through ease of use, personal connection to the creators, community recognition, charitable giving, etc. The Humble Bundle experiment really leverages the unique potential of digital distribution, as the pay what you want model could not really scale in a system that necessitated fulfillment and postage charges. With this almost “donation” type model there is no extra expense for the seller after the first sale, everything after that is essentially “profit.” And the possibility that the new readers exposed to the material may become fans, and go on to make further purchases, even print purchases in local comic books stores, only heightens the value of the Humble Bundle offering. We are likely to see a number of interesting comics based bundles in 2015 and we will learn if this kind of non-traditional sales can become a significant portion of publishers’ revenue, in much the same way digital has already established itself recently.
By: Heidi MacDonald
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Brought to you by Publishers Weekly, it’s More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
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By Kate Reynolds
November saw a slew of new titles from Image with some pretty serious sales, most notably ODY-C from Matt Fraction and Tooth & Claw from Kurt Busiek. Wytches, the new Scott Snyder title from Image continues. It was also a good month for Dark Horse as the “Fire and Stone” event keeps chugging along.
Marvel and DC have finally stopped having major events, so we are back this month with almost 140 indie titles for you. Overall indie title sales were down 23.3% at 1,488,193 comparedto last month’s 1,939571. for an average sale of 10,706.
Image is still number one with an 10.2% dollar share and a 11.06% market share. They had 7 of the top 100 books overall. IDW came in at second place with a 5.65% dollar share and a 4.53% market share. Next, Dark Horse had a 4.85% dollar share and a 3.58% market share, Dynamite has a 2.84% dollar share and a 2.54% market share, while Boom! has a 2.73% dollar share and a 2.68% market share.
UK and European sales from Diamond UK are not reported in this chart.
Thanks to icv2.com and Milton Griepp for permission to use these numbers, which are estimates only.
14. Walking Dead #134 (Image)
8/1/2014: Walking Dead #130 - $71,885 (-1.4%)
9/1/2014: Walking Dead #131 - 69,810 (-2.95)
10/1/2014:Walking Dead #132 - 326,334 (+367.5)
10/1/2014: Walking Dead #133 - 69,561 (-78.7%)
11/1/2014: Walking Dead #134 - 68,093 (-2.1%)
Slight drop, but still holding steady in the upper sixty thousand range. It doesn’t looks like this is going anywhere anytime soon.
19. Wytches #2 (Image)
10/1/2014: WYTCHES #1 - 67,996
11/1/2014: WYTCHES #2 - 58,345 (-14.2%)
Snyder’s new book at Image appears to be a smashing success, with a negligible drop between the first and second issues of the series. Can’t wait for more!
36. ODY-C #1 (Image)
11/1/2014: ODYC #1 - 47,414
Yet another solid start to Matt Fraction’s futuristic re-telling of The Odyssey . It’s gender-bending psychedelic fun.
45. Tooth & Claw (Image)
11/1/2014: TOOTH & CLAW #1 - 41,181
Haven’t had the pleasure of reading this book yet, but surely 40,000 people can’t be wrong? It’s already getting a second printing, and due to some copyright issues, a new title.
47. Outcast #5 (Image)
6/1/2014: Outcast #1 - 71,788
7/1/2014: Outcast #2 - 55,126 (-23.2%)
8/1/2014: Outcast #3 - 46,717 (-15.2%)
9/1/2014: Outcast #4 - 45,401 (-2.8%)
11/1/2014:Outcast #5 - 39,967 (-12.0%)
Looks like it might stabilize in the 30k range. Needless to say Kirkman and Azaceta are bringing plenty of readers.
90. My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #25 (IDW)
5/1/2014: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #19 - 22,820 (-12.5%)
6/1/2014: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #20 - 20,711 (-9.2%)
7/1/2014: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #21 - 20,871 (+0.8%)
8/1/2014: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #22 - 21,642 (+3.7%)
9/1/2014: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #23 - 19,491 (-9.9%)
10/1/2014:My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #24 - 20,762 (+6.5%)
11/1/2014:My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #25 - 26,619 (+28.2%)
Slight upswing last month for the ponies.
98.Fade Out (Image)
8/1/2014: FADE OUT #1 - 34,447
10/1/2014: FADE OUT #2 - 27,797 (-19.3%)
11/1/2014: FADE OUT #3 - 24,584 (-11.6%)
If Fade Out follows the trend from Phillips and Brubaker’s previous series Fatale, it should level out in the high teens soon. Looks like they have another mid-range hit on their hands.
109. Drifter #1 (Image)
11/1/2014: DRIFTER #1 - 20,887
November saw several new titles from Image, and this piece of mind-bending science fiction has pulled in a respectable amount of readers.
116. Trees (Image)
5/1/2014: Trees #1 - 31,926 --
6/1/2014: Trees #2 - 25,515 (-20.1%)
7/1/2014: Trees #3 - 23,822 (-6.6%)
8/1/2014: Trees #4 - 23,639 (-0.8%)
9/1/2014: Trees #5 - 22,244 (-5.9%)
10/1/2014: Trees #6 - 20,720 (-6.9%)
11/1/2014: Trees #7 - 19,287 (-6.9%)
Slight drop for this title, but considering how many “Best Comics of 2014″ lists I’ve seen it on, I wouldn’t be worried.
119. Birthright #2 (Image)
10/1/2014: BIRTHRIGHT #1 - 27,234
11/1/2014: BIRTHRIGHT #2 - 18,484 (-32.1%)
This is a healthy second issue drop that could lead to stabilization in the lower teens.
121. Intersect #1 (Image)
11/1/2014: INTERSECT #1 - 18,292
Not a bad debut for Ray Fawkes’s new series of doom and madness.
125. The Humans #1 (Image)
11/1/2014: HUMANS #1 - 17,274.
Whether it’s the public’s obsessions with apes or nostalgia for the 70’s exploitation genre, Tom Neely and Keenan Marshall Keller has certainly captured the attention of a nice chunk of readers.
127. BTVS Season 10 #9 (Dark Horse)
6/1/2014: Btvs Season 10 #4 - 19,365 (-5.8%)
7/1/2014: Btvs Season 10 #5 - 18,827 (-2.8%)
8/1/2014: Btvs Season 10 #6 - 18,121 (-3.7%)
9/1/2014: Btvs Season 10 #7 - 17,701 (-2.3%)
10/1/2014: BTVS Season 10 #8 - 17,729 (+1.6%)
11/1/2014: BTVS Season10 #9 - 17,067 (-3.7%)
Let’s face it, despite a little dip last month, Buffy is still slaying it.
128. Velvet #8 (Image)
10/1/2013: Velvet #1 - 41,897 --
12/1/2013: Velvet #2 - 25,549 (-39.0%)
1/1/2014: Velvet #3 - 23,177 (-9.3%)
3/1/2014: Velvet #4 - 21,412 (-7.6%)
5/1/2014: Velvet #5 - 20,258 (-5.4%)
7/1/2014: Velvet #6 - 18,775 (-7.3%)
9/1/2014: Velvet #7 - 17,901 (-4.7%)
11/1/2014: Velvet #8 - 17,035 (-4.8%)
A slight drop as we hit the middle of the second story-arc, but the titular silver-streaked agent still commands attention.
132. TMNT Ghostbusters #2 (IDW)
10/1/2014: TMNT GHOSTBUSTERS #1 - 21,223
11/1/2014: TMNT GHOSTBUSTERS #2 - 16,624 (-21.7%)
This comic manages to capture the essence of each franchise and flawlessly blends them together. With a healthy second issue drop, this mini-series is mirroring the strong sales of the TMNT ongoing.
134. Lazarus #13 (Image)
4/1/2014: Lazarus #8 - 19,826 (-1.6%)
7/1/2014: Lazarus #9 - 19,066 (-3.8%)
8/1/2014: Lazarus #10 - 18,051 (-5.3%)
9/1/2014: Lazarus #11 - 16,531 (-8.4%)
10/1/2014: Lazarus #12 - 16,838 (+1.9%)
11/1/2014: Lazarus #13 - 16,094 (-4.4%)
There’s a slight slump coming into the second arc of Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s post-apocalyptic series. However, there should be more excitement coming up if Forever Carlyle completes her current mission as ordered.
135. John Carter Warlord #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
11/1/2014: JOHN CARTER WARLORD #1 - 15,930
I’m always pleased to see Edgar Rice Burroughs’s legacy continuing on – especially with such sturdy numbers for the Warlord’s new series. This is also one of the strongest debuts a Dynamite title has seen recently.
139. My Little Pony Friends Forever #11 (IDW)
7/1/2014: My Little Pony Friends Forever #7 - 19,850 (+9.5%)
8/1/2014: My Little Pony Friends Forever #8 - 17,444 (-12%)
9/1/2014: My Little Pony Friends Forever #9 - 16,803 (-3.7%)
10/1/2014: My Little Pony Friends Forever #10 - 16,587 (-1.3%)
11/1/2014: MYy Little Pony Friends Forever #11 - 15,630 (-5.8%)
Not even friends are strong enough to fight off the standard attrition of ongoing series.
143. Django Zorro #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
11/1/2014: DJANGO ZORRO #1 - 15,468
First of all, you did read the title right. It’s a serious team-up between Django and Zorro, partially written by Quentin Tarantino himself. Secondly, knowing that, I’m surprised that it had fewer readers than John Carter.
144. Doctor Who 12th #2 (Titan)
10/1/2014: DOCTOR WHO 12TH #1 - 33,891
11/1/2014: DOCTOR WHO 12TH #2 - 15,277 (-54.9%)
A rather large first drop for the second issue. Only the Doctor himself could tell us where it will go from here.
146. TMNT Ongoing (IDW)
6/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #35 - 15,174 (-13.0%)
7/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #36 - 15,415 (+1.6%)
8/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #37 - 15,470 (+0.4%)
10/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #38 - 15,498 (+0.2%)
10/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #39 - 15,235 (-1.7%)
11/1/2014: TMNT Ongoing #40 - 14,734 (-3.3%)
A slight dip for the Turtles this month, still sales are very steady.
148. MPH #4 (Image)
5/1/2014: Mph #1 - 35,632 --
6/1/2014: Mph #2 - 21,937 (-38.4%)
9/1/2014: Mph #3 - 16,881 (-23.04%)
11/1/2014: MPH #4 - 14,657 (-13.2%)
Only one issue left of Millar and Dan Fegredo’s book.
149. Doctor Who 10th #4 (Titan)
7/1/2014: Doctor Who 10th #1 - 39,707
8/1/2014: Doctor Who 10th #2 - 10,410 (-73.8%)
10/1/2014: Doctor Who 10th #3 - 14,608 (+40.30%)
11/1/2014: Doctor Who 10th #4 - 14,296 (-2.1%)
Like the Doctor himself, this title has been all over the place in terms of sales. This month sees a tiny drop in numbers, but some much needed stabilization.
152. Deadly Class #9 (Image)
4/1/2014: Deadly Class #4 - 17,855 (-3.7%)
5/1/2014: Deadly Class #5 - 17,099 (-4.2%)
6/1/2014: Deadly Class #6 - 16,305 (-4.6%)
9/1/2014: Deadly Class #7 - 14,834 (-9.0%)
10/1/2014: Deadly Class #8 - 15,003 (+1.1%)
11/1/2014: Deadly Class #9 - 14,148 (-6.7%)
This is my favorite book that Remender has out right now – which is helped by the art of Wes Craig and Lee Loughridge. Regardless, a slight drop this month for Deadly Class.
154. Alien vs. Predator Fire and Stone #2 (Dark Horse)
10/1/2014: ALIEN VS PREDATOR FIRE AND STONE #1 - 20,319
11/1/2014: ALIEN VS PREDATOR FIRE AND STONE #2 - 13,942 (-31.4%)
A normal second issue drop. Not normal – how seriously amazing the Fire and Stone event has been so far.
155. Prometheus Fire and Stone #3 (Dark Horse)
9/1/2014: Prometheus Fire And Stone #1 - 19,468
10/1/2014: Prometheus Fire and Stone #2 - 14,407 (-24.8%)
11/1/2014: Prometheus Fire and Stone #3 - 13,624 (-5.4%)
159. Aliens Fire and Stone #3 (Dark Horse)
9/1/2013: Aliens Fire and Stone #1 - 19,878
10/1/2014: Aliens Fire and Stone #2 - 14,240 (-28.4%)
11/1/2014: Aliens Fire and Stone#3 - 13,357 (-6.2%)
160. Spread #4 (Image)
7/1/2014: Spread #1 - 21,150
8/1/2014: Spread #2 - 15,244 (-27.9%)
9/1/2014: Spread #3 - 15,691 (+2.9%)
11/1/2014: Spread #4 - 13,288 (-15.3%)
A significant drop this month for Justin Jordan’s post-apocalyptic tale. Ideally the sales as the first story-arc concludes in the next two issues.
161. Invincible #115 (Image)
5/1/2014: Invincible #111 - 18,440 (+46.8%)
6/1/2014: Invincible #112 - 14,413 (-21.8%)
8/1/2014: Invincible #113 - 13,642 (-5.3%)
9/1/2014: Invincible #114 - 13,921 (+2.0%)
11/1/2014: Invincible #115 - 13,277 (-4.6%)
166. Transformers vs. GI Joe #4 (IDW)
7/1/2014: Transformers Vs GI Joe #1 - 23,009
8/1/2014: Transformers Vs GI Joe #2 - 15,472 (-32.8%)
10/1/2014: Transformers Vs GI Joe #3 - 14,293 (-7.6%)
11/1/2014: Transformers Vs GI Joe #4 - 12,733 (-10.9%)
I’ve yet to actually read a Transformers vs. GI Joe comic, mainly because I get too enamored with the art. A drop this month, but it’s still selling better than either ongoing Transformers or GI Joe title.
167. Predator Fire and Stone #2 (Dark Horse)
10/1/2014: PREDATOR FIRE AND STONE #1 - 17,166
11/1/2014: PREDATOR FIRE AND STONE #2 - 12,695 (-26.0%)
These numbers officially tell us that Xenomorphs (Aliens) are more popular with earthlings than Predators. Argument settled.
