I have to admit, I wouldn’t have thought that it would ever get to a day when I was wishing that Joe Quesada or someone would give an interview that was so boneheaded and full of ridiculous upsetting quotes that the entire internet was aflame, but… man, did nothing happen this week?
You know that it’s a slow week when the first thing I ask in this column is whether I was alone in thinking that Lucy in this week’s The OC was really just Knives Chau from Scott Pilgrim or not (I mean, seriously. She was, wasn’t she?). You can tell the lack of news this week by looking at the front page of the mothership, which has mostly been dominated by running series, whether it be Rick Remender talking about new upcoming artists or Brian Michael Bendis talking about his New New Avengers. Mind you, Bendis’s Avengers round-up did manage to continue to fuel speculation that Captain America is going to be out of the picture for some reason at the end of Civil War:
[New Avengers] is Cap’s team. Cap said these people are the Avengers so that is why they are Avengers. And what that means and how that motivates the team is a big, big, big, big part of why the series exists after Civil War. These people are together for a reason and just because the person who put them together isn’t physically there doesn’t mean that reason doesn’t matter… or matter more… There is a line in New Avengers #27 where someone asks “What makes us Avengers?” and I think Luke says, “Captain America said we’re Avengers”…
Yeah, that says it all.
Marvel continued to push Paul Jenkins as the public face of Civil War fallout this week, as he gave two interviews about his involvement in the series: One, a spoiler-free (and, let’s face it, kind of interest-free as a result) one about Civil War: The Return, and another about Penance, the superhero who likes it when he cuts himself shaving. In other Marvel news, Bob Layton meets his End, Former Man@Marvel and current Editor@Marvel Bill Rosemann talked Runaways spin-off The Loners, and everyone loves Kyle Rayner – I mean, Richard Ryder.
DC, meanwhile, stayed suspiciously quiet about that whole Stephanie Fierman thing from last week, and instead tried to keep their heads down – Jeff Smith talked about Shazam, Michael Siglain talked about 52 as usual (although he left it to Greg Cox to talk about the novelization thereof), and, uh, that was about it. Perhaps they were feeling scared of Brian Hibbs, who looked at how the two post-Infinite Crisis initiatives had worked out:
So, now we’re about 9 months after OYL, and I think it’s safe to report (well for Comix Experience, at least) that OYL ultimately ended up as an failure. Yes, we got an initial boost, but in most cases the numbers went very quickly right back to where they were prior to the stunt, and in the case of about half of the line, considerably weaker.
That initial boost was often very significant – we more than doubled books like Aquaman and Hawkgirl from their pre-OYL figures as we had a tremendous number of people sampling those titles new creative teams, and new directions – but it became very clear, very quickly, that none of this new audience was sticking. Nine months later, virtually every affected title is now back below its pre-OYL numbers.
Sales were a topic in general this week, as Diamond released their 2006 sales chart, which was more or less as you’d expect:
At this stage in the Direct Market, almost needless to say, all books in the Top 100 were from Marvel or DC, with a fairly even split of 53 Marvel, 47 DC, although a great deal of that latter figure has to be credited to the weekly sales juggernaut 52, which accounted over half (24 of 47) of DC’s titles in the Top 100.
This just in: DC to rename 52 “75653″ and to extend its run for a further 75601 weeks.
Of course, with news from the Big Two at a minimum this week, it gave smaller publishers a chance to be heard for a change. First up, Xeric Award winner, Josh Kemble:
I was walking home from the bus stop that I usually walk home from on my way back from my work. As I was heading home from the bus stop, I passed by two black males, about 7 feet tall, then walked on, just like your normal day. When I reached the entrance to my apartment, one of the guys asked if I had a light.
I turned and handed one of them my lighter, and then they proceeded to hit me. I tried to run, but both of them caught up quick and punched me repeatedly in the head, then followed up by kicking me in the stomach, taking my bag and my wallet. I had a laceration on the back of my scalp, a broken tooth, as well as a lacerated lower lip, and multiple bruises. The worst part though, was that in my bag, my external hard drive, with everything, and I mean, everything, that I’ve done art wise (not backed up) for the past 3 to 4 years was sitting.
