Random news bits that accumulated over the last week or so.
§ Jim Zub continues to become the Invisible Man of comics, at least as far as transparency with his sales figures is involved. In this installment of his ongoing examination of the sales velocity of his creator-owned Image series Skullkickers, he posts all kinds of charts and graphs on profitability. You must read the column to know what this official-looking thing means, but a shorter version is that it takes a long time, if ever, to really make money from an Image Comic. This is despite what Todd McFarlane once told me: “if you can eat macaroni and cheese for a month, you can make a living with an Image Comics.” Maybe in 1992 you could, but in 2013 it’s more complicated than that.
2011 Q1-Q2: We dug into the red aggressively overprinting the first trade paperback to keep it in stock and profits gained from the issues, trade and minuscule digital sales didn’t cover the difference that early into its sales cycle. All in all, we dug down 27% more than we made in the first half of 2011.
For most creators that would’ve been the end of it and that’s totally reasonable. Even with Image covering costs so we didn’t have to spend our own money to print or distribute, the complete lack of profits for 6 months would have sealed the series’ fate. Thankfully, Edwin, Misty and I all have day job income and stuck it out for the long haul.
§ A good interview with Daryl Cunningham whose HOW TO FAKE A MOON LANDING is one of the best nonfiction books of the year thus far.
I would imagine that it also helped to see what was explained well and clearly. One of the things I wanted to do — I mean I have a fairly simple drawing style already, but because some of these issues are so complex, I wanted to make it as plain as possible. Someone — it might have been Art Spiegelman — was talking about “Nancy,” the Ernie Bushmiller strip. That often by the time you decided not to read “Nancy,” you’d already read it. I tried to bring that kind of immediacy to the strip so that I could get the information directly into people’s psyche without them really noticing they were reading it. If there was any confusion, I was very happy to have that pointed out to me and then I was able to make it plainer. That was my aim all along.
§ There is a wee trailer for Vader’s Little Princess. Jeffrey Brown’s “crazy life” is profiled here.
§ This is really old, but I though it was interesting. A Variety preview of WonderCon breaks out some figures. Torsten, are you listening?
The temporary move to Anaheim last year boosted attendance by 30%. And that’s expected to grow given its vicinity to Los Angeles. Event sold 34,000 tickets in 2009, 39,000 in 2010, and 45,500 in 2011. Last year, that rose closer to 50,000. That still pales in comparison to the 130,000 that make the trek to San Diego.
§ The other day, Johanna Draper Carlson was asking for suggestions on building a list of Non-Memoir Graphic Novels for Adult Women—I guess that’s what they call adult fiction and there isn’t much of it, as the comments showed:
From the UK, the work of Posy Simmonds fits the bill, particularly Tamara Drewe and Gemma Bovery.
§ Lucy Knisley has been getting lots of press on her new book, RELISH.
§ Mark Evanier’s remembrance of the late Carmine Infantino pays more attention to his time as DC publisher than most of these things do. While Infantino’s run wasn’t entirely successful, with many, many books canceled, he did introduce a lot of books that later became more respected:
A lot of those books were terrific. True, Green Lantern/Green Arrow by O’Neil and Adams only lasted fourteen issues but with a different man in charge, it might not have existed at all. Give him credit for that. Give him credit for helping move comics into a new era by among other things, treating covers as intended works of art rather than copy-heavy sales pieces. Give him credit for all the new careers that were launched during his time in charge. And a lot of comics that were considered flops during his regime — considered that by him as well as others — are still with us, some reprinted time and again in expensive hardcover editions with their characters turning up in other media and current comics. Time-Warner is now making a lot of money off some of Carmine’s “failures.”
§ Artist Mike Kaluta talks with Tim about some of the rejiggering that has gone into the new STARSTRUCK Kickstarter:
It has already been decided that you will be remastering the originally released 60 pages for this new project. What aspects do you intend to address in the remastering? The original 60 pages have been “remastered” since about 1996: I’ve physically scissored pages apart (this was pre-Photoshop), added new penciled panels and expanded the original Harry Book to Elaine’s 1996 expanded story. There’s one panel from the original Epic Comic: a page-across panel of party-goers impressing each other with witty banter laced with innuendo that I’ve cut in half … between the left half of that panel and its now-severed right-hand half, we’ve put about 23 pages of new material (in pencil now, ready to letter and ink). It’s been fun, over the years, to show the re-cobbled-together pages to friends and fans and watch their eyes when they get to that sequence! Once the 80 new, new pages get leavened into the mix, the entire patchwork project will be a solid wonderment, Frankenstein-style!
§ My impression is that producer/screenwriter David S. Goyer is a fine fellow whom Hollywood trades insist views the world as one big graphic novel approach, even if it’s Leonardo Da Vinci we’re approaching.
§ Here is a didactic comic about sexual abuse in custody (aka prison rape) that is being used to facilitate discussion of this grim aspect of life in prison. Okay, I know I made that sounds silly but it is really for a very, very good cause:
END SILENCE: Youth Speaking Up about Sexual Abuse in Custody is a series of graphic novels for youth in custodial settings. These graphic novels are a first step in reaching out to youth in juvenile justice settings in order to help them identify, address, and respond to incidents of sexual abuse by staff or other youth. We hope that it will deepen the dialogue about strategies to eliminate sexual abuse of youth in custody. The graphic novels are intended to be “stand alone” material to orient and educate youth about the issue of sexual abuse in custodial settings. We also hope it provokes discussions with and between youth.
There is a not entirely sympathetic write-up of the series here. The comic is drawn in that oversimplified style that many people seem to think is necessary for comics material that aims to educate but I hope it does some good.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.