168. Nailbiter (Image)
5/1/2014: Nailbiter #1 - 22,746
6/1/2014: Nailbiter #2 - 15,193 (-33.2%)
7/1/2014: Nailbiter #3 - 16,581 (+9.1%)
8/1/2014: Nailbiter #4 - 14,706 (-11.3%)
9/1/2014: Nailbiter #5 - 14,947 (+1.6%)
10/1/2014: Nailbiter #6 - 13,340 (-10.8%)
11/1/2014: Nailbiter #7 - 12,361 (-5.3%)
I can’t believe Nailbiter lost readers this month. Did they not realize that Brian Michael Bendis has a cameo in issue seven?
169. Manhattan Projects #25 (Image)
4/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #20 - 14,253 (-3.8%)
6/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #21 - 15,126 (+6.1%)
7/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #22 - 13,319 (-11.9%)
8/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #23 - 13,157 (-1.2%)
10/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #24 - 12,693 (-4.0%)
11/1/2014: Manhattan Projects #25 - 12,236 (-3.6%)
Despite the numbers (which are fairly normal for a comic of this duration), Manhattan Projects still has some great stories left.
170. Copperhead #3 (Image)
9/1/2014: Copperhead #1 - 24,272
10/1/2014: Copperhead #2 - 17,250 (-28.9%)
11/1/2014: Copperhead #3 - 12,079 (-30.0%)
Another large drop for Copperhead, ideally we’ll see more stable numbers next issue.
172. Spawn #248 (Image)
5/1/2014: Spawn #243 - 11,714 (-1.0%)
6/1/2014: Spawn #244 - 11,837 (+1.0%)
7/1/2014: Spawn #245 - 12,090 (+2.1%)
8/1/2014: Spawn #246 - 13,343 (+10.4%)
10/1/2014: Spawn #247 - 12,023 (-9.9%)
11/1/2014: Spawn #248 - 11,934 (-0.7%)
After a few months of growth, it looks like Spawn is dropping back to normal.
173. Rasputin #2 (Image)
10/1/2014: RASPUTIN #1 - 21,373
11/1/2014: RASPUTIN #2 - 11,693 (-45.3%)
If you know anything about the mythos of Rasputin, you’ll know that what doesn’t kill him makes Rasputin even stronger. I’m assuming this still applies to a substantial numbers drop between the first two issues.
174. Star Trek City on the Edge of Forever #5 (IDW)
6/1/2014: Star Trek City O/T Edge Of Forever #1 - 12,028
7/1/2014: Star Trek City O/T Edge Of Forever #2 - 11,224 (-6.7%)
8/1/2014: Star Trek City O/T Edge Of Forever #3 - 11,767 (+4.8%)
9/1/2014: Star Trek City O/T Edge Of Forever #4 - 11,785 (+0.1%)
11/1/2014: Star Trek City O/T Edge of Forever #5 - 11,614 (-1.5%)
Negligible decline in sales this month, Star Trek fans are one of the few consistent things in the universe.
175. Big Trouble in Little China #6 (BOOM! Studios)
6/1/2014: Big Trouble In Little China #1 - 24,160 --
7/1/2014: Big Trouble In Little China #2 - 14,838 (-38.6%)
8/1/2014: Big Trouble In Little China #3 - 14,076 (-5.1%)
9/1/2014: Big Trouble in Little China #4 - 13,370 (-5.0%)
10/1/2014: Big Trouble in Little China #5 - 12,598 (-5.8%)
11/1/2014: Big Trouble in Little China #6 - 11,483 (-8.9%)
A steady decline since the first issue, though the comic seems to be nearing stable territory.
178. Angel and Faith Season 10 #8 (Dark Horse)
4/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #1 - 17,820 (+33.6%)
5/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #2 - 14,200 (-20.3%)
6/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #3 - 13,029 (-8.2%)
7/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #4 - 12,468 (-4.3%)
8/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #5 - 11,957 (-4.1%)
9/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #6 - 11,593 (-3.5%)
10/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #7 - 11,457 (-1.2%)
11/1/2014: Angel And Faith Season 10 #8 - 11,129 (-2.9%)
While not as popular as Buffy, this title is steadily supported by fans of the darker duo.
181. Red Sonja #13 (Dynamite Entertainment)
4/1/2014: Red Sonja #8 - 12,392 (-1.8%)
5/1/2014: Red Sonja #9 - 11,850 (-4.4%)
6/1/2014: Red Sonja #10 - 11,685 (-1.4%)
8/1/2014: Red Sonja #11 - 11,298 (-3.4%)
9/1/2014: Red Sonja #12 - 11,431 (+1.3)
11/1/2014: Red Sonja #13 - 10,600 (-7.3%)
A new story-arc and a slight drop, we still don’t know which will prove more dangerous to the red She-Devil.
183. Chew #44 (Image)
2/1/2014: Chew #40 - 11,193 (-2.6%)
4/1/2014: Chew #41 - 10,835 (-3.2%)
6/1/2014: Chew #42 - 10,981 (-1.3%)
9/1/2014: Chew #43 - 10,777 (-1.9%)
11/1/2014: CHEW #44 - 10,526 (-2.3%)
I typically read Chew in trades, but murmurings in the comic community recently have made me want to dive in again. Not that you would be able to tell from these boringly steady sales.
185. Wayward #4 (Image)
8/1/2014: Wayward #1 - 29,240
9/1/2014: Wayward #2 - 15,053 (-48.5%)
10/1/2014: Wayward #3 - 10,795 (-28.3%)
11/1/2014: Wayward #4 - 10,318 (-2.3%)
Wayward is finally settling in to a solid place.
186. Bob's Burgers #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
8/1/2014: Bobs Burgers #1 - 20,157
9/1/2014: Bobs Burgers #2 - 11,030 (-45.2%)
10/1/2014: Bobs Burgers #3 - 9,571 (-13.2%)
11/1/2014: Bobs Burgers #4 - 10,160 (+6.2%)
Bob’s Burgers ended on a positive note this month. For readers of the comic, is it really the same without the voices?
187. Star Trek Ongoing #38 (IDW)
2/1/2014: Star Trek #30 $3.99 IDW 9,906 (-2.2%)
3/1/2014: Star Trek #31 $3.99 IDW 9,781 (-1.3%)
4/1/2014: Star Trek #32 $3.99 IDW 10,801 (+10.4%)
5/1/2014: Star Trek #33 $3.99 IDW 9,729 (-9.9%)
6/1/2014: Star Trek #34 $3.99 IDW 10,216 (+4.8%)
7/1/2014: Star Trek #35 $3.99 IDW 10,089 (-1.2%)
8/1/2014: Star Trek #36 $3.99 IDW 10,017 (-0.7%)
9/1/2014: Star Trek #37 $3.99 IDW 9,893 (-1.2%)
11/1/2014: Star Trek #38 $3.99 IDW 10,150 (+2.6%)
Slow and steady.
188. Edward Scissorhands #2 (IDW)
10/1/2014: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS #1 - 13,533
11/1/2014: EDWARD SCISSORHANDS #2 - 10,121 (-25.2%)
Kate Leth’s delightful writing cements a strong readership with a relatively minor second issue drop.
189. X-Files Seasons 10 #8 (IDW)
7/1/2014: X-Files Season 10 #14 - 10,850 (-5.6%)
8/1/2014: X-Files Season 10 #15 - 10,581 (-2.5%)
9/1/2014: X-Files Season 10 #16 - 10,067 (-4.9%)
10/1/2013: X-Files Season 10 #17 - 9,865 (-2.0%)
11/1/2014: X-Files Season 10 #18 - 9,915 (+0.5%)
Slight upswing this month.
191. Lumberjanes #8 (BOOM! Studios)
7/1/2014: Lumberjanes #4 - 9,988 (+9.2%)
9/1/2014: Lumberjanes #5 - 10,099 (+1.1%)
9/1/2014: Lumberjanes #6 - 10,029 (-0.7%)
10/1/2014: Lumberjanes #7 - 9,999 (-0.3%)
11/1/2014:Lumberjanes #8 - 9,543 (-4.6%)
Wow. Issue eight guys, that ending was crazy. I’m still processing.
192. Revival #25 (Image)
5/1/2014: Revival #20 - 10,341 (-0.4%)
6/1/2014: Revival #21 - 9,808 (-5.2%)
7/1/2014: Revival #22 - 9,931 (-1.9%)
8/1/2014: Revival #23 - 9,425 (-5.9%)
10/1/2014: Revival #24 - 9,019 (-4.7%)
11/1/2014: Revival #25 - 9,535 (+5.7%)
Slight increase for Revival.
193. Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #35 (IDW)
7/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #30 - 9,395 (-1.6%)
8/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #31 - 10,063 (+7.1%)
9/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #32 - 9,857 (-2.0%)
9/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #33 - 9,744 (-1.1%)
10/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #34 - 9,670 (-0.8%)
11/1/2014: Transformers More Than Meets Eye #35 - 9,390 (-2.9%)
Some negligible attrition.
194. Sinergy #1 (Image)
11/1/2014: SINERGY #1 - 9,380
A week debut for Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma’s new series. Despite the low numbers, the premise of the book “sex unlocks girls sixth sense” could just be a sleeper hit.
195. Transformers Robots in Disguise #35 (IDW)
6/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #30 - 9,714 (+1.8%)
7/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #31 - 8,706 (-10.4%)
8/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #32 - 9,762 (+12.1%)
9/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #33 - 10,815 (+10.8%)
10/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #34 - 9,418 (-12.9%)
11/1/2014: Transformers Robots In Disguise #35 - 9,354 (-0.7%)
With minor ups and down, Transformers has found it’s niche.
197. Roche Limit #3 (Image)
9/1/2014: Roche Limit #1 - 23,404 --
10/1/2014: Roche Limit #2 - 11,424 (-51.2%)
11/1/2014: Roche Limit #3 - 9,296 (-18.9%)
Still searching for solid ground.
198. Dawn Vampirella #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
9/1/2014: Dawn Vampirella #1 - 13,368 --
11/1/2014: Dawn Vampirella #2 - 9,248 (-30.8%)
A normal second issue drop-off.
199. Transformers Drift Empire of Stone #1 (IDW)
11/1/2014: TRANSFORMERS DRIFT EMPIRE OF STONE #1 - 9,246
Apparently we needed one more Transformer book. There are enough readers to support it.
201. Fairy Quest Outcasts #1 (BOOM! Studios)
11/1/2014: FAIRY QUEST OUTCASTS #1 - 8,958
I just read a quick synopsis of this issue, and it stole my heart. Here’s hoping it doesn’t lose too many readers in the second issue!
202. Alex + Ada #10 (Image)
6/1/2014: Alex + Ada #7 - 9,579 (-2.9%)
8/1/2014: Alex + Ada #8 - 9,453 (-1.3%)
10/1/2014: Alex + Ada #9 - 9,370 (-0.9%)
11/1/2014: Alex + Ada #10 - 8,946 (-4.5%)
Some attrition at play here, but the core audience still seems committed. I know I am!
203. Ten Grande #11 (Image)
2/1/2014: Ten Grand #7 - 13,201 (-14.1%)
3/1/2014: Ten Grand #8 - 12,117 (-8.2%)
4/1/2014: Ten Grand #9 - 11,210 (-7.5%)
7/1/2014: Ten Grand #10 - 10,354 (-7.6%)
11/1/2014: Ten Grand #11 - 8,932 (-13.7%)
I’d like to attribute these drops to attrition, but Ten Grande has suffered some sizable decline this year.
206. Sonic the Hedgehog #266 (Archie Comics)
1/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #256 $2.99 ARC 9,840 (-5.6%)
2/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #257 $2.99 ARC 9,325 (-5.2%)
3/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #258 $2.99 ARC 9,023 (-3.2%)
4/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #259 $2.99 ARC 6,228 (+5.2%)
5/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #260 $2.99 ARC 8,866 (-6.6%)
6/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #261 $2.99 ARC 8,822 (-0.5%)
7/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #262 $2.99 ARC 8,971 (+1.7%)
8/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #263 $2.99 ARC 9,135 (+1.8%)
9/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #264 $3.99 ARC 9,019 (-1.3%)
10/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #265 $3.99 ARC 8,869 (-1.7%)
11/1/2014: Sonic The Hedgehog #266 $3.99 ARC 8,822 (-0.5%)
Overall a fairly solid year for this series.
207. Deep State #1 (BOOM! Studios)
11/1/2014: DEEP STATE #1 - 8,768
Neither new series from Boom! managed to hit the 10k reader mark. This is totally a conspiracy that the agents from Deep State should look into.
208. Shadow Show #1 (IDW)
11/1/2014: SHADOW SHOW #1 - 8,634
This tribute to Ray Bradbury features new stories from Joe Hill and Jason Ciaramella (with art by Charles Paul Wilson). Perhaps the low reader numbers suggest the book had too many literary references?
209. GI Joe (2014) #3 (IDW)
9/1/2014: GI JOE (2014) #1 - 16,848
10/1/2014: GI JOE (2014) #2 - 9,708 (-42.4%)
11/1/2014: GI JOE (2014) #3 - 8,602 (-11.4%)
A small drop for the third issue. We’ll probably just see natural attrition at play with readers from here on out.
210. Grendel vs. Shadow #3 (Dark Horse)
9/1/2014 Grendel Vs Shadow #1 - 11,514
10/1/2014 Grendel Vs Shadow #2 - 9,571 (-17.1%)
11/1/2014 Grendel Vs Shadow #3 - 8,516 (-11.0 %)
This book costs $5.99. You could *almost* buy two other comics for the price of this single comic. All that to say the slight drop this month isn’t too bad considering how much the book itself costs.
211. Annihilator #3 (Legendary Comics)
9/1/2014: Annihilator #1 $3.99 RAN 10,345 --
10/1/2014: Annihilator #2 $3.99 RAN 6,482 (-37.3%)
11/1/2014: Annihilator #3 $3.99 RAN 8,383 (+29.3%)
After a large second issue drop, the third issue of Annihilator manages to pick up some new readers. I’m assuming word of mouth probably caught on for the third issue of Grant Morrison and Frazier Irving’s new comic.
213. X-O Manowar #30 (Valiant)
5/1/2014: X-O Manowar #25 - 12,493 (+45.4%)
6/1/2014: X-O Manowar #26 - 10,083 (-19.3%)
7/1/2014: X-O Manowar #27 - 9,183 (-8.9%)
8/1/2014: X-O Manowar #28 - 9,634 (+4.9%)
9/1/2014: X-O Manowar #29 - 8,566 (-11.1%)
11/1/2014: X-O Manowar #30 - 8,354 (-2.5%)
Numbers in near stasis for this month.
