Bestofmostof.com talks to Dean Mullaney, former Eclipse Comics publisher, about the new Terry and the Pirates and Little Orphan Annie books he’s compiling for IDW, as well as why Eclipse went under … Dean explains how Eclipse was trying to work with bookstores before it was cool:
The irony of all this is that, in this day and age when graphic novels are regularly reviewed in the mainstream press, the reason Eclipse went under was due to my single-minded desire to establish graphic novels in mainstream bookstores. Eclipse had signed a mutually-exclusive contract with HarperCollins to produce graphic novels. The plan was to first introduce titles by authors already known to booksellers — J.R.R. Tolkien, Clive Barker, Dean Koontz, Anne McCaffrey… we even had an original by Doris Lessing in the planning stages.
Unfortunately, HarperCollins didn’t, in my opinion, really understand what graphic novels were all about. And there were internal conflicts at HC, to which I was never privy, that left Eclipse holding the bag. They had given us an advance to start production, but that money ran out, and we had a full schedule in production. We never received a single royalty statement, let alone check, from HC’s sales to bookstores. The cash flow deficit eventually forced us to close up shop.
Back in the day, Eclipse published a lot of great comics — everything from Scout to Tales of the Beanworld to DNAgents to Reid Fleming to the legendary Miracleman. They were also one of the first publishers to publish Japanese manga in English, including Appleseed and Xenon. The Comics Warehouse site has an index of everything they published.
Part two of the interview will run in a few days.