And this week, Joe Quesada apologized for Civil War! April Fool! Instead, he stood up to Newsarama posters and snark worldwide by refusing to answer a question in this week’s Joe Fridays:
You know, ApacheDick, I would love to answer your question. But, when someone asks stuff in a rude fashion as you have by insulting creators, you couldn’t possibly expect me to answer it right? Guess what, you’re absolutely right, I’m not answering your question.
Now that should be read with a snarky tone.
It’s New Joe Badass! It’s New Joe Taking-A-Stand! It’s… oh, alright, it’s trash-talk-business-as-usual, I admit. But at least he managed to tell us how great World War Hulk is, so at least there was some point to the column. April Fools!
I promise that I’m not going to keep up the whole April Fool’s thing throughout the whole column. Honest. Apri – Oh, never mind.
In comparison, most of this week’s publishing announcements faded into the background; who really cares about the revival of the Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters or the new J. Michael Straczynski Thor series (although those are some nice Copiel pages), you know? That said, there were some publishing announcements that may be important in the future, as Image breakaway Desperado signed a booktrade agreement with Diamond Distributors and Top Cow launched a paid download comic service through IGN. Two publishers moving away from the direct market looking for new ways to reach a readership that doesn’t come into the store every Wednesday… The shape of things to come, perhaps…?
That shape is one that’s been inhabited for awhile by Tokyopop, who want to mine that teen girl audience even deeper by bringing in Avril Lavigne [Except, of course, it's actually Del Rey who are publishing the Levigne book; chalk this mistake up to me writing this waaaay too early in the morning, and thanks to Heidi in the comments for the correction]. The mothership asked the Josh Dysart, writer of Avril Levigne’s Make 5 Wishes, why he had to go and make things so complicated:
It needed to be done immediately. I think the people involved in it were not exactly aware of the time it takes to produce good comics. So there was an immediacy about it that was pretty intense. They asked me to give them three story pitches and Camilla [D'Errico, artist on the book] had a pitch as well. Over the course of 24 hours, I actually produced nine pitches so including Camilla’s, there were ten. I reframed Camilla’s pitch and found what was interesting about it to me and made it universal for the two of us. Then we presented it to them. It was Camilla’s pitch they went with, which was interesting. I had things like, two lesbians kidnapping Avril Lavigne and keeping her in a hotel room [laughs].
Tokyopop were also represented by Eric Wight [Or not "also," considering the above error. D'oh.], whose My Dead Girlfriend was released last month. He gave an exit interview, talking about the entire experience so far:
The overcrowded marketplace is completely intimidating, but you kind of have to block all of that out and just focus on doing your best work. Otherwise you can become paralyzed with second guesses. Blending genres was actually more organic than you might suspect. It’s really just an amalgam of all the things I enjoy reading and drawing rolled into one story… I wanted to create comics for a living because of storylines like the Dark Phoenix Saga and Crisis on Infinite Earths. My foundation in comics was completely superhero driven. And you’ll find that influence throughout My Dead Girlfriend. This book is truly for anyone that loves sequential storytelling, not one specific genre or format.
Continuing the teenage kicks theme, it turned out that Marvel was muscling in on the action thanks to Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona:
RUNAWAYS, the award-winning series from Brian K. Vaughan, has been nominated for another award – one that will put the book in the hands of thousands of kids! Runaways Vol. 1: Pride & Joy HC is up for the Georgia Peach Award, where the winners of the award become required reading in the Georgia school system, vastly expanding the audience for this critic- and fan-favorite!
In the nomination letter, the Co-Chairs explained what this award means, “The purpose of the Georgia Peach Award is to highlight and promote the best current young adult literature for Georgia high school age students, to encourage young adults to read and to promote the development of cooperative school and public library services for young adults.”
(Would it be stretching things to mention Peter Milligan’s JLA Classified arc about Amazo’s son here? Probably.)
Someone who doesn’t need any help breaking new audiences is Kean Soo, whose Jellaby is about to make the leap from webcomic to publication at Disney’s Hyperion For Kids imprint. Soo talked about where the story will go next:
I think when you’re working on any one thing for that length of time, it’s pretty much a given that the characters will shift and change from under you. If anything, they’ve become much more interesting characters with much clearer voices to me. Pretty much all the fun for me these days is just seeing where these characters are going to lead me next. The book deal hasn’t really changed how I approach the story or the characters, though. My editor and everyone at Hyperion have been really supportive of the story, even with the darker elements that have started creeping into the latter stages of the book.
(Meanwhile, Disney proper are releasing Meeting The Robinsons this weekend, and Steve Fritz interviewed the men behind the movie. Here’s hoping that it’ll be a success, just like – surprisingly – the TMNT movie. Dude, the TMNT movie was number one last week. How did that happen?)
If it seems that all-ages comics was a theme this week, blame Tracy Edmunds, whose All Ages Reads column this week was an interview with Janna Morishima of Diamond Book Distributors’ newly formed Diamond Kids Group, who had some of the most interesting things to say in the last seven days:
Absolutely, librarians are the graphic novel industry’s biggest cheerleaders. I have never heard of a library that introduced graphic novels without seeing healthy — or even abnormally high — circulation rates. So the answer is yes, librarians are still excited about graphic novels, and we (the graphic novel industry) are correspondingly excited about librarians. Seattle was a nice lovefest.
As a matter of fact, by this point some librarians are so ahead of the curve that the rest of us in the industry should be turning to them for advice. Questions like how to shelve graphic novels for maximum exposure, the most useful ways to categorize graphic novels by age level and genre, how to lure new and reluctant readers, what types of stories kids respond to … librarians have been grappling with these questions for a few years now, and they have strong and well-founded opinions.
Ignoring the librarians are the Big Two, who know what their audience wants: Crossovers (oh, and crossovers), War (and Warriors), Spiders and, well, Lego video games. I’m telling you; we’re all doomed, no matter how many Hero Initiatives are coming to save us (Congratulations to Jim McLauchlin, though). See what happens when your editors (and editor-in-chiefs) pay too much attention to the internet? I’m making up a new t-shirt: Tom Brevoort Was Right.