214. Thief of Thieves #25 (Image)
5/1/2014: Thief Of Thieves #21 - 9,625 (-2.5%)
7/1/2014: Thief Of Thieves #22 - 9,457 (-1.7%)
8/1/2014: Thief Of Thieves #23 - 9,069 (-4.1%)
10/1/2014: Thief Of Thieves #24 - 8,731 (-3.7%)
11/1/2014: Thief Of Thieves #25 - 8,336 (-4.2%)
215. Conan the Avenger #8 (Dark Horse)
4/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #1 - 11,565 (+7.7%)
5/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #2 - 9,946 (-14.0%)
6/1/2013: Conan The Avenger #3 - 9,486 (-4.6%)
7/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #4 - 9,182 (-3.2%)
8/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #5 - 8,941 (-2.6%)
9/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #6 - 8,820 (-1.4%)
10/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #7 - 8,547 (-3.1%)
11/1/2014: Conan The Avenger #8 - 8,250 (-3.5%)
There aren’t very many synonyms for the word “attrition” so I’m going to make a new one. This title is suffering from smorgnerf.
216. Cowl #6 (Image)
5/1/2014: Cowl #1 - 20,851 --
6/1/2014: Cowl #2 - 13,569 (-34.9%)
7/1/2014: Cowl #3 - 11,604 (-14.5%)
8/1/2014: Cowl #4 - 10,893 (-6.1%)
9/1/2014: Cowl #5 - 9,852 (-9.6%)
11/1/2014: Cowl #6 - 8,208 (-16.7%)
A rather large drop this month. This is one of the many series included in the second Humble Image Bundle in January which might help the series pick up a few readers.
217. Tomb Raider #10 (Dark Horse)
6/1/2013: Tomb Raider #5 - 10,536 (-6.8%)
7/1/2014: Tomb Raider #6 - 10,149 (-3.7%)
8/1/2014: Tomb Raider #7 - 9,429 (-7.1%)
9/1/2014: Tomb Raider #8 - 9,125 (-3.2%)
10/1/2014: Tomb Raider #9 - 8,748 (-4.1%)
11/1/2014: Tomb Raider #10 - 8,153 (-6.8%)
Some normal attrition going on here – or should we say smorgnerf? Either way, the numbers are slowly dropping.
218. Transformers Primacy #4 (IDW)
8/1/2014: Transformers Primacy #1 - 10,472
9/1/2014: Transformers Primacy #2 - 10,172 (-2.9%)
10/1/2014: Transformers Primacy #3 - 8,452 (-16.9%)
11/1/2014: Transformers Primacy #4 - 8,051 (-4.7%)
Small drop, looks like Primacy is finally finding it’s feet.
219. God Hates Astronauts #3 (Image)
9/1/2014: God Hates Astronauts #1 - 16,689
10/1/2014: God Hates Astronauts #2 - 10,178 (-39.0%)
11/1/2014: God Hates Astronauts #3 - 8,017 (-21.2%)
The numbers for this title have dropped quickly proving there may actually be things too weird for comics readers. Looking for these numbers to stabilize next month.
221. Godzilla Cataclysm #4 (IDW)
8/1/2014: Godzilla Cataclysm #1 - 11,868
9/1/2014: Godzilla Cataclysm #2 - 8,859 (-25.4%)
10/1/2014: Godzilla Cataclysm #3 - 8,624 (-2.7%)
11/1/2014: Godzilla Cataclysm #4 - 7,981 (-7.5%)
I’ve never really understood Godzilla. Luckily I don’t need to “get it” in order to understand it suffered a loss this month.
,Strong>223. GI Joe A Real American Hero #208 (IDW)
3/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #200 - 11,780 (+77.1%)
4/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #201 - 8,294 (-29.6%)
5/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #202 - 6,781 (-18.2%)
6/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #203 - 6,791 (+0.1%)
7/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #204 - 6,706 (-1.3%)
8/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #205 - 6,562 (-2.1%)
9/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #206 - 7,651 (+16.6%)
10/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #207 - 6,494 (-16.1%)
11/1/2014: GI Joe A Real American Hero #208 - 7,810 (+20.3%)
Attrition may be the Joe’s biggest enemy, and they gave it a pounding this month with a large bump.
224. Skylanders #2 (IDW)
10/1/2014: SKYLANDERS #1 - 12,361
11/1/2014: SKYLANDERS #2 - 7,665 (-38.0%)
I imagine that if children had their own purchasing power and actually KNEW about this comic that sales would skyrocket. Elementary aged children are maniacs for Skylanders. A normal sized second issue drop though, and still glad to see publishers gearing more comics towards kids.
225. Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldur's Gate #2 (IDW)
10/1/2014: Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldurs Gate #1 - 9,341
11/1/2014: Dungeons & Dragons Legends of Baldurs Gate #2 - 7,642 (-18.2%)
Smaller than average second issue drop.
226. X-Files Year Zero #5 (IDW)
7/1/2014: X-Files Year Zero #1 - 10,333
8/1/2014: X-Files Year Zero #2 - 8,794 (-14.9%)
10/1/2014: X-Files Year Zero #3 - 8,467 (-3.8%)
10/1/2014: X-Files Year Zero #4 - 8,049 (-4.9%)
11/1/2014: X-Files Year Zero #5 - 7,599 (-5.6%)
Only minor losses.
228. BPRD Hell on Earth #125 (Dark Horse)
6/1/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #120 - 8,127 (-2.2%)
7/2/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #121 - 8,092 (-0.4%)
8/1/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #122 - 8,004 (-1.1%)
9/1/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #123 - 7,762 (-3.0%)
10/1/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #124 - 7,759 0%
11/1/2014: Bprd Hell On Earth #125 - 7,534 (-2.9%)
The Mignolaverse just keeps on chugging away.
229. New Vampirella #6 (Dynamite Entertainment)
6/1/2014: New Vampirella #1 - 22,864
7/1/2014: New Vampirella #2 - 9,445 (-58.7%)
8/1/2014: New Vampirella #3 - 8,732 (-7.5%)
9/1/2014: New Vampirella #4 - 8,287 (-5.1%)
10/1/2014: New Vampirella#5 - 7,784 (-6.1%)
11/1/2014: New Vampirella #6 - 7,378 (-5.2%)
This title started out strong, but “new” titling can only change stats for so long.
231. October Faction #2 (IDW)
10/1/2014: OCTOBER FACTION #1 - 9,181
11/1/2014: OCTOBER FACTION #2 - 7,174 (-21.9%)
Normal second issue drop.
232. Sonic Universe #70 (Archie Comics)
10/1/2014: SONIC UNIVERSE #68 - 7,438 (-1.8%)
10/1/2014: SONIC UNIVERSE #69 - 7,378 (-0.8%)
11/1/2014: SONIC UNIVERSE #70 - 7,161 (-2.9%)
Sonic Universe has had roughly 7k readers for over ten issues. Way to be consistent guys.
234. Godzilla Rulers of the Earth #18 (IDW)
6/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #13 - 6,980 (-11.5%)
7/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #14 - 7,144 (+2.3%)
8/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #15 - 7,156 (+0.2%)
9/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #16 - 7,181 (+0.3%)
10/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #17 - 7,167 (-0.2%)
11/1/2014: Godzilla Rulers Of The Earth #18 - 7,065 (-1.4%)
This is another one of those strangely consistent comics.
235. Justice Inc. #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
8/1/2014: Justice Inc #1 - 12,020
9/1/2014: Justice Inc #2 - 8,651 (-28.0%)
10/1/2014: Justice Inc #3 - 7,546 (-12.8%)
11/1/2014: Justice Inc #4 - 7,057 (-6.5%)
Stabilizing just in time for the final two issues of the series.
236. Bee and Puppycat #6 (BOOM! Studios)
5/1/2014: Bee And Puppycat #1 - 12,204 --
6/1/2014: Bee And Puppycat #2 - 7,557 (-38.1%)
8/1/2014: Bee And Puppycat #3 - 8,031 (+6.3%)
9/1/2014: Bee and Puppycat #4 - 7,556 (-5.9%)
10/1/2014: Bee And Puppycat #5 - 7,255 (-4.0%)
11/1/2014: Bee And Puppycat #6 - 7,055 (-2.8%)
Some minor attrition for Bee and Puppycat. It’s tempting to single-handedly buy a few hundred issues just to see the numbers rise.
237. Elfquest Final Quest #6 (Dark Horse)
1/1/2014: Elfquest Final Quest #1 - 9,861 (+1.9%)
3/1/2014: Elfquest Final Quest #2 - 8,390 (-14.9%)
5/1/2014: Elfquest Final Quest #3 - 7,967 (-5.0%)
7/1/2014: Elfquest Final Quest #4 - 7,622 (-3.7%)
9/1/2014: Elfquest Final Quest #5 - 7,364 (-3.4%)
11/1/2014:Elfquest Final Quest #6 - 6,961 (-5.5%)
Some normal attrition at play. I’m sure Richard and Wendy Pini are used to this by now considering Elf Quest has been around for DECADES.
238. Bloodshot #25 (Valiant)
10/1/2014: BLOODSHOT #24 - VAL --
11/1/2014: BLOODSHOT #25 - VAL 6,955
With #24 this went from a team book back to a solo title. Despite the major change, there hasn’t been a spike in numbers for the series.
241. Eternal Warrior Days of Steel #1 (Valiant)
11/1/2014: ETERNAL WARRIOR DAYS OF STEEL #1 - 6,785
Not exactly the numbers you’d want for a first issue. Luckily this mini-series is only 3 issues long.
242. Mega Man (Archie Comics)
10/1/2014: MEGA MAN #41 - 6,899 (-0.4%)
10/1/2014: MEGA MAN #42 - 6,946 (+0.7%)
11/1/2014: MEGA MAN #43 - 6,771 (-2.5%)
244. Archer and Armstrong One Perfect #1 (Valiant)
11/1/2014: ARCHER & ARMSTRONG ONE PERCENT #1 - 6,738
The debut of a new villain for Archer and Armstrong continues sales-wise where the previous series left off.
245. Game of Thrones #22 (Dynamite Entertainment)
3/1/2014: Game Of Thrones #19 (Mr) - 7,043 (-6.3%)
4/1/2014: Game Of Thrones #20 (Mr) - 6,938 (-1.5%)
8/1/2014: Game Of Thrones #21 (Mr) - 7,010 (+1.0%)
11/1/2014: Game Of Thrones #22 (MR) - 6,696 (-4.5%)
Is there as much nudity in the comic as there is in the HBO series?
246. Angry Birds Transformers #1 (IDW)
11/1/2014: ANGRY BIRDS TRANSFORMERS #1 - 6,667
I’ve never exactly understood the appeal of the Angry Birds franchise, but there are apparently thousands of people that do. I’m curious though, are the Angry Birds actually transforming or what?
247. Vampirella Feary Tales #2 (Dynamite Entertainment)
10/1/2014: VAMPIRELLA FEARY TALES #1 - 10,571
11/1/2014: VAMPIRELLA FEARY TALES #2 - 6,607 (-37.5%)
A second issue drop.
248. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes #1 (BOOM! Studios)
11/1/2014: DAWN OF PLANET OF APES #1 - 6,569
It’s not exactly the number you’d hope to debut a new title to, but hey, it still made the list!
249. The Woods #7 (BOOM! Studios)
5/1/2014: The Woods #1 - 13,916 --
6/1/2014: The Woods #2 - 9,352 (-32.8%)
7/1/2014: The Woods #3 - 8,852 (-5.3%)
8/1/3014: The Woods #4 - 8,272 (-6.6%)
9/1/2014: The Woods #5 - 7,649 (-7/5%)
10/1/2014: The Woods #6 - 7,103 (-7.1%)
11/1/2014: The Woods #7 - 6,554 (-7.7%)
Seeing some small losses this month, maybe the swarm ate some of the readers?
250.Adventure Time Banana Guard Academy #5 (BOOM! Studios)
7/1/2014: Adv Time Banana Guard Academy #1 - 10,402
8/1/2014: Adv Time Banana Guard Academy #2 - 8,287 (-20.4%)
10/1/2014: Adv Time Banana Guard Academy #3 - 7,977 (-3.7%)
10/1/2014: Adv Time Banana Guard Academy #4 - 7,453 (-6.6%)
11/1/2014: Adv Time Banana Guard Academy #5 - 6,514 (-12.6%)
The Adventure Time comics are some of Boom’s bread and butter….and bananas. We’re seeing a large drop off of readers for the fifth issue, but the series may regain some of those for the sixth and final issue.
251. Unity #12 (Valiant)
6/1/2014: Unity #8 - 9,442 (+9.1%)
7/1/2014: Unity #9 - 8,485 (-10.1%)
8/1/2014: Unity #10 - 8,491 (0.0%)
9/1/2014: Unity #11 - 7,602 (-10.5%)
11/1/2014: Unity #12 - 6,508 (-14.4%)
A new story arc with some fixed decline on the side.
252. Sex #18 (Image)
1/1/2014: Sex #10 - 9,947 (-7.1%)
2/1/2014: Sex #11 - 9,302 (-6.5%)
3/1/2014: Sex #12 - 8,830 (-5.1%)
5/1/2014: Sex #13 - 8,192 (-7.2%)
6/1/2014: Sex #14 - 7,824 (-4.5%)
8/1/2014: Sex #15 - 7,601 (-2.9%)
9/1/2014: Sex #16 - 7,167 (-5.7%)
10/1/2014: Sex #17 - 6,709 (-6.4%)
11/1/2014: Sex #18 - 6,361 (-5.2%)
256. Sons of Anarchy #15 (BOOM! Studios)
7/1/2014: Sons Of Anarchy #11 - 7,394 (-5.9%)
8/1/2014: Sons Of Anarchy #12 - 6,955 (-5.9%)
9/1/2014: Sons of Anarchy #13 - 6,506 (-6.5%)
10/1/2014: Sons of Anarchy #14 - 6,537 0.00%
11/1/2014: Sons of Anarchy #15 - 6,271 (-4.1%)
The comic carries on, even if the show no longer does.