So, basically, in about 5 minutes, I lost my entire portfolio, as well as the finished pages for my upcoming graphic novel for NBM. Luckily, I still have my original inked pages, so I’ll be able to re-scan, write, correct errors in the inks, and color the comic, and be back up to speed with the comic, but it’s unfortunate, because I’m unsure of how far behind schedule this will put the release of my comic. Also, luckily I am now physically okay. I got a crown to replace the broken front tooth, as well as stitches and staples to fix the lacerations (all of which have now healed quite well). However, I’m still a bit irked about loosing all of the artwork, as well as the steep medical bills (as I’m uninsured). But, for me, making comic books is very much motivation to live, as well as the motivation to have bad things happen, yet shrug them off.
Dean Haspiel isn’t quite so unlucky, as he talks about the creation of his new webcomic, Fear, My Dear:
My “ear” for dialogue isn’t really the stuff that sounds so swell when spoken. Certain dialogue sings better read and that’s the stuff I like to write. My formative years had me studying Shakespeare and Stan Lee and, later on, indulging Harold Pinter and Mickey Spillane, all the while listening to rap and funk music. Can you get more abstract and hyperbolic? I don’t think so… Converting my usual layouts into a staggered, square-bound format for the internet was compositionally challenging but allowed for interesting narrative play. Plus, I was duly warned to think ahead for upcoming digital platforms and I wanted to keep my web-comix available.
Pinter meets Ghostface Killah too much for you? Perhaps you should stick with true stories. True-life pet crime stories, that is:
Some people seem perfectly content to create comic books that no one sees. They work for years on issues, and then, when they are done they distribute them to friends and family and are already working on the next book for that same audience.
That isn’t the case with Pet Noir creator/editor Shannon O’Leary – no, the initial mini-comic with one story generated enough interest for her to do a book, and here we are. Pet Noir is a book of short stories that adapt true crime stories involving domesticated animals. O’Leary wrote about half the stories in Pet Noir and had it illustrated by scores of upcoming artists such as Eric Saxby, John Isaacson, August Bournique and many more.
Pet Noir, people. That’s genius right there. For more genius, look no further than Kevin Huizenga:
All I really know of the world is my own experience as a guy living in the suburbs. Since that’s the limit of my experience that’s really all I can write about. I have done autobiographical stuff in the past but I’ve shied away from that now because of the complications that arise when you’re doing something as straight auto-bio. I feel like I have to distort myself a little bit to make myself into a character in the story and I have to distort the event to not give away too much private information and so forth. It just feels like I’m already fictionalizing it enough that I might as well go all the way and fictionalize it… [I]t seems like it would be an easy thing to do as a writer but I think if you’re going to commit yourself to autobiography you’re committing yourself to changing yourself day to day as well. You start to become a character in a comic, but then in real life you’re still a character in a comic. I don’t know how someone like Jeffrey Brown or Crumb does it.
If having a headline story on Newsarama means that one person suddenly goes from only reading Marvel or DC to picking up a Huizenga comic, then everything on the entire internet has been worth it. Yes, even that whole “Felicia” thing from a few years ago. More proof that the world can sometimes be a just and wonderful place? Critically acclaimed indie Mouse Guard is getting its own toy line:
Put your pant legs in your boots because the mice from David Petersen’s MOUSE GUARD are coming courtesy of Diamond Select Toys and Collectibles (DST) and ASP Comics. The licensing agreement will bring to life collectibles based on the popular characters from the best-selling comic book series, including our heroes Saxon, Kenzie, Lieam, and Sadie; in time, other characters will include Celanawe the ancient mouse of the Old Guard, Conrad the brave but crusty peg-legged mouse, Midnight impersonating the Black Axe, and more.
More details and samples of this upcoming line will be available at the International Toy Fair, February 2007.
But if that isn’t enough for you to feel good about reading comics, then just remember: Attractive people read them, too. And maybe that’s enough.