So, it’s the first week of 2007, so you’d think that Newsarama would be pretty slow, right…? Well, if it hadn’t been for Chuck Dixon, Tom Brevoort and Joe Quesada, that might’ve been the case. For those who haven’t had the time or the inclination to check out the mothership this week, this is what you missed.
To be fair, the week did start relatively quietly, although Chris Arrant’s interview with the Drink and Draw Social Club was an early highlight, with founder Dave Johnson explaining the history of the group:
It all started about a year ago when I decided that social interaction is a good thing for solitary artist like myself. So thinking that I then came to the conclusion that Dan Panosian and Jeff Johnson would be good people to have a drink or two with from time to time. The only problem was that Dan was married and Jeff was in a serious relationship, so that made hanging out in dive bars trying to get rejected by lovely girls wasn’t very practical for them. So I devised a devious plan to draw attention away from that side of things in a bar and suggested an artistic activity that would satisfy all parties. So far all their relationships are still going strong, and I’m free to be rejected by women that come in all shapes and sizes.
Also fairly early in the week, Ryan McLelland’s recounting of how indie creator HC Noel came to be, well, screwed by Open Book Press was something that got a lot of attention from the blogosphere (with Chris Butcher’s take in particular being worth reading):
It’s every indy comic creators dream: to be signed by a publisher and have their creations go from production at Kinko’s to high-quality versions that hit comic book stores nationwide. For indy comic Mr. Scootles that point finally came in 2006 when it was signed by Open Book Press and its newly relaunched SMASH Comics. When Mr. Scootles’ creator had a disagreement with how his property was being handled with Open Book he was free to null the contract, leave the company, and continue publishing the book on his own. What next happened was a true rarity in the comic book world. Open Book decided to publish the first three issue of Mr. Scootles, openly soliciting the books on such venues as Amazon.com, and a creator who signed a deal only to have it fall apart found himself on the sidelines as his own creation was continued to be printed while he made nothing from it.
Something that did come from the whole affair was a preview of the entire first issue, however, so that you can sample the book prior to HC Noel’s own release of a trade paperback that he will see some money from.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the problems that the West Coast had with deliveries of Civil War #6 (and many other titles) were highlighted at the same time as previews of CW #6 rubbed in the lack of copies that’d be delivered over here (There were lots of other previews this week from Marvel: For this week’s Civil War-related books, the first five pages of Warren Ellis’s first issue of the now Suicide Squad-esque Thunderbolts, and of the last page of this week’s Amazing Spider-Man, hinting at yet another unhappy ending at the House of Misery. I mean, House of Ideas.). Not that that was the last you’d hear of Civil War this week, as Tom Brevoort gave his traditional Civil War Room post-release interview, ending with a hint that #7 is going to miss its third release date after all:
At this stage, we’ve finalized the page count for the issue, and as predicted, it’s a bit larger than a normal issue, clocking in at 28 pages. So we’re computing the schedule based on this fact (and now that we’re past the holidays so we can see what kind of effect they had upon everybody’s productivity) and David Gabriel and his guys will have an update on the shipping situation for everybody on Tuesday the 9tth! Extra pages, no extra cost!
And extra wait, too! Gee, thanks, Marvel!
If that’s not enough Marvel for you, then you might also want to go read this week’s Joe Fridays, where Joe Quesada explains why you really should be supporting Iron Man after all, idiots:
Look, for me, and this is just me speaking, my opinion – people tend to vote for things with their hearts, not everyone, but most. The Internet is the poster child for this sort of experience and behavior, it defines knee jerk reaction. It’s this kind of behavior that Madison Avenue and politicians and yes, even storytellers, have taken advantage of. It’s used in every advertising and political campaign, every politician, every party uses it; they pull at the heartstrings of the public because they know that for the most part we’ll vote with our hearts before our heads. Readers are viewing this story and they see the little guys (Cap and crew) rallying against the big guys (Tony and the government) and the immediate impulse it to root for the underdog because we all see ourselves in that role. But thinking it through logically, I see that there are merits and faults to both arguments.
Also, many people have a tendency to want to root against the government, but take a close look, in the instance of Civil War, the government is acting responsibly as it is answering the will of the people of America in the Marvel Universe and isn’t that what good government is supposed to do?
Everyone, remember: This is the man who said that he wanted to kill Speedball, but only succeeded in turning him into a fetish posterboy with spikes, instead. So don’t believe a word he says. If you need more proof, listen to his Christmas song, which makes fun of the Civil War delays because, hey, screwing retailers is fun!
DC, in comparison, had a much quieter week at the ‘Rama: Michael Siglain did his 5.2 about 52, there were previews for this week’s and next week’s books, and Ron Marz talked about his emerald Mary Sue, Kyle Rayner and the way the industry works:
I think the “buzz cycle” in comics has become so short, mostly because of internet fandom, that people generally don’t talk about what’s going on now, they’re always speculating about what happens next. I’m pretty sure Ion has sold better than most if not all of the other One Year Later launches, so somebody’s looking at it. I just don’t know what kind of barometer the internet, and specifically message boards, really give you. There are books that are message board darlings, but you look at the sales and they barely order 4,000 copies an issue. And some books that seem to be pretty universally loathed actually sell very well.
But, really, though, the week’s controversy was provided by Chuck Dixon. He’s writing a new Wildstorm book that co-stars the Midnighter from the Authority. And if, when it was announced, you thought something along the lines of “Rightwing writer who’s previously spoken out against gay characters in book writing one of the most well-known leftwing gay characters in mainstream comics? WTF?”, then Chuck has something to say to you:
There’s a lot of liberal wish-fulfillment wrapped up in the character… [H]e does what a good liberal could never do but probably wishes he could. Midnighter embodies the rage and fury I see coming from the anti-Bush crowd. There’s no denying this. No one who’s written him this way would try and distant themselves from that description any more than I would deny the Punisher serving the same purpose on the opposite of the scale. [As for his sexuality, my] opinions on this have never come from a position of intolerance. It’s all a matter of context. Sure, the kids are gonna have to learn about love and sex and relationships. But why can’t that be outside the pages of a superhero comic? Why do comic writers have to take on the mantle of social engineer? I haven’t met a comic book writer yet I’d let talk to my kids about sex. Why would I want them doing it as part of a story about super-powered men and women in tights? …Midnighter was firmly established as having a homosexual relationship with Apollo and that’s the way I’m writing him. The Authority was always a mature readers book and I don’t have any problem with the frank presentation of sexual relationships there any more than I would in a movie or television show intended for the same audience.
As you might expect, the talkback thread is already past nine pages, and currently on the subject on whether the constitution of the United States should be amended by the Supreme Court or something. Say what you like about Newsarama, but the lack of thread drift and discussion isn’t really a problem we’ve ever had to deal with.
Coming up this week: Marvel sales guru David Gabriel is due to update the Civil War shipping schedule. The last time this happened, we were told that retailers had asked for it, so in the words of McAlmont and Butler, “What’s the excuse this time?”