257. Samurai Jack #14 (IDW)
7/1/2014: Samurai Jack #10 - 6,741 (-20.4%)
8/1/2014: Samurai Jack #11 - 7,489 (+11.1%)
9/1/2014: Samurai Jack #12 - 7,135 (-4.7%)
10/1/2014: Samurai Jack #13 - 6,657 (-6.7%)
11/1/2014: Samurai Jack #14 - 6,245 (-6.2%)
Seems like Samurai Jack has hit its stride.
258. TMNT New Animated Adventures #17 (IDW)
6/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #12 - 7,577 (+24.7%)
7/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #13 - 7,158 (-5.5%)
8/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #14 - 6,420 (-10.3%)
9/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #15 - 7,589 (+18.2%)
10/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #16 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: TMNT New Animated Adventures #17 - 6,228 ????
Back on the chart.
259. Spongebob Comics #38 (Uniten Plankton Pictures)
8/1/2014: Spongebob Comics #35 - 6,491 (+0.6%)
9/1/2014: Spongebob Comics #36 - 6,405 (-1.3%)
10/1/2014: Spongebob Comics #37 - 6,417 0.00%
11/1/2014: Spongebob Comics #38 - 6,201 (-3.4%)
Minor drop, the numbers are fairly steady for Spongebob. It will be interesting to see whether Spongebob’s new movie will increase his comic sales in the next few months.
260. Capture Creatures #1 (BOOM! Studios)
11/1/2014 CAPTURE CREATURES #1 $3.99 BOO 6,171
Kids comics don’t always make the flashiest of entrances into the comic world. However, Frank Gibson and Becky Dreistadt’s Capture Creatures does warrant your children’s attention. Needless to say, I’m hoping this one takes off!
263. Strain Night Eternal #4 (Dark Horse)
8/1/2014: Strain Night Eternal #1 - 9,394
9/1/2014: Strain Night Eternal #2 - 7,540 (-19.7%)
10/1/2014: Strain Night Eternal #3 - 7,021 (-6.9%)
11/1/2014: Strain Night Eternal #4 - 6,162 (-12.2%)
The sales on this still haven’t stabilized.
264. Goners #2 (Image)
10/1/2014 GONERS #1 - 12,496
11/1/2014 GONERS #2 - 6,145 (-50.8%)
A dramatic second issue drop.
265. Judge Dredd #25 (IDW)
2/1/2014: Judge Dredd #16 - 6,456 (-2.5%)
3/1/2014: Judge Dredd #17 - 6,475 (+0.3%)
4/1/2014: Judge Dredd #18 - 6,274 (-3.1%)
5/1/2014: Judge Dredd #19 - 6,152 (-1.9%)
7/1/2014: Judge Dredd #20 - ???? ????
7/1/2014: Judge Dredd #21 - ???? ????
9/1/2014: Judge Dredd #22 - 5,715 ????
9/1/2014: Judge Dredd #23 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Judge Dredd #24 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Judge Dredd #25 - 6,055 ????
It’s been awhile since we had solid numbers for this title.
266. Penny Dora & The Wishing Box #1 (Image)
11/1/2014 PENNY DORA & THE WISHING BOX #1 $2.99 IMA 6,043
Remember what I said about kids comics and weak debuts?
267. Witchblade #179 (Image)
1/1/2014: Witchblade #172 - 6,221 (-14.3%)
3/1/2014: Witchblade #173 - 6,109 (-1.8%)
4/1/2014: Witchblade #174 - 6,049 (-0.9%)
6/1/2014: Witchblade #175 - 7,843 (+29.7%)
7/1/2014: Witchblade #176 - ???? ????
7/1/2014: Witchblade #177 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Witchblade #178 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Witchblade #179 - 6,041 ????
Back on the board!
268. Baltimore Wolf and the Apostle #2 (Dark Horse)
10/1/2014: BALTIMORE WOLF AND THE APOSTLE #1 - 6,711
11/1/2014: BALTIMORE WOLF AND THE APOSTLE #2 - 6,027 (-10.2%)
This is the tiniest second issue drop on the list this month.
269. Futurama Comics #73 (Bongo Comics)
1/1/2013: Futurama Comics #65 - 6,091 (-5.3%)
3/1/2013: Futurama Comics #66 - 6,295 (+3.3%)
5/1/2013: Futurama Comics #67 - 6,230 (-1.0%)
8/1/2013: Futurama Comics #68 - 6,245 (+0.4%)
10/1/2013: Futurama Comics #69 - ???? ????
2/1/2014: Futurama Comics #70 - 5,901 ????
5/1/2014: Futurama Comics #71 - 5,914 (+0.2)
9/1/2014: Futurama Comics #72 - ???? ????
11/1/2014:Futurama Comics #73 - 5,994 ????
From what data we have, it looks like the numbers are almost in stasis.
271. American Legends #1 (Image)
11/1/2014 AMERICAN LEGENDS #1 $3.99 IMA 5,986
No love for America guys?
272. Punks the Comics #2 (Image)
10/1/2014 PUNKS THE COMIC #1 $3.99 IMA 13,853
11/1/2014 PUNKS THE COMIC #2 $3.99 IMA 5,968 (-56.9%)
If all the punks read a comic about punks, does that make the comic too mainstream?
273. Resurrectionists #1 (Dark Horse)
11/1/2014 RESURRECTIONISTS #1 $3.50 DAR 5,943
274. God Is Dead #24 (Avatar Press)
8/1/2014 God Is Dead #18 - 7,358 (-5.2%)
9/1/2014 God Is Dead #19 - 6,857 (-6.8%)
9/1/2014 God Is Dead #20 - 6,667 (-2.8%)
10/1/2014 God Is Dead #21 - 6,579 (-1.3%)
10/1/2014 God Is Dead #22 - 6,457 (-1.9%)
10/1/2014 God Is Dead #23 - ???? ????
11/1/2014 God Is Dead #24 - 5,902 ????
Some decline as we come to the end of the current story arc.
275. Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody #2 (Valiant)
10/1/2014 Q2 RTN QUANTUM & WOODY #1 - 8,226
11/1/2014 Q2 RTN QUANTUM & WOODY #2 - 5,802 (-29.5%)
Normal second issue drop.
276. Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #89 (Broadsword Comics)
1/1/2014: Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #84 - 6,234 (-0.3%)
3/1/2014: Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #85 - 6,075 (-2.6%)
5/1/2014: Tarot Witch Of The Black Rose #86 - 6,078 (+0.1%)
8/1/2014: Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #87 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #88 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Tarot Wtich of the Black Rose #89 - 5,773 ????
Back on the board.
278 & 286. Usagi Yojimbo Senso #4 & #5(Dark Horse)
8/1/2014: Usagi Yojimbo Senso #1 - 7,633 --
9/1/2014: Usagi Yojimbo Senso #2 - 6,438 (-15.7%)
10/1/2014: Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Usagi Yojimbo Senso #4 - 5,720 ????
11/1/2014: Usagi Yojimbo Senso #5 - 5,451 (-4.7%)
I’m going to assume that it’s just standard attrition.
279. Massive #29 (Dark Horse)
1/1/2014: Massive #19 - 7,387 (-4.9%)
2/1/2014: Massive #20 - 6,976 (-5.6%)
3/1/2014: Massive #21 - 6,841 (-1.9%)
4/1/2014: Massive #22 - 6,650 (-2.8%)
5/1/2014: Massive #23 - 6,470 (-2.7%)
6/1/2014: Massive #24 - 6,372 (-1.5%)
7/1/2014: Massive #25 - ???? ????
8/1/2014: Massive #26 - 6,144 ????
9/1/2014: Massive #27 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Massive #28 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Massive #29 - 5,681 ????
The Massive has had a good run – only one issue left!
281. Death Vigil #5 (Image)
7/1/2014: Death Vigil #1 - 12,832
8/1/2014: Death Vigil #2 - 7,003 (-45.4%)
9/1/2014: Death Vigil #3 - 6,308 (-9.9%)
10/1/2014: Death Vigil #4 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Death Vigil #5 - 5,612 ????
Back on the board this month showing some natural attrition.
282. Sleepy Hollow #2 (BOOM! Studios)
10/1/2014 SLEEPY HOLLOW #1 $3.99 BOO 10,403
11/1/2014 SLEEPY HOLLOW #2 $3.99 BOO 5,611 (-46.1%)
A dramatic second drop for the new series. If the comic is anything like the show we could have a slow burn building up.
283. Delinquents #4 (Valiant)
8/1/2014: Delinquents #1 - 12,912
9/1/2014: Delinquents #2 - 6,964 (-46.1%)
10/1/2014: Delinquents #3 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Delinquents #4 - 5,541 ????
This probably won’t stay above the cut-off line for long as it falls to attrition.
284. Red Sonja Black Tower #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
9/1/2014: Red Sonja Black Tower #1 - 7,519
10/1/2014: Red Sonja Black Tower #2 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Red Sonja Black Tower #3 - 5,518 ????
This mini-series hasn’t lost too many followers.
285. Purgatori #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
9/1/2014: Purgatori #1 - 11,718 --
10/1/2014: Purgatori #2 - ???? ????
11/1/2014:Purgatori #3 - 5,475 ????
Looks like Purgatori has lost roughly half of it’s readers since the first issue.
287 & 295. Crossed Badlands #65 & #66 (Avatar)
9/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #59 - 5,991 ????
9/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #60 - 5,991 (0.0%)
9/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #61 - ???? ????
9/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #62 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #63 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #64 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #65 - 5,410 ????
11/1/2014: Crossed Badlands #66 - 5,303 (-2.0%)
Consistently staying in the 5k range.
288. Magnus Robot Fighter #8 (Dynamite Entertainment)
3/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #1 - 27,497
4/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #2 - 9,898 (-64.0%)
5/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #3 - 8,333 (-15.8%)
6/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #4 - 7,898 (-5.2%)
7/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #5 - 7,205 (-8.8%)
9/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #6 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #7 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Magnus Robot Fighter #8 - 5,402 ????
289. Sidekick #9 (Image)
8/1/2013: Sidekick #1 - 27,832 --
9/1/2013: Sidekick #2 - 14,533 (-47.8%)
10/1/2013: Sidekick #3 - 11,371 (-21.8%)
11/1/2013: Sidekick #4 - 9,976 (-12.3%)
2/1/2014: Sidekick #5 - 8,943 (-10.3%)
4/1/2014: Sidekick #6 - 8,192 (-8.4%)
7/1/2014: Sidekick #7 - 6,900 (-15.8%)
9/1/2014: Sidekick #8 - 6,320 (-8.4%)
11/1/2014: Sidekick #9 - 5,382 (-14.8%)
Large drop this month.
290. Lone Ranger Vindicated #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
11/1/2014: LONE RANGER VINDICATED #1 - 5,379
Hey, at least it made the list.
291. GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #104 (Zenescope)
5/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #97 - 6,055 (+2.1%)
6/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #98 - 5,828 (-3.7%)
7/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #99 - 7,472 (+28.2%)
7/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #100 - 11,722 (+56.9%)
8/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #101 - 6,740 (-42.5%)
9/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #102 - 6,462 (-4.1%)
10/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #105 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: GFT Grimm Fairy Tales #104 - 5,341 ????
Lost a few readers since the last time we had solid numbers.
292. Army of Darkness Hitched #4 (Dynamite Entertainment)
7/1/2014 Army Of Darkness Hitched #1 $3.99 DE 10,956
9/1/2014 Army Of Darkness Hitched #2 $3.99 DE 6,379 (-54.3%)
10/1/2014 Army of Darkness Hitched #3 $3.99 DE ???? ????
11/1/2014 Army of Darkness Hitched #4 $3.99 DE 5,336 ????
A small drop.
293. Borderlands Fall of Fyrestone #4 (IDW)
7/1/2014: Borderlands Fall Of Fyrestone #1 - 8,830
9/1/2014: Borderlands Fall Of Fyrestone #2 - 5,680 (-35.7%)
10/1/2014: Borderlands Fall of Fyrestone #3 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Borderlands Fall Of Fyrestone #4 - 5,331 ????
Ending the story-arc with very minor losses.
294. Morning Glories #42 (Image)
4/1/2014: Morning Glories #38 - 6,007 (-1.8%)
7/1/2014: Morning Glories #39 - ???? ????
9/1/2014: Morning Glories #40 - ???? ????
10/1/2014: Morning Glories #41 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Morning Glories #42 - 5,322 ????
Back on the board.
296. Alice Cooper #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)
9/1/2014: Alice Cooper #1 - 10,295 --
10/1/2014: Alice Cooper #2 - 6,432 (-37.5%)
11/1/2014: Alice Cooper #3 - 5,292 (-17.7%)
298. Rush Clockwork Angels #6 (BOOM! Studios)
3/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #1 - 11,602
4/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #2 - 6,452 (-43.6%)
6/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #3 - 6,169 (-4.4%)
8/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #4 - 5,932 (-3.8%)
9/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #5 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Rush Clockwork Angels #6 - 5,257 ????
299. Bart Simpson Comics #93 (Bongo Comics)
11/1/2013: Bart Simpson Comics #87 - 5,213 ????
1/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #88 - 5,020 (-3.7%)
3/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #89 - 4,940 (-1.6%)
5/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #90 - ???? ????
7/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #91 - ???? ????
9/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #92 - ???? ????
11/1/2014: Bart Simpson Comics #93 - 5,220 ????
Staying in the same range as normal.
300. Turok Dinosaur Hunter #10 (Dynamite Entertainment)
6/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #5 - 7,803 (-7.4%)
7/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #6 - 7,352 (-5.8%)
9/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #7 - 6,829 (-7.1%)
10/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #8 - ???? ????
11/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #9 - 5,757 ????
11/1/2014 Turok Dinosaur Hunter #10 - 5,214 (-9.4%)
All figures on this chart are estimates for comics sold by Diamond to direct market retailers. They include reorders that shipped in the same month. Books shipping in the first week of a month will have more time for reorders to appear than ones shipping in the last week of the month, when reorders will slip to the following month.
Brought to you by Publishers Weekly, it’s More To Come, the weekly podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.
In this week’s podcast Calvin Reid interviews acclaimed comic creator Miss Lasko-Gross about her background in comics, her new graphic novel ‘Henni’ – a story about religious extremism, feminism and funny animals, the growth of a graphic novel and more on PW Comics World’s More To Come.
