Print and digital comics will always coexist. When I first broke into comics, there was a trade paperback revolution, when multiple issues of most comics started being collected for sale in bookstores, etc. A lot of people thought that would be the death of serialized comics, as monthly readers would inevitably all start “waiting for the trade.” But instead, it created a whole new audience of readers who might never visit a comic-book store for their weekly fix, but who loved picking up collected editions at Barnes & Noble or on Amazon. Similarly, the digital market doesn’t seem to be cannibalizing the print market. For example, as the sales numbers for the digital edition of “Saga” go up every month, so do the numbers for our print versions. It’s a brave new world out there.
Brian K. Vaughan is talking aboutThe Private Eye, Panel Syndicate and digital and print comics over at the New York Times, which – y’know, is something.
So, who’s doing Action Comics now that Andy Diggle has left the title? All those who said “Tony Daniel, right…?” the answer is, not really:
Yes, many have heard, Andy Diggle left Action Comics after the first issue. I can only say I feel bad he made that decision. I think it was the wrong one, but that was his choice to make. For the remainder of the arc I’ll be working off his plots to finish out this first arc. So essentially, I become ‘scripter’ in the credits w/ Andy as ‘plotter.’ As for myself, I end my short run after I complete this first arc, which ends with issue 21. This was preplanned since last fall as there is another project I’ll be taking on, and assisting with, a massive project with DC. I still think people will like this arc and I’m staying as true as I can be to Andy’s plans for this story. In the end I hope he’ll find it somewhat recognizable as something he took part in.
So, Daniel’s off the book after three issues. That means, come #22 – that’s the July issue, or the issue in the very next round of solicitations – we’ll get an all-new Action team. But who?
Everyone seems to think I love to spoil stories but it’s just not true, when I discovered one aspect to the ending of Age Of Ultron after the Marvel Summit, they asked me not to run it, so I didn’t (even though it screams at me from this month’s solicitations- could only eight people really know this one?)… Later, however, I was told a different aspect to the ending, which caused Marvel to properly panic when I shared with Marvel that I knew it – or at least a part of it – and I was told there were all sorts of legal implications if this story got spoiled by me.
Of course, saying “I know the ending but I can’t tell you” means that (a) Rich gets bragging rights without having to actually prove that he knows anything, and (b) all those who care about guessing the ending go wild at the tease, and try and decipher the clues (In addition to the “It screams at me from this month’s solicitations,” Rich also adds later the phrase “An unexpected guest star joining the Marvel Universe,” which would suggest someone who’s never shown up in a Marvel Comic before. Finally, Marvelman?), which seems to be a win-win scenario for all involved – including Marvel, who essentially get PR for Age of Ultron at no risk, because nothing actually gets spoiled. Everybody wins?
Hey, maybe I should start boasting that I know the ends to stories. I know how DC’s Trinity War en – Nah, I don’t even know how that even starts, yet.
Mike Molcher is the PR guy for 2000AD, and an unsung hero of the Galaxy’s Greatest Comic – Well, partially unsung, as Steve Morris interviews him for The Beat and gets a little singing in:
Building word of mouth isn’t much use when it’s for a single weekly issue because by the time people have heard about it it’s already time for the next issue, but when you have an exciting ongoing storyline then you can really help spread the word. We do weekly press previews to bloggers and journalists; getting those all-important reviews means getting copies in the right people’s hands, something that I think we’re much better at doing now than we ever have been.
It’s worth repeating that 2000AD has been on a massive upswing in quality recently, something that I wouldn’t have known about had I not seen the PR about the title over the last year or so. Those who haven’t checked it out, the issue released this Wednesday digitally is a jumping-on point with all new stories.
Our first new storyline is THE PRIVATE EYE, a forward-looking mystery we created with colorist Muntsa Vicente. Set in a future where privacy is considered a sacred right and everyone has a secret identity, The Private Eye is a serialized sci-fi detective story for mature readers. You can download our 32-page first issue right now, for any price you think is fair. 100% of your payments go directly into our greedy mitts and will help fund the rest of a story that we’re both very proud of (we hope there will be around 10 issues total; an old-school “maxiseries!”), so thanks for reading…
For a writer who jokes about being so old-fashioned that he doesn’t even use email in the letter pages of Saga, going for the download-and-pay-as-you-go model for his second creator-owned title is definitely a surprise, but a really nice one. Plus, it’s Vaughan and Martin. How could this not be awesome? (Also nice: The comic is available in English, Spanish and Catalan…)
Really great news for fans of Chris Schweizer’s great run of Oni OGNS:
Beginning Friday, March 15th, the Eisner Award-nominated Crogan Adventures series will make that jump with the first of a series of six half-hour audio drama episodes. The stories, written by Crogan Adventures cartoonist Chris Schweizer and directed by Gregg Taylor, were produced by the Canadian audio drama company Decoder Ring Theatre, best known for its ongoing series The Red Panda Adventures and Black Jack Justice.
