Thought for the day: digital publishing

The “Big Two” are dominant in the print world, but they’re also burdened by the weight of their respective (and convoluted) histories. They are both large, public companies with multiple layers of corporate management, plus sister companies with overlapping and/or competing interests. Because of their success and dominant positions, change is an understandably slow and costly process.

MeCAF hits Portland this weekend

This weekend sees the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland, ME. In its second year the show has expanded to two days — a day of FREE panels at the Portland Public Library this Saturday and then a exhibit on Sunday at the Ocean Gateway. There’s also a comics art show on display at the Lewis Gallery at the Portland Public Library. Guest list is here, headlines by Brian Wood, Skottie Young and Jeff Lemire. The Portland Press HErald previews the show here and the organizer, Rick Lowell of Casablanca Comics.

Jazan Wild/Heroes lawsuit not entirely far-fetched?

It would probably be fair to say that a lot of people were snickering a bit when it was announced that Jazan Wild (real name Jason Barnes) was suing Heroes for similarities between his carnival plot and theirs:

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, lists similarities including a carnival that can magically appear and disappear to collect protagonists, a young boy who develops special abilities, a carney or hero running through the woods chased by a mob, a circle of mirrors tied to the key plot, similarities in dialogue, and more.

As anyone who has been reading comics or watching tv for more than, oh, five minutes can attest, none of those elements are particularly novel or special. Fact: we edited a carnival story once ourselves and at least one of those elements was in it.

Briefs & Boxers! 05/20/10

o "Forget Everything You Know"

The major publishers started releasing their advertisements for comics shipping in August 2010. At DC, the big thing of the month is J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis’s Superman: Earth One paperback, an original book-length reinvention of Superman at 136 pages, with a retail price of $ 19.99.

I’m inclined to say that there’s potential in this move and it’s about time and such, but then again, I’m not even sure how to measure that book’s success right now. Will it have to reach people in bookstores to do what it’s supposed to? Probably. On the other hand, though, I’m thinking that it could be a major step in the right direction even if it "just" manages to break, say, 25K in the direct market in its first month.

That sort of success would be a limited one, but in the long term, it might lead to a transformation of that market segment that the field as a whole could stand to profit from tremendously, even if it doesn’t catch on with a mainstream audience immediately.

In other DC news, they’re starting to test the waters for 22-page, $ 3.99 comics with the new ongoing series Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors, in addition to the previously launched miniseries Time Masters and The Mighty Crusaders.

CMX demise draws ire — UPDATED WITH MORE IRE

The news that DC was shutting down its CMX manga line drew a surprisingly caustic reaction across the web, as summed up by Johanna Draper Carlson. Now, we’re well aware that there is a very vocal bunch of online fans who love to bash DC no matter what they do — if someone at DC used a firehose to put out a fire, these fans would complain DC was wasting precious water. However these complaints were from manga commenters and librarians, a usually less volcanic crowd. But they were near-universal in their disappointment that DC had shut down a line that seemed to be hanging in there despite rarely getting any attention or promotion