Download this episode direct here, listen to it in streaming here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the Publishers Weekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Alternative Comics has announced a seven book spring 2015 season, with collections by some intriguing talents. Stephen Cerio hasn’t been seen in a while, and a round-up of Malachi Ward’s quirky comics is long overdue. Plus Rich Tommaso, Sam Henderson and a process guide from Tom Hart’s Sequential Arts Workshop—some good stuff here.
Alternative publisher Marc Arsenualt has also announced that Erik Aucoin will join Alternative as Associate Publisher. Aucoin’s background includes HR, law, being a record label co-owner and of course liking comics. a massive fan of comics familiar to many of today’s top creators. In the past Aucoin has worked for the US Congress, a lobbying firm and as a radio DJ so comics should be a snap for him. His duties will includes editing the anthology title Alternative Comics.
This will be the first alternative season distributed by Consortium to the book trade, a move that has been very helpful for other small presses.
And here’s the spring line-up and catalog copy:
Clover Honey by Rich Tommaso
Abigail is an aspiring hitwoman out to prove her value to the family. She braves the wilds of Newark, overpriced parking, traffic jams, and bad hair days to track down Trevor, her former mentor, who is on the lam with a big briefcase of mob dough. A heavily revised, redrawn, and expanded twentieth anniversary edition of Rich Tommaso’s debut graphic novel.
Rich Tommaso has been writing and illustrating original comics and graphic novels since 1994. His graphic novel with writer James Sturm, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, won an Eisner award for Best Reality-Based Work in 2008. 136-page paperback
Diamond Code: FEB150911
Sunbeam on the Astronaut by Steven Cerio
A long-awaited collection of comics, art, and stories by artist Steven Cerio that explores silly, psychedelic, and strange worlds. Smiling cartoon critters carouse with threatening cutout whales against a shifting comic landscape in these unique illustrated stories. The psychedelic meetsSaturday morning cartoons in stories with such intriguing titles as “A Private History of Sunbeams and Head Colds,” “The Add Witch in The Berry Patch,” and “Ninny Noonday Ninny.”Steven Cerio is a prominent rock poster and magazine illustrator. His work is best known from his ongoing collaboration with San Francisco-based performance art and music group The Residents.48 pages/black and white guts/full color cover
From Now On by Malachi Ward
Short Comic Tales of The FantasticA collection of hauntingly beautiful Science Fiction and Horror short stories by Prophet (Image Comics) and Ritual artist Malachi Ward. Collects stories from Mome, Study Group Magazine, Sundays, Best American Comics 2013, and more. 144 page paperback.
June 9, 2015
Smilin’ Ed Comics
by Raoul Vezina & Tom Skulan
Crisply and energetically drawn, snappily written, filled with pop culture references, and always funny; Raoul Vezina’s Smilin’ Ed Smiley comics were a breath of fresh air when they first appeared thirty-five years ago. All the original comics are collected here for the first time. Includes sixteen pages in color.
Raoul Vezina (1948-1983) was a brilliant cartoonist who came out of the underground tradition and put his own mark on the indie comics of the early 1980s in a handful of titles. He is best remembered for the four issue of Smilin’ Ed Comics published by Albany, New York’s FantaCo.
160 page 8″ x 10″ black and white paperback with 16 pages in color and color covers
Alternative Comics, June, 2015
The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips by Tom Hart
The SAW Guide to Making Professional Comic Strips is a complete how-to manual for making the best comic strips you can, from conception to idea generation to layout, lettering, finishing, coloring and even selling. From an experienced professional comic strip artist (Hutch Owen, Ali’s House), the book is loaded with examples and instruction as well as personal stories within the industry.
96 page 8 1/2″ x 11″ color paperback.
Quit Your Job and Other Stories by James Kochalka
On his way to work, Magic Boy discovers an enchanted ring and starts an expedition to the North Pole.
Eisner Award winner James Kochalka has been called “one of the brightest lights of independent comics” and Quit Your Job is a shining example of his genius. On his way to work at the Chinese restaurant, Magic Boy discovers an enchanted ring and determines to make an expedition to the North Pole. He only gets as far as the coffee shop on the next block, but his world is forever changed in the short journey. The predecessor to the author’s popular American Elf diary comics. Includes the entirety of Kochalka’s 1997 book Paradise Sucksand an additional story featuring characters from that world. Double the size of the first edition. Introduction by Jeff Smith (Bone, RASL).
192 page 6.75″ x 675″ black and white paperback with color covers
Alternative Comics, 2015
Oh, That Monroe by Sam Henderson
Monroe Simmons, cartoon everyman, faces twenty-something life and is squashed like a bug at every turn in this series of harrowing and humorous tales from Magic Whistle and Scene But Not Heard creator Sam Henderson. This new edition features nearly 30 pages of never before collected comics and a new introduction by the author.
128 page black and white paperback with color covers
SF’s sole remaining comics show, the Alternative Press Expo, aka APE, kicks off tomorrow at Fort Mason. Guests include Bob Fingerman, Spike, Robert Williams and Paul Pope.Programming is here.
APE is a fun show, or was when last I went in 2004, but the Bay Area’s soaring rents and general artisanal toast scarfing ‘tude seems to mitigate against the kind of indie comics spirit that the show exhibits. However, as always APE has the best program art, in this case by Faith Erin Hicks.
D&Q sent out a promo for the show: they’re signed copies of The Hospital Suite and Earthling, advances of the new Moomin book, and John Porcellino is on tour in Cali:
John Porcellino is passing through California for two days only! He’s launching his brand new graphic memoir The Hospital Suite, of which the Los Angeles Timessays: “the rawness of Porcellino’s work, its unfiltered directness, is the essence of its charm.”
Both events will consist of a reading, screening of the Root Hog or Diedocumentary about John Porcellino’s life, and a signing.
Wednesday November 19th, 6pm
Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission Street in San Francisco
Thursday November 20th, 7 pm
Giant Robot, 2062 Sawtelle Boulevard in Los Angeles
While nerdlebrity comics lines are common now—from Shia LaBeouf to DMC—a pioneer in this regard and still one of the best in terms of quality is Burlyman Comics, which is owned by the Wachowskis, the directing siblings behind The Matrix, the much beloved Speed Racer and the upcoming Jupiter Ascending. The company has been around for about a decade and launched about a decade ago with Doc Frankenstein by the Wachowskis and Matrix storyboard artist Steve Scroce, and Shaolin Cowboy by the all around genius Geof Darrow. Burlyman put out 7 issues of Shaolin Cowboy before fading away—the seriesfollow the adventures of a nameless Shaolin and his mule in an apocalyptic American West—a concept that seems maybe too simple until you know that Darrow is drawing it with all his hallucinogenic detail. The tagline “A buddy picture with a body count” explains it all.
When Burlyman more or less disappeared, Dark Horse picked up the series, starting last year. But now the original 7 issues, long out of print, are coming back in a collected edition…from Burlyman. According to pr, the issue includes “ass-ologues by the Wachowskis” and many other extras—including art and alternative covers (what they used to call variants‚ by Moebius (Jean Giraud), Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan, Ricardo Delgado, Scott Gustafson, And John Severin. At a mere $19.99 it sounds like a bargain.
Retailers note, the FOC on this is the 23rd, order code OCT141229. On sale date is December 3rd.
And in case you need any more persuasion here’s a preview—to say it is mind-boggling does not do it justice.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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I’m pretty sure we’ve posted some of Eric Haven’s creepy cool Mancat comics before. But not it’s all being collected by AdHouse, in UR. The publisher describes these comics as “Dark, absurdist, and deadpan, these stories reflect the apocalyptic undercurrent of the modern era. Also included is Haven’s long-running comic strip “Race Murdock” which appeared in The Believer magazine.”
Haven is among those cartoonist’s whose work is just inherently spooky. In the past his work has appeared in various anthologies, but when he isn’t cartooning he’s producing the TV Show Mythbusters. A real hyphenate for the season.
This book was accidentally left out out Previews a few times but THIS IS THE PROPER INFORMATION to order and make your customers happy:
48 FC pages
6 ” x 9 ” SC w/ DJ
$14.95 US funds
Shipping January 2015
Diamond Order Code: NOV14 0925
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Indie Comics
, NYCC '14
, Top News
, Alice Meichi Li
, Black Dynamite
, Daniel Jose Older
, Diana Pho
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by Edie Nugent
From L to R: Diana Pho, LeSean Thomas, Alice Meichi Li, Daniel Jose Older, I.W. Gregorio and Tracey J. John
The main stage spectacles of NYCC saw panels filled with celebrity actors and moderators alike, whipping thousands of screaming audience members into a frenzy. No less intense or enthusiastic, however, were the panels scheduled towards the end of the night in the smaller conference rooms at the Javits Center. Once such panel —Geeks of Color Go Pro —filled its room to capacity with a diverse audience of fans and comic book industry hopefuls cheering just as passionately as fans in the rooms twice its size.
“Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo,” declared Tracy J. John, writer for such marquee video game franchises as Oregon Trail and My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This comment, which came later in the proceedings, proved to be a kind of mission statement for the panel as a whole. Moderated by Tor Books editor Diana Pho, the panel participants represented a diversity of gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Pho opened by asking the panel to tell their “origin stories,” referring to how they arrived at their current careers within an industry that has long suffered from a dearth of diversity. Tracey J. John kicked things off, saying: “a long long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…I went to NYU and got a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies.” She went on to say that she garnered an internship at MTV News, which led to a job working for MTV.com. “We wrote about these things called ‘music videos,’” she joked. This job placed her in the perfect spot to capitalize on her World of Warcraft addiction when MTV looked to launch a video game focused section of its website. She recalled thinking, “whoa, I can get paid to write about video games?” She later turned to freelance work for Wired, NY Post, and Playstation Magazine. Desirous of a more stable paycheck, she turned to a job at Gameloft and worked in game development. Recently she decided to shake things up again, and has returned to freelance work.
I.W. Gregorio, who claims she’s still getting used to being addressed by the pen name her day job requires, opened by speaking the question on the minds of many an audience member: “How did a urologist end up being a YA author?” She went on to explain she felt the better question to be “why would an aspiring author become a doctor?” She spoke of her racially isolated childhood where she knew immediately she wanted to be a writer, but felt family pressure “like a lot of kids of color” to enter either law or medicine to be deemed a ‘success’ culturally. Her talents in math and science led her to choose the path of medicine, “enough people had told me that I wanted to be a doctor that I ended up being one.” She did attempt, in her words, to “try to have my cake and eat it too” also studying English while in college. She went on to pursue medicine and take a 10 year break from writing before her passion was reignited during her residency. She is, however, grateful to be a doctor because it “enables my writing career…and gives me a lot of stories.” She described how her new book None of the Above was inspired by an intersex teenager she treated during her residency.
Daniel Jose Older, author of the upcoming Half-Resurrection Blues, the first book in what is to be an ongoing urban fantasy series for Penguin Book’s Roc imprint, began by saying that Gregorio’s story “actually really connects to mine. In 2009 I was a paramedic and community organizer doing work on gender violence and intersections of racism. I was trying how to figure out how to have a voice and what that meant as a writer.” He explained that he loved Star Wars and Harry Potter, but that he and the kids of color he was working work didn’t see themselves in those stories, “and there was a disconnect.” This inspired him to “sit down and write Shadowshaper which got picked up by the folks at Scholastic that put out Harry Potter, so it was this really big dream come true.” He went on to explain that the process of publishing that first work took over 6 years and that “publishing will make you learn patience” which drew a big laugh from the crowd. He continued to work on stories during that time, and work on adult fiction, which led him to Half-Resurrection Blues, due out in 2015. He explained that his background as a paramedic directed inspired the new book, saying: “a lot of this comes from being on the front lines…dealing with life and death.”
Author Alice Meichi Li knew she wanted to be an artist since the age of five. “I grew up in a Chinese restaurant in a really rough part of Detroit,” she said. She explained how this kept her indoors for her own safety, drawing on the back of the placemats of her parents’ restaurant. She also felt pushed towards a career in more economically dependable fields like law, medicine, or IT technologies. “When faced with the prospect of applying for college, all I could think about was arts school. I was in Army Junior ROTC and my Staff Sargent saw some of my art and he said: what are you doing here? You should be taking art class, you should be pursuing this.” She eagerly took his advice, worrying her family regarding her future. As she graduated High School at the top of her class, they told her she should be making “six-figures somewhere”—not becoming a starving artist. She conceded that’s “pretty much what happened” to the amusement of the audience, “I did have to end up balancing a day job,” with her art career, working at the well-known comic book store Forbidden Planet. “But I was doing Artist’s Alleys and that’s how I made a lot of my connections. If you’re trying to be an artist in comics that’s pretty much your best bet.”
“Everybody’s got all these cool stories,” remarked Black Dynamite producer and director LeSean Thomas. “I was born and raised in the South Bronx, John Adams projects at 152nd Street,” some in the crowd applauded at this mention—then laughed as Thomas joked that he was in the part of the Bronx that exists “past Yankee Stadium” where most New Yorkers’ familiarity with the Bronx begins and ends. “I grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons, reading comics books, “ he recalled, saying that he felt comic books was a more realistic career path for him, as the tools used to produce comics were more affordable than that of cartoon animation: “they don’t sell light-boxes at the bodegas,” he quipped.
Thomas ended up in a High School arts program called Talent Unlimited. Following High School he took a job at a sporting goods store to make ends meet. While working there, he was spotted sketching by his store manager whose wife worked at a children’s accessories company. The company quickly employed him to work on designs for accessories featuring licensed characters. Through his work there, he met Joe Rodgers who mentored the young artist and eventually Thomas “became a flash artist/storyboard artist on this web-cartoon called WorldGirl, and it got picked up by Showtime, I think it was the first cartoon to get picked up by a major network.” His success there led to his meeting Carl Jones, who moved to Los Angeles and teamed with The Boondocks creator Aaron MacGruder on the now famous Cartoon Network series based on MacGruder’s comic strip of the same name. “He needed people who could understand Hip-Hop culture, Anime, and social political racial satire, and it was very hard to find that kind of talent in Hollywood,” he paused as the crowd laughed before putting it bluntly: “let alone somebody who could draw a black person.” This led him to move to Los Angeles to work on the show, which he feared would soon be canceled due to its controversial and sometimes “wildly inappropriate” content.