March 15? Wait, that’s today – And for those in the U.S., here’s the iTunes link to find the show. I’m a fan of both Schweizer’s Crogan‘s books and old-timey radio plays, so this is pretty much ideal to me.
It is our regret to inform you that JManga.com will be concluding its retail and viewing services. All existing accounts and private information will be deleted without further notification… As of May 30th 2013 at 11:59pm (US Pacific Time) users will no longer be able to view digital manga content on JManga.com. At this time all purchased and free digital manga content will be erased from all JManga Member’s accounts.
Yes, that’s right: All purchased manga content will be erased.
Here’s the thing, though; this is how ComiXology works, too. If that company went out of business tomorrow – God forbid – then that would be happening with all of your purchases there, and on the various apps for the various publishers that they power. There’s nothing special about the JManga model of purchasing/really-paying-to-lease, aside from the fact that it’s the first to collapse. A lot, if not most, of digital comic purchasing works in a similar way.
Think about what happened when ComiXology was side-swiped by the traffic following Marvel’s #1 promotion this past weekend; it’s not just that you couldn’t buy new material, many people couldn’t access the material that they’d already paid for. Between that and this news about JManga, it’ll be interesting to see if ComiXology starts considering offering the right to download/back-up purchases anytime soon.
[I]f Comixology books were downloadable in any form other than as proprietary data on their proprietary applications (iOS/Android), people could keep their local copies and not be locked out of reading books they’ve paid for. Whatever lost sales are prevented from this digital rights management can’t be worth the loss in customer confidence that accompanies what is, essentially, a contract breach between content provider and consumer… By effectively shutting down the Comixology platform for twenty-four hours, they’ve halted the revenue streams for every other digital comics publisher through this service, including DC Comics (www.readdcentertainment.com is painfully slow to the point of being almost unusable at the moment, although it’s not as bad as Comixology’s main site). While much of the Big Two’s back catalog is available on a number of platforms (iVerse, Kindle, Kobo, etc.), and DC’s new-release books are available on iBooks and Kindle, Marvel’s new-release catalog is only available through the Comixology platform. Additionally, it’s by far the preferred (and easiest-to-use) comics reading interface available for phones and tablets, and being the industry leader, it’s logical to put all one’s digital comics purchases under their umbrella. While I’m sure DC can weather the lack of revenue, I have to question how this affects an all-digital publisher like Monkeybrain, where this service outage could potentially put a hatchet to their entire revenue stream for its duration.
It’s a smart take on the problems of Software-as-a-System thinking, and a great snapshot of the failure of the current digital comics environment (and the problems therein). Go, read.
DC Comics has launched a new “family-friendly” blog for parents and kids, called DC Comics Fan Family, which intends “to help you share the superheroes you love with your kids through cool crafts projects, activity sheets, contests, sweepstakes, merchandise news, quizzes and newsletters,” according to its inaugural post. It’s a nice idea, but one that feels a little at odds with the majority of DC’s output, which is hardly family-friendly. There’s even a “This Week in DC Kids Comics” page that only features two comics, one of which – Superman Family Adventures – has already been cancelled. Perhaps we should wait for news of a new initiative for kids coming from the publisher so that this makes more sense…?
I think that’s the hardest part with my comic book-based Rooneisa. I can’t figure out if I am just not clued in enough to understand what is going on in these books, or if they just literally aren’t making sense. I like challenging comics, sure, but I have to want to turn these pages. Like, I love Superman, but it’s been a very long time since I have read a Superman story that has been personally compelling and/or made any kind of logical sense whatsoever.
It comes to us all, eventually (Although I will defend Morrison’s Action Comics from such accusations; Having re-read the entire run the other day, I think it’s a surprisingly sharp story that may not be a traditional Superman story per se, but is definitely an enjoyable and worthwhile one).
