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More Secrets and Mysteries of the Blogosphere

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§ Someone has been pooping in Lea Hernandez’ yard! Was it:

• David, the guy who charged the builder for $400. more than the agreed-on $600. for two tub surrounds.

• Juan, the guy who was touching up the walls around the trim with a 3″ wide brush. He’d touch up the walls, and slop gray paint onto the trim.

• The Guy With No Name, who just cleans up after David.


The spider spins again!

§ Ted Naifeh returns to his LJ and announces the return of COURTNEY CRUMRIN:

First of all, I’m going to appear at the New York Comic-Con on the 24th and 25th of February. Sorry for the short notice. If any of you folks are going to be at the convention, please come by and say hello. I’ll be making an official announcement there, but here’s the unofficial pre-announcement.

This year will bring (drumroll, please) a NEW COURTNEY CRUMRIN BOOK! Yes, it’s true, the next chapter in the grand Courtney saga will come out starting in August. This time, it’s going to come out a little different. Instead of four individual chapters, the forthcoming installment will appear in two perfect-bound 48 page editions; before being bound together into a single digest at the end of the year.

The final collection will be the same charming mini-format as the first three, while the two issues will look more like the Portrait of the Warlock one-shot. The format change has not been decided for sure, but this is what we’re leaning toward. Also, while the schedule hasn’t been set in stone yet, you can rely on the first issue making it in time for Comic-con International in San Diego. More info on this will appear here as it develops.


§ Dan Vado wonders if that Disney license was worth it.:

Yes, the learning curve has been pretty high. The way I see it, by the time we get this thing under control our license will expire (that, by the way, is August 2008, which in comic book time is a lot closer than you think). I allowed us to fall into one of those traps where every single thing needed to work out 100% correctly for things to run smoothly. I often caution people against making plans based on everything falling into place, so that was my bad. The worst thing to happen was that the initial sales for all of the titles were well under our expectations, which were pretty conservative to begin with. That started a spiral that we have not righted ourselves from.

I think we were also not ready to deviate so dramatically from our core business model of publishing creator-owned titles and I over-taxed our resources.

The Disney thing (as I call it) has not been what one might call a success for us. While the comics have sold better than the rest of our line (for the most part) the sales have not justified the amount of time, money and effort that has gone into these projects. ON top of that, I made some bad contractual decisions that are coming back to haunt me. Lesson learned, just as you should never get into a land war in Asia, you should also never make a deal with Disney that involves creating original content with their properties.
If you have ever wondered, as I once did, why there were not more comics based on Disney’s vast array of properties, well that’s why.


Dan has learned the hard way that the LCS system will not support the world’s most popular brand. Oh well. [Link via Johanna.]
§ Steve Bisette investigates the history of Rick Veitch’s collection of EPIC-era comics, SHINY BEASTS, with a look at the editors of the era and more:

Still, that gig was landed in part due to Heavy Metal art director John Workman’s shot at “Monkey See,” the story you’ll see in its totality in Shiny Beasts; John dug what Rick and I had done with that piece, even if it ended up at Epic, and we were shoed-in-to 1941: The Illustrated Story after John’s first choice, Alex Toth, declined the project despite John’s best efforts.

Thus, the burnout of Creative Burnouts via 1941: The Illustrated Story led directly into Rick’s most fertile creative relationship of the 1980s: his work with editor Archie Goodwin. Archie was already a legend to our generation via his work as a writer in comics, credited (his scripts and editing chops defined the entire Jim Warren horror comics line via the debut issues of Creepy and Eerie, etc.) and uncredited (Secret Agent x-9 scripting for Al Williamson, His Name is Savage script for Gil Kane, etc.), and Rick couldn’t have conjured a better editor or mentor in the wake of Rick’s tenure working with/under Joe Kubert.


§ We don’t know what this blog says because it’s in Spanish, but it seems to be a discussion of The Beat‘s “Satisfying Chunk” theory. IN SPANISH! I’m worldwide!

  1. Dan has learned the hard way that the LCS system will not support the world’s most popular brand.

    Tron? Wonderland? Haunted Mansion? Sorry, none of these are not the world’s most popular brand. (And if you’re talking “Disney” — some of the books bore that brand, some didn’t.) These are third tier Disney licenses at best. I respect Dan’s attempt to take a stab at them – if he could have made this work, there’s a lot more that could be done.
    The Haunted Mansion movie had a domestic gross less than its cost — shall we assume that the movie distribution system cannot support “the world’s most popular brand”?

  2. I think you are misreading Heidi here. Any reasonable person would know that Heidi meant Disney when she wrote “the world’s most popular brand,” not the individual titles. I will assume you are probably a reasonable person, so I can only take the misreading as deliberate.

    In any case, it’s nice to know that someone who does not know the details of our contract with Disney and who might not know which Disney properties are available to license and which properties Disney is willing to license has better insight into how we might have made this work.

    And I think I see what you’re getting at with your comment about the Haunted Mansion movie, Nat. The Haunted Mansion movie stunk,so are you implying that possibly our comics do as well? If so, thanks for that! It’s nice how you say you respect Dan’s attempt and then berate our efforts in such a less-than-straightforward way. But, actually, the Disney titles have been consistently well-reviewed, and I’d be willing hold up the quality of Wonderland against any all-ages comic being published now.