The series proved a critical and ratings success for Cartoon Network, and Thomas felt liberated by the mostly black racial makeup of The Boondocks’ creative team. “I grew up in a society where the White male was the dominant character…to be able to work on a show where my boss was Black, the characters we were creating were Black and we were saying the things we wanted to say without caring what other people thought, Black or White, was really liberating and was one of the best experiences for me.” He went on to comment that his experience working on The Boondocks “catapulted his career,” gave him the chance to move overseas, and opened many career opportunities for him-not the least of which was his teaming up producer Carl Jones to produce the Adult Swim series Black Dynamite. He noted how rare it was to have three shows in a row to his credit that found him working under Black people, on shows starting Black characters: The Boondocks, Legend of Korra, and Black Dynamite.
“I guess I should pitch in about myself, and I thought: oh, I’m the moderator—just sit here and look pretty,” joked Diana Pho, before continuing: “I grew up in New England, in a very White town. I was always the only Asian girl in my class and my family is from Vietnam: no one knew where Vietnam was, because actually in my High School they never talked about the Vietnam War.” This statement elicited shocked sounds from the assembled crowd, but also some knowing murmurs that appeared to understand all too well the sort of erasure her statement described. Pho explained that she found escape from her outsider status through books, especially science fiction and fantasy novels. While studying English at college, she knew felt her options for employment were limited to work as a teacher, continuing her studies of Russian-her minor field-in order to obtain her Master’s Degree in it, or something else. “I chose something else,” she said, “and that was publishing.”
She explained she felt publishing to be a small field, insular in nature-and a field where it “has to do with the connections you make, that’s what I learned” and mentioned that her first job involved editing test books for college admissions for a summer. “What it did provide me was internship experience in marketing,” Pho remarked, explaining that this led to her getting a job with Hachette Press. She worked there in sales and marketing for several years before a colleague recommended her for a position at the Science Fiction Book Club making catalogues. She ended up following this with a Master’s in Performance Studies-doing her thesis in Steampunk performance-and graduated to assume her current role at Tor Books.
The panel then opened up for questions from the audience where Pho asked that the questions be “tweet-sized” to try and get to everyone’s question , but the line for the microphone grew long enough that the panel was forced to wrap up with audience members still on line. When asked: “what was one thing that you wish you knew when you started out that you know now?” Gregorio explained that as a representative of the We Need Diverse Books campaign (weneeddiversebooks.tumblr.com) “I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that there are obviously challenges for diverse authors, the first book I wrote had and Asian-American multicultural protagonist-and three different editors said: oh, it’s too similar to another book with an Asian-American character.” She explained that she knew other authors of color who had run into enough of the same problem that they feared they might have to only write about White characters going forward. “The We Need Diverse Books campaign is most effective because it’s been showing the gatekeepers that they are wrong. Fifty percent of children in schools today are children of color, but only ten percent of books have minority protagonists.” She also called upon the audience to open up their wallets and support works by authors of color and/or featuring main characters of color.
John added on to Gregorio’s comments by telling the audience to not be afraid of the status quo, and gave an example of her work in gaming journalism. “Things that I did…aside from asking the questions I needed to do my job, I’d throw in some poignant questions, I’ve asked Shigeru Miyamoto: why does Princess Peach need saving again? Didn’t she get some self-defense classes by then? Or the developer of a family game why there wasn’t an option to be a Black person, they just had different tans? Ask those kinds of questions. It can be intimidating: Oh I have this opportunity to interview a game developer, I don’t want to screw it up. I’d say ask the normal questions and then save those for the end.”
“When you’re starting out as a writer there’s a lot of advice given out to you, like: you have to build your platform, you have to network! And there’s this very common, very White Western narrative of breaking out as an author. Where you’re that singular rocket ship that flies away to become famous overnight…what it requires us to do, especially as writers and creators of color, is to really reimagine what success means to us anytime we’re entering into any kind of project or career.” He went on to emphasize the need to build community, outside of a “putting points on your resume” style of thinking. “What will sustain you is unity. That’s what will have your back when things are hard, and things will be hard.” He noted that more than fans, writers need people who will tell them the truth-people who will give them the “hard critique.” He also said he wanted to shout-out to: fanbros.com, nerdgasmnoire.net as well as blackgirlnerds.com, saying of the organizations: “these groups are collectives of people of color, proudly nerds, proudly of color, talking about racism, talking about Sleepy Hollow. We need to talk about these things because that’s community” to many loud cheers.
Li wished to add “a piece of advice I hear a lot: you are the average of the five people you interact with most in life. So if you have a bunch of people who are ambitious, who are trying to do what you’re trying to do you’re going to kind of automatically get lifted up with them. So you want at least three of them to be in a place where you aspire to be. I add that you should look for someone who is: 1) an older mentor, to get advice from, 2) an equal, that you can be a comrade-at-arms with and share you career path with and 3) someone you can mentor, because you can learn a lot from teaching.”
“The thing that I wish I’d known before getting into animation, that I do now is that all the animation jobs are in California,” said Thomas, to the laughter of the crowd. Thomas clearly meant the comment seriously, adding: “I wouldn’t have stayed in New York as long if I’d have known there were no real animation jobs in New York the way there are in California…I probably would’ve made my pilgrimage a lot sooner.”
Another attendee asked how the artists dealt with accusations of racism. “I just got called racist the other day, so that was fun,” recounted Older, saying that because the bad guys in a recent story were White he had the accusation leveled at him. “There’s no easy answer, but you have to go with your gut and trust your instincts because when the shit flies, you have to be able to stand up for your work. I know what I did in that story—and I have much worse stories about White people than that,” he said, laughing.
Gregorio added: “publishing is a team sport, you’re going to have editors and marketing people-they’ll catch anything really bad. And also you have to realize we’re all going to get criticism. Haters are gonna’ hate, it’s alright!”
A reporter asked if the panel felt any responsibility towards social justice storylines. Thomas replied, “You know on Black Dynamite me and Carl Jones, the executive producer, always used to joke that we were like social workers in animation, not to belittle social work, but we liked to joke that because we were one of the few [shows] that touched on those issues. The most important thing for us is that it has to be funny, that’s the golden rule. The second rule is that it has to be genuine. If it’s honest, if it comes from a good place there’s always humor in it….and the third is to make people uncomfortable, not in a negative way but to make them think outside what they normally expect.”
The final question came from a Bleeding Cool reporter who asked, “Why are we still having this conversation? I feel like we’re constantly having the same conversation: do you see an end to it, do you think? Where we’re not going to need to have ‘Geeks of Color’ in the corner at 8:00pm?”
“So you’re saying Geeks of Color needs to be at noon, is what you’re saying? I agree I think it should be much earlier.” Thomas joked.
Pho added: “we’re going to keep having this conversation until we hit critical mass,” she explained that critical mass was not when people stopped asking questions, but rather that “we need a critical mass of answers from all over the place, not just from us but from you guys—not just from you guys but from everyone at this convention, and not just this convention—about how pop culture functions, how media functions…we all have to hit that critical mass point and that’s when the conversation stops.”
“I feel your point a lot,” Older added, indicating the reporter, “we do need this and part of the reason is the industry is still very racist, still very White, and so we need to have these conversations…the job and the struggle and the challenge for us is to push the conversation forward so it’s not so circular. So that’s why we need diverse books, which is such an important way to get everyone together. We need to talk about power analysis.” Older also stressed that he felt there were necessary conversations that weren’t had before this generation of creators and it was important to recognize: “we’re here because the folks before us fought their fight, so we’re fighting our fight for the next generation of artist of color, writers of color…and that involves getting together and having ‘geeks of color’ panels which makes people uncomfortable, which is good, as it should.”
By Matt O’Keefe
There’s no one doing as pure a form of worldbuilding as indy fantasy comic Cartozia Tales. Not only does it have a map that it intends to explore every part of (unlike the majority of fantasy stories that leave most of their maps untouched), it has a rotating list of creators who take turns furthering the adventures of characters created by their peers. The world of the characters and Cartozia itself is expanded every issue with charming short stories by some very talented cartoonists. It fills a lot of voids in the mainstream comic book market today as a black-and-white fantasy that can be read by kids but doesn’t talk down to them. I interviewed the man running the show, Isaac Cates, to learn more about the inner workings of the fantastic, ambitious Cartozia Tales.
The map of Cartozia.
How did Cartozia Tales come together?
If you mean “where did the idea come from,” it was mostly developed from three sources:
1. An experimental world-building “jam” that I’d tried a few years earlier, using the same format where cartoonists move to a different part of the map in each issue. That was a really fun project, but it was sort of doomed because no one could give it priority.
2. A series of books that I really love, the Dungeon comics by Joann Sfar and Lewis Trondheim, that just always make me want to create a shared fantasy world every time I read them.
3. My sense that there aren’t nearly as many smart, engaging all-ages fantasy comics as there ought to be.
I figured that to make the “map-jam” idea work, to justify printing enough copies that I could afford to pay the contributors enough to get the stories off the back burner from time to time, we’d need a substantial audience — and kids (and grown-ups) who like magic and odd creatures are a pretty big audience of readers.
After I’d put those three things together in my head, I spent maybe a month trying to dissuade myself from doing it, because I knew it would involve a huge commitment of time from me. But I couldn’t let it go, because I kept thinking that it might turn out amazing. And, thank goodness, Cartozia Tales has been more awesome than I could have hoped.
How did you connect with the wonderful contributors to Cartozia Tales?
That’s actually a long and cool story. Gathering the group of core contributors — the people without which there would be no Cartozia Tales, because we’re inventing the world and its stories together — was sort of like the first act of Seven Samurai or Magnificent Seven. I recruited people I knew were good storytellers, with different but compatible drawing styles, most of whom hadn’t worked together before.
I’ve been friends with Sarah Becan for a long time, since meeting her and reading her comics at some SPX many years ago; I’ve known Shawn Cheng for even longer (he was a student of mine when he was in college, back in 2001); Mike Wenthe and I have been collaborating on comics for like thirteen years. Once they all said they wanted to do this thing, I was pretty sure I’d be able to gather a good group.
I’ve been exchanging weird formalist experimental comics with Tom Motley for almost as long as I’ve been making comics. Lupi McGinty and our secret eighth core cartoonist Caitlin Lehman are both people I met online during the “Animal Alphabet” Tumblr project, and they were both people that I really wanted to collaborate with based on what they’d done there. I knew Jen Vaughn from her CCS days (and from conventions). I tracked down Lucy Bellwood on someone else’s recommendation, and invited her in after reading a couple of her minicomics. And that completed the core group.
As for the guest artists and cover artists, it was mostly a matter of asking my most high-profile friends, like Dylan Horrocks and Jon Lewis, first — then letting their participation embolden me to ask people I don’t know quite as well. A lot of people said no, but a lot of other people were willing to pitch in, given that there’s a sort of mission for the project (smart comics for kids) and the page-count commitment isn’t very high.
It takes a lot of faith for someone to leave a character they created in another creator’s hands. Has that been hard for the writers and artists of this series, including yourself?
You know, I think we see it kind of the opposite way. I mean, we all have that faith in each other, I think, and mostly we are really eager to see what everyone else will do with our characters. I know I’ve been really blown away with the things the other cartoonists have done with Minnaig (the otter-girl) and Ibbacod (the heron-headed incantor), two characters that Mike Wenthe and I created together. I really love to see other cartoonists “recognize” or “get” the characters, and the other cartoonists help me understand the characters better.
Think of it like this: If you have cool toys, you want to share them with your friends. Maybe your toys are special to you, but if the person you’re sharing with is really your friend, then you have to trust them to play nice.
Can you walk me through the process of creating and sharing a character?
Here is the way we came up with Wick the Wind-Up man:
First, during the early planning stages for the first issue, Shawn Cheng suggested that there might be wind-up men in Cartozia:
Then I suggested that Mike Wenthe and I might use a wind-up man in among the characters we were including on the image that wound up on the back cover of the first issue. Some of the other characters in that image (Ottie the phibbit, Reshii, Blip, Lila, Tierce and Gandria) were from stories that we had already seen; we just needed a short creature to be in front.
These are my “thumbnails” (a doodle, really) for the image:
… and this is how the little wind-up man wound up looking in Mike’s completed inks, which I would color later.
Around the time we finished this image, Dylan Horrocks gave me an outline for his story in issue 1, which featured a wind-up man named Wick. Dylan didn’t have a design in mind for Wick yet, so I sent him the drawing Mike and I had done, and suggested he might do something like that.
That’s why Mike and Shawn get co-creator credits when Dylan introduces Wick in the first story, though Wick’s personality in that story is totally Dylan’s doing.
In the next issue, when Lupi McGinty drew Wick, she gave him what has become his signature catch-phrase, “Oh, Cogs!” …
Though it’s only in the moment when Kevin Cannon repeats the line that it really becomes a catchphrase:
… And a little later Mike and I added the detail that wind-up men, like some other robots, have storage compartments, though we don’t know yet what Wick is or isn’t carrying. (The drawing here is Caitlin Lehman from my thumbnails on a script Mike and I worked out together.)
Wick’s personality has been sort of gradually evolving as we’ve taken turns writing him, though most of it is in place when Dylan writes him: talky, oddly formal, willing to sacrifice everything for Taco (the servant girl who wound him up). I can guess now that he (and, probably, those other wind-up men) will have something to do with deposing Prince Malo and restoring the true prince of Neenorra to the throne, though of course when Dylan finished his first story there was no necessity that Wick and Taco would even appear again.
It’s a big part of the fun of working on this book: you add what you can to the creation of a character or a place or a story, then hand that work in progress to someone else who takes it a little farther, expands it a little more, makes it a little more complete.
I was talking to some people last week about the way Cartozia Tales gives you the same character drawn by a bunch of different hands, and I think it actually makes the character seem more real — as if there has to be some objective entity that all the different cartoonists are referring to, and you as reader are sort of triangulating the actual character through a series of versions.
Back cover of Issue 6. Art by Mica and Myla Hendricks
You make it a goal to challenge kids instead of making content that’s easily digestible. I love that; the opposite seems like a big reason some all-ages comics don’t catch on.