If you have, somehow, managed to avoid spoilers for this week’s issue of Batman, Incorporated #8 – Whether by avoiding the New York Post story, the heavy online coverage (Yes, including this site) of the major event in the issue, the regular shipping cover of the book or the Channel 52 back-up strip in every single New 52 book released this week – then there’s just one more thing you might want to do before sitting down to actually read the comic itself: Avoid DC’s own website.
Spoilers for those who are somehow unspoiled, if you click through.
After observing the comics community for the last decade, it has been increasingly clear to me that as the level of violence — against children and otherwise — gets “amped up” in comics, many dedicated fans become deeply defensive about anyone criticizing it. Other fans do get upset over the violence in general, and wonder if comics “are for kids anymore” (answer: probably still in the true mainstream, but mostly not in superhero-land). It is a complicated issue, and I am not saying one side is right, or one side is wrong.
It’s an important, if somewhat uncomfortable, question, and one that raised other, similarly uncomfortable, questions (If killing kids isn’t the stuff of entertainment, then what is the right age where such deaths become acceptable?). It reminds me of my surprising-to-me squeamishness over the Punisher post-Newtown, something that I’m still unsure about: Am I being too sensitive to pop culture, or is there actually a problem with that character’s portrayal in the current social climate?
Diamond has just released a new video designed to promote this year’s Free Comic Book Day – May 4, for those who haven’t already memorized the date – and it’s… Well, it’s somewhat confusing, to be honest.
It’s not that it’s a bad video, per se – But I can’t quite tell what the point of it is, or who it’s actually aimed at. It features lots of comic creators (and publishing executives – How often do you actually see Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson appear in something like this?) say the words “Free Comic Book Day” before they talk about their love of free comic books and/or mention the date and suggest you visit your local comic book store, but… Aren’t the only people who would recognize these people the audience who is already aware of Free Comic Book Day and therefore not likely to need this kind of online outreach?
You would think, perhaps, that a FCBD trailer of this sort would be better aimed at new or lapsed readers – You know, the sorts of people that Free Comic Book Day was originally created to attract. But this video fails entirely for that audience; the captions don’t attempt to explain who each talking head is, and capitalize on whatever brand name recognition is available (“Kieron Gillen, writer of Iron Man” would surely be something that would grab the attention of non-comic readers than simply “Kieron Gillen,” after all. Sorry, Kieron). Even more confoundingly, there are no women in the video at all – or, for that matter, men under the mid-30s age-range. Shouldn’t this kind of thing attempt to be at least a little bit more inclusive…?
Perhaps I’m racing to judgment; for all I know, Diamond has another video (or videos) up its sleeve featuring female creators that will be released soon, and plans to promote the celebrityendorsements for FCBD that are already online. I hope so; Free Comic Book Day is a pretty great form of outreach for the industry. It’d be sad to see it the bulk of its promotion ending up aimed at the audience that’s already planning to show up for the free swag.
If you browse just some of what’s available out there now, poring through the infinite back issue bin of the Internet, it will only be a matter of minutes before you find yourself at the bottom of the world’s most expensive rabbit hole. That run of JLA by Chris Claremont and John Byrne is out there. Defenders issues from 1975 are out there. You could read the original run of New Mutants this afternoon and wash it down with Ultimate Marvel Team-Up, the Ultimate book that time forgot. I opened up comiXology and started poking around for examples half an hour ago, and now I owe them $11,000.
Speaking as someone who’s gone from “Oh, I remember those Green Lanterns by Len Wein and Dave Gibbons from when I was a kid!” to “Why did I just buy all of them, oh God” in seconds, I know exactly where Jim is coming from. There are certain series I very purposefully don’t even look up on ComiXology, purely because I know it would bankrupt me.
Printed matter and paper goods, namely, books featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, comic books, graphic novels, magazines featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features
Downloadable publications in the nature of books featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features, comic books, graphic novels, magazines featuring characters from animated, action adventure, comedy and/or drama features
Rich suggests that perhaps it’s a new video game project, or pre-emptive protection of the “Infinite” idea ahead of Marvel’s teased Infinity project (Although Marvel would surely be able to go ahead with that, especially considering their use of Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade and Warlock and the Infinity Gems as titles almost 20 years ago now? They have prior standing, being my point). I suspect that we might be looking at the possibility of an Infinite Crisis animated movie adaptation, considering the repeated mention of animated projects… But what do you think?
