Chris Butcher investigates the ASP/Kunoichi/DDP situation and asks the question everyone is thinking: What about MOUSE GUARD?
I guess what I’m getting at here is that it’s fascinating that the crown jewel of the ASP line hasn’t been mentioned in any of these discussions; it’s the elephant in the room with an army of tiny adorable mice riding its back. If someone told me all 9 issues of Mouse Guard published to date sold more than every other comic book ASP has published combined, I wouldn’t even blink–I certainly know that’s true for us at the store, in our limited experience. I’d go so far as to say that the vast majority of the reason one would want ASP, and demand partial ownership of all of their properties, is solely to get a hold of Mouse Guard.
According to Butcher (and corroborated by some conversations we’ve had with various folks associated with the transaction), ASP’s deals, while very favorable to the creator, also have a no-compete clause which would prevent properties from being taken elsewhere. Butcher notes that MOUSE GUARD creator David Petersen hasn’t updated his blog in a while…or produced an issue of Mouse Guard since February, 2008. Considering that the book is a top seller for ASP, and has sold briskly for Random House, this could be…a problem, especially if the Kunoichi sale asks for a bunch of rights that Petersen doesn’t wnat to give up. Or as Butcher puts it:
– What if that “Industry Standard Contract” was a lie, in an industry with Image, or First Second Books, or even Villard (with whom you’re already working)? Where not every publisher demands those rights from you? In fact, factoring mainstream book publishers, most pubs don’t make those requests of you.