Yeah. When I was a kid, I could always tell when a book or a show was simplified because it was pitched at kids, and it bothered me. I felt condescended to. I would always rather read something I don’t totally understand, instead of being pandered to, and I think a lot of kids enjoy the challenge of slightly complex reading.
At comics conventions, what I tell parents is that we use big words, but not bad words.
It’s actually pretty easy to tell interesting and compelling stories without getting into “adult” levels of violence or sexuality — you just have to make the stories about some other aspect of our emotional lives. Curiosity about the world, social acceptance, friendship, justice … none of those require gore or strong language or anything else a parent wouldn’t want to explain to his or her kids.
How wide-reaching was the Cartozia fanbase before the Kickstarter? After?
We had about a hundred subscribers before we launched the Kickstarter; now I think we have about five hundred, plus another hundred or so who have subscribed for PDF delivery.
That’s enough to keep us in the black for about one more issue, maybe two. But, fingers crossed, we’ll get enough new subscribers in the coming months to keep me from going into debt before we reach issue 10.
The breakdown of where the money from the Kickstarter went.
What happens if you fall into the red?
If I don’t have working capital for the last few issues, I’ll have to eliminate some of the extras—no more map inserts or paper dolls— and I’d print fewer copies so it’s really mostly going to subscribers. I’ll still pay the artists and put the book out. It might hurt me financially, but that’s the risk I took when I signed up for this thing.
An unfortunate stumbling block for a lot of Kickstarters during the fulfillment stage is that things cost more than the runners of the campaigns expected. Have you experienced anything like that for Cartozia?
International shipping is just absurdly expensive, and the rates have gone up since our Kickstarter campaign. Regular domestic postage is a little more expensive, too, and our print shop is charging me a little more now because the price of paper has gone up. But mostly what I mis-estimated was time.
Cartozia Tales #5 is now available to order. Art by Eleanor Davis.
I didn’t realize this until preparing for this article because the release of Cartozia has seemed pretty dependable, but your original goal was to release all ten issues by September. Have you had any backlash for not being able to meet that goal?
There are like one or two backers who have complained, but I think everyone is still happy to get it at the pace we’ve been managing, which is about one book every two or three months. Some backers might like to get updates from me more often, but I bet there are even more who would prefer that I not fill their inbox with gradual updates.
When you gather up the first six issues, it’s definitely a good stack of reading (about 250 fairly dense pages). Plus there are the various bonus books. I was just at a convention, and people looking at the whole full table would ask me how long we’d been putting out Cartozia Tales; when I said “a little over a year,” they seemed pretty stunned.
What’s your audience like? Is there a lot of enthusiasm there?
I don’t get to see a lot of the audience in person, but I can tell you that the kids who subscribe are often seriously into the book, which is exactly what I had hoped. I mean, when I have met some of these kids they have just sort of gushed about their favorite characters, and the places on the map that we haven’t explored yet, and the things they’re wondering about upcoming issues.
The core contributors to Cartozia Tales: Shawn Cheng, Jen Vaughn, Mike Wenthe, Sarah Becan, Tom Motley, Lupi McGinty, Lucy Bellwood and Issac Cates.
Who’s your youngest reader? Oldest?
I know at least one five-year-old is really into it, because Mica Hendricks collaborated with her daughter on a really fun drawing of Minnaig and Wick for the back cover of issue 6.
I think we’ve got a lot of readers between ages seven and fifteen, but we’ve also got a lot of grown-up readers who are enjoying the book just as much. There are parents who read the book to kids who are too young to read; there are probably also some grandparents who enjoy the book on the same terms, but I haven’t heard from them yet.
Back cover of Cartozia Tales #1. Art by Mike Wenthe.
Is there any one thing you want people to know about Cartozia other than the information that I’ll include in the opening paragraph?
One of the things I’m loving about it as the books grows is that Cartozia itself feels like a coherent world — full of strange things, as any fantasy world would be, but unified by tone and oddball imagination in a way I didn’t exactly anticipate. Everyone involved is imagining stuff in his or her own way, and there are a lot of different flavors of influence making up our world, but they all make sense together. Partly that’s because everyone is so generous about collaborating carefully with each other. It’s really like a shared world, and not like a world where each balkanized fiefdom runs by its own logic. I think it’s one of the most satisfying things about the experience of reading the book: you feel like you’re visiting someplace that’s personal and idiosyncratic, but it also belongs to a bunch of different people.
You can sample Cartozia comics and subscribe to the series at its online shop.
Matt O’Keefe is a writer for hire of comics, comics journalism and even things mostly unrelated to comics. Visit his blog to see his current musings and his portfolio to view his previous work.
Koyama Press is making many of its current and past graphic novels available in digital editions via the Sequential app. The titles available are yet to be announced, but according to the PR it will include some titles that have been out of print.
“From cosmic art critiques to despondent, down-on-their luck cats, we’ve got you covered.”
The launch is kicking off with a sale on Koyama Press titles this weekend, just in time for CAB. In a statement, Koyama Press wrote:
As always, we remain dedicated to making high-quality and highly awesome print books, but we are excited to be working with SEQUENTIAL creators Panel Nine who share the same alternative and artists-first mindset as us. SEQUENTIAL’s founder, Russell Willis, said, “We’re really delighted to have Koyama Press coming on board. They represent some of the most exciting and innovative comics coming out of the small press scene, and they’re a fantastic and valuable addition to SEQUENTIAL’s expanding lineup.”
Print is the cornerstone of Koyama Press, but we are really excited about its new digital companion. Moreover, this is just the first batch of Koyama Press digital editions, so keep your eyes and apps open for more exciting releases!
It’s encouraging to see a publisher with such a high print standard finding a digital partner with Sequential, which has similar taste about superior digital presentation. While the beauty of print remains a priority for many comics publishers, the audience building opportunities of digital are a tool that more and more are opening up to.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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It’s that time of year when we start thinking about NEXT year, and publishers nveil their schedules. And few unveilings are as pretty as those from Nobrow—their books are routinely gorgeous and display a level of artistry few other publishers can match. ANd next year’s line-up (through August) are as gorgeous as you’d expect. Among the goodies: a full color expansion of Sam Bosma’s award winning Fantasy Basketball, and the print debut of Jen Lee, whose webcomics Thunderpaw
we’ve long been fans of. The latter is part of a relaunch of Nobrow’s 17X23 line of “pamphlets”—24 pages long and priced at $5.95. The line also includes two french full length graphic novels. Definitely some good reading to come.
The Spectators, by Victor Hussenot
April 2015, 128 pages, hardcover, full color
What if we are merely shadows of our choices? If our characters are defined by simple inflections of light and chance? What if, instead of actors, we are mere spectators? Awash in subtle color, gently carrying the narrative and allowing readers to envelop themselves in the lyricism of the work, this 128 page graphic novel by one of France’s hottest young cartoonists is a beautiful watercolor story that will demand as much attention as it will reward with its poetic and philosophical introspection of man. Reminiscent of French New Wave cinema with its clipped dialog, gentle pacing and departure from a classic narrative structure, The Spectators is a gorgeous, forward-looking example of what comics has become and what the artform can share.
Fantasy Sports, by Sam Bosma
July 2015, 56 pages, hardcover, full color
An oversized graphic novel expanding the Ignatz-award winning Fantasy Basketball to feature length and full color, Fantasy Sports tells the story of a young explorer and her musclebound friend on their trip treasure hunting in a mummy’s tomb. Brooklyn’s own Sam Bosma blends the flavor of 1960’s sports manga with the boldness of a Mike Mignola line, and the hilarity begins when their bandaged adversary demands a game of hoops! With riches in the wings (and eternal entombment as possible consequence), it all comes down to one intrepid young woman and her slam dunk skills in this YA adventure.
750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé
August 2015, 120 pages, hardcover, full color
War. Revolution. Architecture. Art. If you could stand still and just look for 750 years, what could you learn about the world? In August, it will be time to find out in this unique graphic novel that tells the story of one single Parisian building over the course of seven and a half centuries through all the upheavals of French history. Following his work in Nobrow 8: Hysteria, 750 Years in Paris finds Vincent Mahé grappling with the edges of communication that illustration allows in this hypnotic study of time and place.
Vacancy, by Jen Lee
April 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Jen Lee (the cartooning powerhouse from an Idaho farmhouse responsible for the popular webcomic Thunderpaw) is coming to print for the relaunch of Nobrow’s 17X23 single issue comic line. Now with a new, much lower price ($5.95), the 17X23 line that launched the careers of Luke Pearson (Hildafolk) and Rob Hunter (The New Ghost) will see five new releases in 2015, starting with Vacancy—the story of a dog in a hoodie and glasses who might not be ready to live in the wild, no matter how much the post-apocalypse might need him to. A funny (and best of all, kind) take on Homeward Bound if all the animals were millennials and all the people were dead, Vacancy is the sort of comic that you’d hand to someone who just woke up from a coma—by they time they finished it, they’d be all caught up on what today’s culture gets right.
The Hunter, by Joe Sparrow
May 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
The Hunter, the second release in the 17X23 line sees Joe Sparrow taking a cue from Frozen and Super Nintendo with his 16 bit remix of a long, long time ago. In this acerbic fairy tale, one arrogant young hunter has grown tired of the simple bloodsport that occupies his friendless days. But when he hears of a mythical beast that sounds strangely like the animals he’s already conquered, mania takes hold. Can our (anti) hero survive with his arrogance intact? There will be (video game style) blood!
Golemchik, by William Exley
June 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Abandoned by his friends, one young boy goes searching for fun – and finds a golem on the hunt for the same, in this 17X23 comic by British cartoonist William Exley. But as the two go about living out their dreams of having the best summer ever, the boy realizes that golems don’t know how to take it easy! To save his town, he’ll have to get his new friend under control…or else everybody else in the neighborhood is going to do it for him!
Lost Property, by Andy Poyiadgi
July 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
From the pen of British cartoonist Andy Poyiadgi, Lost Property is the story of a young mailman named Gerald who comes across something pretty fantastic: a small shop, packed to the brim with everything in his life he has ever misplaced. From socks to yearbooks, this surreal repository of his life sends our confused friend into the maelstrom of memory, whisking him back through the crossroads that shaped his life. But what really matters, of course, is what he decides to do next!
Cyber Realm, by Wren McDonald
August 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Wren McDonald—another Brooklynite, this one by way of Florida—brings us the darkly hilarious story of a father’s revenge in a cybernetic world of horror. In a dismal future ruled by a tyrannical nerd who has taken all technology for himself, one man is making his way through the type of trials that usually face a Liam Neeson kind of guy. But instead of relying on a gravely voice and guns, our protagonist enlists the help of whatever old piece of robotics he can attach to his sweaty torso, in the hopes of an earth-shattering, revenge-earning brawl.
by Zachary Clemente
Well, this is a wonderful surprise! Panel Syndicate announced today that a new digital comic by Albert Monteys (of El Jueves fame) is being hosted on their platform. Panel Syndicate, launched by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin with the purpose of hosting their spectacular 10-issue series The Private Eye with colorist Muntsa Vicente, is holding true to their word and opening up the publishing platform up to other creators.
The reason this is super-noteworthy (other than gracing us with more of Montey’s wonderful work) is what makes Panel Syndicate’s platform so unique. Their comics are digital-only, DRM-free, widescreen-oriented, and available in multiple file formats costing as much as you’re willing to pay. This digital pay-what-you-want method, while undoubtedly around previously, was popularized when UK music group Radiohead released their acclaimed In Rainbows album in 2007 self-produced on their website.
For me, Panel Syndicate’s method is one of the best available – for those willing to take the risk. If you receive enough purchases from readers, there is literally nothing standing between you and the full payment other than the costs of hosting and the time spent making the work. It goes without saying that The Private Eye has been a smash hit as it was launched soon after it became clear that Saga was well on its way to becoming the titan it is today, but I’m thrilled that we’re getting work from a creator who is less known in the United States. I didn’t consider the possibility of a place like Panel Syndicate being leverages as a way to expose the US audience to comics from other countries, but it makes so much damned sense. If Monteys wants Universe! available in Spanish, Catalan, and English; that’s an easy option, no second printing needed. It’s ultimate control for the creator with nothing but gain for the reader, so long as we have an open heart and open mind when choosing what we buy.
You can find the first issue of Universe! and all released issues (8 0f 10) of The Private Eye at Panel Syndicate.
Over at PW I reported on Consortium starting to distribute Alternative Comics and Secret Acres to bookstores. They currently distribute Uncivilized, Toon Books, Nobrow and Koyama Press, as well as publishers such as Fulcrum and Enchanted Lion who put out a lot of graphic novel material. (And a lot of other distinguished small press publishers as well.)
I understand that Consortium has been very important for publishers like Uncivilized and Koyama—and that Consortium is pretty aggressive about bringing new comics publishers into their fold. At CAB I also heard a bunch of griping about Diamond—mostly shipping dates catalog listing and so on. Small things, and Diamond is pretty much the rock of the industry, but if people are getting better service elsewhere they are likely to move.
One thing about the publishers picked up by Consortium—they may be small presses that publish a lot of indie cartoonists, but many of their books aren’t necessarily limited in audience to hardcore indie comics readers. For instance, Wendy, shown above, is a popular webcomic and a devastating take on socialite culture. Sam Henderson’s books are just funny gags, Nobrow puts out a ton of books that are just great to look at, Uncivilized books are smart and accessible, Edie Fake’s work has gotten acclaim many places, Toon Books are award winning crowd pleasers and so on. Getting better distribution seems to be a very important move for all these publishers and I expect we’ll hear more about this in 2015
Robyn Chapman has some thoughts about this and what it means to micro presses here.
Well, sort of. It’s well known that some used book prices on Amazon are just kind of…loony. Take for instance, Monsters by Ken Dahl, an excellent book about a guy who thinks he has herpes by Ken Dahl, published by Secret Acres but now out of print. (A new edition is planned for next year.) In the meantime, you can get a used copy for a mere $394.94… or brand new for $11,964.08.
Is this real? I doubt it. I know most of these books mentioned below can be found placidly waiting in bargain boxes at cons. Paging Frank Santoro!
I know a lot of old manga books do legit go for some high prices. For instance, TokyoPop’s Rave Master (4,5,6,7,8,9) in a nice set, goes for $168 in library binding (that’s hardcover) and
but $8,038.21 used. And they wonder why people turn to piracy!