i think every writer has to find how they write their scripts, and they have to find how they write their scripts for their artist. these are two wildly different things. Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman are the best thing to happen to comics writing and the worst things to happen to comics writers because their styles of script writing, so legendary as to become apocryphal and for the longest time the only printed examples of comics scripts one could find, made generations of kids write terrible sub-Alan Moore and terrible sub-Neil Gaiman scripts. The lesson is, of course, don’t write like Alan Moore or Neil Gaiman; write until you figure out how to write like you.The only way i’ve found to know how many pages a scene needs is to write until it’s right. That’s why i tend to start with lists, working like very loose outlines. it gives me a rough breakdown of the mission each page has in the greater whole but keeps things loose enough that i can reshuffle and rework quickly.
All together, we’d be looking at around $715 million for all North American comics and graphic novels: up about $35 million from 2011. And that growth is all in the comics shop market, which offset losses in the mass market. In 2011, the comics shop market was about 60% of the overall market for print sales; in 2012, it was closer to two thirds… For what I think may be the first time in years, the Direct Market’s graphic novel dollar orders exceeded the value of the Bookscan orders (but not the entire mass market). I attribute it at least in part to the huge traffic in Walking Dead trades: comics shops ordered at least 74,000 copies of the first volume in 2012, versus 38,000 copies through Bookscan’s retailers. That’s a big difference.
That’s John Jackson Miller, continuing to crunch numbers and make sense of the comic book industry in a way that few others manage. A lot of people are pointing to this data and calling it a return to 1990s levels of success, but Miller offers a strong counter-argument to that way of thinking:
The most frequently cited figure for sales in 1993, the market’s all-time peak, is $850 million. That amounts to an inflation-adjusted $1.35 million, nearly double the size of the current market. This should not surprise us, given the fact there were 12 distributors and nearly four times as many comics shops as exist today. But even the $1.35 billion is an imperfect analog, though, because comics have increased in price since the mid-1990s faster than the CPI rate. The average comic book retailers ordered in January 1995 cost $2.20; now it’s $3.58. That’s 20 cents higher than what the CPI calculator says it should be. So 1993′s comics-inflation-adjusted figure could be even higher!
The best way to take inflation completely out of the picture is to forget dollars and focus on units. We just don’t tend to do that when trade paperbacks and hardcovers are in the mix, because their pricing varies so much. We know that in 2012 we’re selling way fewer comics than in the early 1990s, and way more graphic novels (and, obviously, digital versions); the net being that we’re still quite a lot behind the early 1990s in adjusted dollars.
Even so: $715 million is better than the industry has been for a long time. Here’s hoping the upwards trend continues.
Saying that something simply “sucks” isn’t really much of an opinion. Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely comics that have left me thinking “Well, that sort of sucked,” but to throw out a blanket statement that something just sucked is to invite ridicule. So to those who are inspired to voice their opinions with the help of social media, I would suggest that you come up with concrete reasons for your opinions. To be simply annoyed by the choices made by comic books writers, creators, artists, etc. just isn’t good enough. Sure, modern technology affords anyone with a computer and a webcam to be a snarky web superstar, but without an actual basis for what often feels like disgust for disgust’s sake, your web fame is likely to be short-lived.
Surely there are better reasons to think through your opinions than “Internet fame,” though…?
The comic character Marvelman has a fascinating – and probably unique – history in the field of comics. His extended origin goes all the way back to the very beginnings of the American superhero comics industry, and it seems likely that his ongoing story will stretch on well into the future. It involves some of the biggest names in comics. It’s a story of good versus evil, of heroes and villains, and of any number of acts of plagiarism and casual breaches of copyright.
I’m completely fascinated with the history and ongoing story of Marvelman – so much so that I’ve spent a lot of years tracking it down, and writing about it. I started writing what I thought would be an article or a long blog post, but it just kept growing, as I found out more about the character and his history. Eventually it ended up as a 100,000 word book, which isn’t even finished yet – the dangerous thing about writing about something that is still evolving is that, just when you think you’re all up-to-date, something happens, and you have to go rewrite something you were sure you’d finished with. Still, at this stage I probably know more about Marvelman – and his occasional nom de guerre Miracleman – that anyone might reasonably wish to.
He plans to look into the various incarnations and histories of the character, including the odd and wonderful legal history thereof. I can’t wait. Maybe by the time it’s finished, Marvel will finally have done something with the character.