Mind if I make myself unpopular with Dan DiDio for a second? Thanks.
The channels that are carrying a lot of the reaction that I’m seeing are coming from the stores themselves and from fans that I’m at conventions with. I attend multiple conventions throughout the course of the year, and I’ve gotten a very positive reaction to what’s going on.
Given that there seems to be a very vocal – and I don’t know its size – group of fans online that is counter to that hasn’t really affected sales at all. I find it humorous that information that comes to me from online is erroneous in regards to the actual sales figures… The reality is that the sales are there, the strength is there, and I have a lot of faith in regards to how the series works and how it’s moving forward.
The sales are there, Dan? Really? Because, judging by the July sales figures released this week, Countdown’s sales are slipping (Don’t compare them to June’s sales index like I did at first, because the baseline book from there was different, so the indexes are way off), and it’s still selling less than 52…
That said, Dan’s defensive interview wasn’t anywhere near the most interesting thing in a fairly content heavy week on the main site – DC, in general, had a relatively slight week there, with only Kelley Puckett’s interview about his and Drew Johnson’s upcoming run on Supergirl really counting as news otherwise. That interview included the awesome line “I don’t know that I am good at it, but I somehow seem to have become the (very) poor man’s Joss Whedon in this industry,” which is both wonderfully arrogant and appropriate all at once. It’s not the worst line on the site this week, though. That falls to Jenna Jameson, in the press release announcing that Christina Z is to write Jameson’s comic for Virgin Comics:
“Christina is awesome,” said Jenna Jameson. “Collaborating with her is a pleasure—and believe me, I know pleasure.”
But, yeah. It wasn’t a quiet week at the ‘Rama – As the comic industry tried to come to terms with the shocking and sudden death of Mike Wieringo, the site ran two threads of tribute to the artist, as well as running the news that the Baltimore Comic-Con is planning Mike Wieringo tribute at the next convention, something that he and his work deserved all along, sadly.
Elsewhere, waves were being made by the delaying of the Gordon Lee obscenity trial until November, due to the judge’s illness. As much as I want to be snarky about this case due to my belief that Lee shouldn’t have to go through this in the first place, The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Charles Brownstein is much more mature about the whole thing:
Everyone gets sick, and Judge Salmon would surely excuse either our team or the prosecution from trial if any of our key players were too ill to appear… This isn’t like the prosecutors calling off the case in April of 2006 because they had their facts wrong; this is a normal, unavoidable human reality.
Goddammit, I can’t even be snarky about Diamond increasing its bookstore presence through representing new publishers in new markets, because that’s just a very, very dull story. Isn’t there anything I can make cheap jokes about this week?
Marvel Entertainment, Inc. and Dabel Brothers Productions, LLC announced today that they are mutually ending their publishing relationship… Going forward, Marvel will continue to publish Anita Blake Vampire Hunter by Laurell K. Hamilton; the Hedge Knight series by George RR Martin; Tales of Alvin Maker and Wyrms by Orson Scott Card; Magician Apprentice by Raymond Feist; Lords of Avalon by Kinley MacGregor; and Highwayman by R.A. Salvatore. Dabel Brothers Productions will begin work on its next wave of books, slated for release in early 2008.
So, Marvel and Dabel split and Marvel gets custody of the kids? What’s that all about? Les Dabel appeared on the mothership to offer content-free attempts to calm fans down:
We can’t go into the details about the deal structure, but we are leaving the partnership with Marvel extremely happy and on good terms. We’ve got many good things on the way, and we view this as a positive step… Obviously we can’t go into the details, but part of the terms of the split were that Marvel would retain rights to finish certain titles and continue some… Unfortunately, we can’t go into any actual details about the contract and how it was set up, but Marvel will continue with the titles and now it’s time for us to expand and grow as a publisher… Again, at this time we cannot comment, but we have big things planned.
Now, some would say that Dabel was only offering meaningless platitudes, but I disagree. Look at how profound his closing statement is:
Our primary goal is to become “the literary arm of the comic book industry,” and that’s what we’re aiming to do!
They’re aiming to fulfill their primary goal, people. That’s how serious they are.
Of course, they’re taking a detour from their primary goal to deal with the less-than-literary charms of Dean Koontz, as their Friday announcement of their first post-Marvel project, an adaptation of Koontz’s “Frankenstein Book One: Prodigal Son” shook the comics world to at least one of its very foundations.
The rest of the foundations? They were too busy quaking after reading both of Alex Ross’s interviews this week (one on his Dynamite book Superpowers, another on his Marvel comeback Avengers/Invaders) and finding that Ross is beginning to… mellow…:
I spent way too many years trying to “educate the world” with what I saw as my important comic book opuses. Now I just want to create fun stuff…
Fun, leaden, lushy-painted lifeless fun stuff, but fun stuff nonetheless…