Some other pricey old books: Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Volume 5 (v. 5) = $499.00
Julie Doucet & Michel Go W/DVD – $173.16
The recent Passion of Gengoroh Tagame by now defunct Picturebox is listed at $226.73 used, and $598.77 new. I know this book does have a loyal fetish following so…supply and demand.
Another Picturebox book, C.F.: Powr Mastrs Vol. 1 by Fort Thunder alum CF is listed at $134.62 used, $154.47 new. Glad I saved my copies!
Digging around some more long gone publishers, I found this from Highwater, Mat Brinkman’s Teratoid Heights at $220.00. That was a great book!
And then there’s Buenaventura Press, which published Souvlaki Circus by finnish artist Amanda Vähämäki $265.35 used, or $331.68 new/
Oddly, the book that you’d think would be the most valuable, the huge epic Kramers Ergot 7 goes for a mere $140.00 used and only $112.50 new! The retail price was $125 so this is a bargain. Some people in the comments mention copies going for $1000 back in the day—the print run was destroyed by mold under mysterious circumstances—but obviously now its just another large, beautiful object to keep around the house.
Not just out of business publishers. I checked Dark Horse and found The Hellboy Collection: The Story So Far Volumes 1-7 Bundle going for $2,881.50. I used to have all these but I think I sold them to the Strand for $20. =(
The moral of the story? Never throw anything out! I don’t!
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Gary Spencer Millidge‘s Strangehaven may well be the best comic you’ve never read. Originally self-published in eighteen issues over the course of ten years, between 1995 and 2005 (with three collected editions, Arcadia, Brotherhood, and Conspiracies), it has been on what seemed like a permanent hiatus since then, despite the plaintiff pleas of tear-drenched fans like myself. Now, though, Strangehaven has returned in the pages of Soaring Penguin Press‘s anthology magazine Meanwhile…, whose first issue has just been published, which very nicely suimmarises the story to date, for all you new readers.
Briefly, Strangehaven is the story of a man who crashes his car in deepest rural England, and wakes up to find himself in a small village called Strangehaven. From there on, strange things happen. Very strange things. Not only does Strangehaven have a compelling and nicely convoluted storyline, with all sorts of odd and interesting characters, but Gary Spencer Millidge’s art is beautiful too, being a gorgeous photo-realistic depiction of the people, their lives, and the village they live in. If you’re wondering where you heard Gary’s name before, you probably heard it as the author of 2011’s Alan Moore: Storyteller, or of 2009’s Comic Book Design: The Essential Guide to Creating Great Comics and Graphic Novels, both of which come recommended. Since I started reading Strangehaven myself, I’m corresponded with, met, and got to know Gary, the creator of the book, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to ask him a few questions about it…
Pádraig Ó Méalóid: for those arriving late to the party, gave you give us a brief, bullet-point synopsis of what Strangehaven is about?
Gary Spencer Millidge: Not really. This is the one question every interviewer used to start with when I first started self-publishing Strangehaven in 1995, and I used to hate it with a passion. Partly because I didn’t know how to answer it. I didn’t know what Strangehaven was about for a couple of years, and giving a brief synopsis of the plot would, I felt, reveal too much about it. I also hated repeating myself in every interview, and I used to churn out the same, “Strangehaven is a village on the edge of Dartmoor in the rural south-west of England, blah, blah, blah” until I realised I could actually answer the question any way I damn pleased.
So what I’d want to say about Strangehaven today is that it’s a number of storylines that weave in and out of each other concerning the lives of the inhabitants of an improbably isolated village, very much in the vein of British ‘60s television like The Avengers and The Prisoner, but was also inspired by Twin Peaks. At the time, I was reading the new vein of naturalistic comics like Heartbreak Soup, Big Numbers, Dave McKean’s Cages, Strangers in Paradise, and I think you can probably spot various influences from those in my work as well. [Not to mention on this noticeboard, from the first volume, Arcadia – PÓM]
I originally called it a surreal soap opera, but I think that turned out to be off-base, and it might be better to describe it as a magical reality mystery, or something. I wanted to reflect real life rather than clichéd and predictable soap opera plotting even if many of my characters were tongue-in-cheek archetypes.
As for what it’s actually about, I’d say it’s about the perception of reality, but that sounds terribly pompous and dull.
PÓM: There are three previous volumes of Strangehaven – is this storyline going to be the fourth and final one?
GSM: The short answer is yes. There is a twinge of regret and uncertainty when I say that, but that probably is the case, if only for the sake of my long-suffering readers.
I was very much inspired by Dave Sim and Gerhard’s Cerebus, which for those that don’t know, was self-published monthly for 300 issues. I always loved the ongoing serial aspect of the comic book, but even by the late 1990s, this was changing. Trade paperback collections were beginning to emerge as a viable business model, and it was hard to convince new readers to join the party at issue 11 or whatever. Paperback collections were the answer to a degree, but the difficulty then was keeping all the books in print. There was no print-on-demand, and for a self-publisher to have to print at least 1000 copies at a time pretty much absorbed any profit the endeavour was making.
Not only that, but new readers invariably had to be pointed towards the first book, which for obvious reasons contained some of the weakest material (certainly art-wise). So at what became the halfway point, I decided a four volume series would be symmetrically and structurally pleasing.
PÓM: Have you known from the start how it’s all going to end?
GSM: There wasn’t ever meant to be an end. I wasn’t sure how the first issue was going to end when I started, to be honest. The first issue alone was more comics pages than I had ever drawn in my life before, put together. As I say, it was intended to be an ongoing, open-ended series. I figured that there could be collected editions by character arc – e.g. a Megaron and Chippy one, and Alex and Janey one and so on. I had imagined Strangehaven as a sort of anthology of different stories set in the same village, at the same time.
But pretty soon, the characters had increasingly become such large parts of each other’s story arcs that I abandoned this idea. Strangehaven was never meant to be built around a single plot. What I ended up with was numerous plotlines and characters that entangled themselves so intricately that I couldn’t pick them apart; which satisfied my perverse desire to be unconventional, but made Strangehaven a hard sell to foreign publishers and film producers and the like.
So, way back in 1999, after I had completed volume two, I decided that Strangehaven really needed to be a finite series and sat down and plotted out the next two books there and then. That’s pretty much the template I’ve been following ever since, and that’s when the ending (such as it is) was cast in stone.
PÓM: Is it rude of me to ask how long it’s going to take to get to the end of volume four, if you’re doing sixteen pages every two months? Call me cynical, but I’m just wondering how long it’ll be before I can sit down and read the entire things through, in actual book form…
GSM: Most episodes will be a tad shorter than that, about 13-14 pages. Essentially, it’s about half an old Strangehaven issue’s worth per Meanwhile… issue. Twelve episodes in all. Assuming that Meanwhile… maintains its intended bimonthly basis, it’ll take two years before the last episode’s published.
How soon after that any collection is published is dependent on a couple of factors; there are contractual considerations and so on, and of course, that’s all dependent on everything going smoothly, which, looking back over the previous twenty years, isn’t a given.
PÓM: Have you given any thought to re-releasing the first three volumes of Strangehaven, or are they still readily available?
GSM: They are, and have always been, in print, and theoretically available to order from comic stores, book shops and the usual Internet retail outlets, as well as directly from my own website, or from Top Shelf in the USA.
I say theoretically because there have been various distribution hiccups, one in particular that led to Amazon claiming volume three was out of print and only ‘available from these sellers’ for a couple of years, one of which was testing the waters by offering copies at £150 each. And it’s an incredibly difficult task to get Amazon to change factual errors, especially when going through a third party distributor.
I do believe all those wrinkles have now been ironed out (at least for the time being), so you should be able to order a copy in any of those places. Or if you’re lucky enough to live in Nottingham, Page 45 always stocks them.
PÓM: Do you have any misgivings about this new work being in colour, seeing as the work up to now was in good old black & white?
GSM: Well no, I wouldn’t say ‘misgivings’ exactly. Certainly when I originally signed up to producing new episodes for Meanwhile… I was expecting to do them in monochrome. John the publisher had floated the idea of colour in the early stages of negotiation, but I had dismissed it out of hand. I thought it would add an unnecessary additional stage to production and cause a potential conundrum for any future collected editions. And I am possibly correct about both those things.
But as plans for the anthology developed, it became apparent that John would be very keen to see these new episodes in colour, and after thinking about it, I thought it may be worth adding that string to my bow, especially as the cost of the colour printing wouldn’t be coming out of my pocket. I thought it might also possibly broaden the appeal of the series.
But it has been difficult to settle upon a technique that I could implement fairly quickly and yet keep the familiar look and feel of Strangehaven. I’m still finishing the art in grey wash tones, the same method with which the previous volume was produced, and adding colour digitally at a later stage. I’m fairly happy with the way it looks on the SEQUENTIAL digital edition, but the printed version of the first issue has turned out a little dark and desaturated. That’s something I’m looking to correct for future episodes. Not that anyone’s commented upon it anyway.
PÓM: Seeing as you were saying that you originally intended this to be ongoing, are there any plans for further Strangehaven stories, after you’ve finished up this initial storyline. Hope springs eternal, etc!
GSM: I’m not sure if anyone will be hoping for more Strangehaven once I finish this fourth volume; it may be the last thing anyone wants. From a personal point of view, after working on this behemoth for twenty years, and trying to get the damn thing resurrected for so long, it would certainly be refreshing to work on something different. I have enough ideas for comics already to keep me busy for the rest of my days, and I’m starting to feel a little restricted by the format I initially devised all that time ago.
You can never say never of course, and I suppose, there’s always the possibility of a ‘twenty-eight years later’ story emerging at some point, but let me finish this damn volume four first, okay?
PÓM: What sort of ideas for comics, do tell?
GSM: Maybe it would be advisable for me to attempt something a little less ambitious than an open-ended ongoing series with a cast of thousands, maybe a self-contained graphic novel to start off with. Obviously I don’t want to say too much about any potential ideas as it’ll be a while before I’d be able to start any serious work on anything new; plans are always shifting and morphing, and I don’t want to get anyone excited about something that may or may not happen.
But I will say I have a couple of well-developed projects that I’ve been fiddling around with for as long as I’ve been doing Strangehaven. In fact one pre-dates Strangehaven; after my Dad unexpectedly died in the late 1980s I wanted to do a memoir in comic book form celebrating his life and I even started work on it, but I soon realised that I didn’t have the chops at that time. So that’s always been on the back burner.
There’s also a globe-spanning Hitchcockian mystery/thriller and a time travel/moral paradox story that I’d like to get done, although I wouldn’t necessarily choose to draw either of those. I have come to the conclusion over recent years that I’m not likely to live long enough to draw all the comics I want to draw and working with a high quality artist would be a good compromise. That would probably mean that I’d need to get a publisher involved, so those projects are a few steps away from happening.
I’ve also become intrigued with the atheist/deist/theist debate and how that relates to current scientific theories about the creation of the universe and quantum mechanics and so on and I think I have a pretty strong idea for a vehicle that could explore that a little bit. That’s not all by any means, but you get the idea.
PÓM: One of my brothers lives on a small island off the south-west coast of Ireland, which has a population of 124, more than half of whom are non-natives, originally not only from various parts of Ireland, but from Germany, Scotland, Canada and elsewhere, so it seems to have that same sort of geographic gravity as Strangehaven does, although possibly not as inescapable. Are we ever going to get any sort of explanation for that?
GSM: That sounds like an interesting island to live, or even visit. Does your brother have any explanation for the diverse nature of the immigrants to his island? Is there one or sixty different explanations? As far as Strangehaven’s concerned, I think it’s pretty well established that it does have an apparent ‘geographic gravity’ as you’ve characterised it, or at least some of the inhabitants seem to think so. Whether it’s relevant to the central themes of the series (if there are any) may or may not be explored in future episodes.
But it is essentially the backbone of the series; it enables me to have a disparate cast with substantially different back stories to explore. At the highest of high altitude maps, Strangehaven is a simply a place full of weird people with their own views on the world.
PÓM: Does it not do your head in having to wrote Adam Douglas’s dialogue? [A character who claims that he’s from another planet – PÓM]
GSM: I’d say no, not really. It’s hardly Hob’s Hog*. You come up with the character, and his speech patterns, and if it’s difficult to write, then that’s part of the challenge of being a writer. It’s probably easier for me than it is for the reader as I know what he is supposed to sound like. Adam’s character is defined well enough in my head to let him ramble on while I merely transcribe what he’s saying.
I have to admit that I introduced Adam as a bit of a novelty, but I immediately became aware that he was a hugely popular character and as a result has become an increasingly important cast member.
Ronnie did say in one issue that she thought he was from Düsseldorf which suggests a Teutonic accent. But some astute readers may wonder why his distinctive use of grammar isn’t entirely consistent – is it because of the writer’s lack of skill, or is Adam not being entirely honest about his origins?
PÓM: I believe that the publication date for Meanwhile… #1 is a bit complicated. What can you tell me?
GSM: For a definitive answer, you would have to ask my publisher, Soaring Penguin Press. They’re essentially a book and graphic novel publisher, and they tend to have different publication dates for the UK and the US. Obviously the direct comics market is a bit different in that periodicals tend to get published simultaneously worldwide. There are some contractual concerns regarding dates which may have complicated things as well, and two British comics festivals – The Lakes and Thought Bubble – were close enough together in the calendar this autumn to make it an irresistible time to launch the anthology in the UK. So it’s been available in the UK at selected outlets since October, but will be getting its full international direct market distribution as from February. (Meanwhile… #1 is listed in the December issue of Diamond Comics’ Previews and can be ordered from your favourite comics retailer from that point. It’s also available on the SEQUENTIAL digital platform as well.)
PÓM: Thanks for taking the time to answer all these, Gary. And I’ll just mention here that we’re part of the way through a longer interview, which might even get finished before Volume 4 of Strangehaven runs its course!
GSM: Well thank you for wading through all that drivel that I’ve supplied in lieu of proper answers to your respectful and pertinent questions. Let’s hope it entertains someone somewhere who’s lost their internet connection and only has this one page to read. And as far as the ‘other’ interview is going, well let’s resolve to have a race to see who finishes first.
[*Obligatory obscure Alan Moore reference.]