    The low sales, I think, our due to our failure to release the comics in a timely manner and because, as Heidi said, Disney does not hold big-name clout in the direct market. Curiously, those books that do have the Disney logo do not sell as well as those that do not — Tron and Gargoyles have maintained higher sales than Haunted Mansion and Wonderland. Believe it or not, the titles Tron and Gargoyles ARE selling points in and of themselves. The established and active fan base of Tron and Gargoyles crosses over with the direct market base. With HM and Wonderland, however, we chose to develop new titles, with directions for the properties, which is much riskier because retailers are more cautious about ordering books that are not a known quantity. They must be more actively marketed to their customers, and risks are tough on small businesses.

    What would you count as Disney’s top tier properties? The Mouse and Duck ones that Gemstone licenses? A quick look at the Top 300 lists at icv2.com shows me that these consistently sell fewer than 5,000 copies. Gemstone makes that work, yes, but Disney comics is ALL Gemstone does, and they have the advantage of quantity.

  3. Jen! Nat! You’re both beautiful!

    I think you both have very good points. The fact of the matter is that Disney — whether it’s Mickey Mouse, the Lion King, PIrates of the Caribbean, you name it — doesn’t do well in comics shops. Actually, Jen, last I heard hadn’t Gemstone pretty much cancelled their Disney line?

    I know first hand what rabid fanbases Tron and Gargoyles have, so its no surprise they have done the best.

  4. last I heard hadn’t Gemstone pretty much cancelled their Disney line?

    Well there you go, then. I hadn’t heard about that! That’s too bad. Weird how that is. Maybe the comic book industry can be proud of it? “We scoff at you, Disney! Your powers mean nothing here!”

    And yet the Disney Adventures magazine does very well, from what I understand, especially the all-comics issues.

  5. Yes Disney Adventures sells like GANGBUSTERS. You can’t give it away in comics shops.

    Likewise, SIMPSONS COMICS COLLECTIONS are perennial bestsellers in bookstores.

    In comics shops? Not so much.

    Go figure.

  6. I think you are misreading Heidi here. Any reasonable person would know that Heidi meant Disney when she wrote “the world’s most popular brand,” not the individual titles.
    Which is why I pointed out that some of the books in question do not carry that brand…. much as you point out the same thing.
    In any case, it’s nice to know that someone who does not know the details of our contract with Disney and who might not know which Disney properties are available to license and which properties Disney is willing to license has better insight into how we might have made this work.
    I’m not clear whether this was directed at Heidi or at me. However, if it was directed at me, let me point out that I made no comments at all about “how (you) might have made this work”.
    And I think I see what you’re getting at with your comment about the Haunted Mansion movie, Nat. The Haunted Mansion movie stunk,so are you implying that possibly our comics do as well? If so, thanks for that! It’s nice how you say you respect Dan’s attempt and then berate our efforts in such a less-than-straightforward way. But, actually, the Disney titles have been consistently well-reviewed, and I’d be willing hold up the quality of Wonderland against any all-ages comic being published now.
    Now that comment was clearly directed at me, but it seems to be addressing some version of my posting which did not exist, attacking me for things which I’ve not said. You invent an implication for me, make it clear you don’t know if that were my implication, but then you criticize me for it anyway. The statement about the Haunted Mansion film was addressing the linking of the struggles of the SLG line to a general failure of Disney material in the “LCS” by pointing out that Disney material can and does struggle even where Disney is thought to be strong, and that these particular struggles are not a direct indicator of a problem. I could have used, say, The Wild as an example, but the Haunted Mansion film was more immediately identifiable as Disney, I felt.
    I made no comment about the quality of the Haunted Mansion comic (which I’ve not read), nor the Haunted Mansion movie (which I’ve not seen.) There was no berating of your efforts. Quite the opposite – I respect the attempt to take these licenses and make them work in the market, because if they had proven to be big successes, there are likely many other Disney licenses that SLG could use to similar success. I’m a big supporter of publishers trying new formats, new content, new markets, and so on, because such efforts can be very good gambles – the cost of failure can be much less than the gains if the effort is successful.
    What would you count as Disney’s top tier properties? The Mouse and Duck ones that Gemstone licenses? I would say that those are higher-tier licenses than the ones which SLG publishes, with Pooh probably a bit above them. But I would say that the top tier of Disney licenses at any given moment are their most recent big hit films – at the moment, that would include things like Pirates of the Carribean and Cars. That’s what I’m seeing the most visible displays of at the Disney stores, that’s what I’m seeing aggressively positioned on the toy aisles.

  7. But I would say that the top tier of Disney licenses at any given moment are their most recent big hit films – at the moment, that would include things like Pirates of the Carribean and Cars.

    And if we could have gotten the license to Pirates of the Caribbean, we would have loved that–we even had an artist do some concept art , which was gorgeous, and Dan wrote up a premise for the series. However, Disney was stubborn, however, and we couldn’t get a deal.

    I apologize for misreading your tone, Nat. I should realize that although hypothetical questions tend to seem sarcastic in type and sentences refuting people’s statements that begin with the construction “Sorry,…” seem tinged with a bit of hostility, what seems is not always the case.

  8. I appreciate the apology, Jennifer.

    I think a well-done Pirates comic could have done well in the DM and (in TPB) very well outside of it, particularly with females in their teens to twenties. Whether it would be worth the friction involved in dealing with such an active Disney license is another question…

    (In case anyone’s wondering — they have done a number of short Pirates stories in Disney Adventures, with art by Brett Blevins if memory serves. But that’s a different format and target than what I’m picturing.)

  9. I believe Disney Press is putting out at least one — and possibly more– Pirates graphic novel, probably one produced overseas.

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