Welcome back to another edition of ATR. Finally? the new NFL season is upon us. But before the games start, here?s the latest Rage from across the industry:
Following Carlos Pacheco?s final arc on Green Lantern, his next gig is heavily rumored to be a 12 issue run on either a Superman or a Batman title, though it isn?t clear yet which one he?ll go to? Meanwhile, his replacement on Green Lantern is rumored to be Simon Bianchi, the artist of the recently concluded Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight miniseries.
This Has An ?Oath of Victory? Factor of Six Out of Ten
It?s no secret that a number of changes have been made at DC in the last few years. In fact, in this year alone, there?s been upheaval in the marketing department and corporate rebranding. Some interesting accounts have already appeared online, but additional insight is always welcome. Fortunately, for the past week, I?ve been exchanging e-mails with ?Felix?, a former DC employee who has some revealing things to say about what?s happening within the company, and what the company might become in the future. And while ?Felix? prefers to remain anonymous, he gave his permission to publish the following forecast:
- As for my feelings towards the company now — I look at things realistically. It is plain to anyone who follows the comics industry that DC is in the middle of transitioning from a (for a lack of a better term) “fanboy”-based organizational model to a corporate one.
The first seeds of this started when I was still there. This paradigm shift is going to mean a radical shift in personnel. It has already begun in marketing and promotions. Within 5 years, I’m willing to bet, 75 percent of the people currently working there won’t be there anymore. They will be laid-off for not fitting in with the corporate paradigm, laid-off in favor of people from other entertainment mediums like publishing and TV. Or they will quit on their own because it’s “just not fun anymore”–as has already happened with some people I used to know. In addition, I always believed that ultimately the company would be relocated to Hollywood at some point, and that would have an enormous impact on not only employees but local freelancers. And when a company merges with its “parent,” you have more lay-offs due to “redundancy” of positions.
When all is said and done, DC in five years will not resemble the DC I used to know. I will be at that point no more to them than a footnote in several files, and there will be hardly anyone there left who will remember me. The company that I worked for personally is no more than a time capsule. And after the many years I was there… that aspect’s kinda sad.
I know the above sounds like an extreme forecast for the future of the company, nothing more than another former employee griping. But follow the comic book news, ask around, and see if I’m offbase or not. In the old days of the “fanboy”-based system, editors and other employees were kept aboard–even if a few really didn’t pull their weight–because of “loyalty”. Because of “Emotions.” In the corporate paradigm, that’s all out the window. And I’m not specifically criticizing that aspect…other in the sense that in the other extreme, where you are threatened to be fired if your books don’t break records during a specific Quarter…it’s not so great either. But that’s the way of the world in every other medium, and comics are following that. And understanding this is crucial to understanding everything that’s going to change in comics during the next several years. And a LOT is going to change.
And it affects freelancers, too. There’s going to be a lot of out-of-work “old-timers”–and a lot of them ain’t going to be that old! There’s going to be more writers brought in from outside comics, and that means fewer jobs for veteran comics writers. If one artist is hot–say, a Michael Turner–all resources will be put into place for cranking out 50 of them–like you’d crank out 50 Britney Spears clones. All resources are put into getting as much money as you can NOW. Screw storylines, screw continuity. In the corporate paradigm, “continuity” is obsolete. Continuity is considered “fanboy” stuff. “Fanboy stuff” is considered “loserville,” passe. “Fanboy” editors are replaced in favor of ones without those emotional and cultural ties to the history of comics.
And there is one more angle for you to consider. In the new corporate paradigm of comics, loyalty is dead–so artists and writers AND editorial personnel have no problem jumping ship to the highest bidder. And that affects comics, and that affects storylines. In the new corporate world of comics you CAN’T have long-running storylines or creative teams. Who’s going to stick around that long? What’s in it for them?
I’m not crying about how this all should “change” and we should all go back to the way things were. This was inevitable. All of us who worked at the company saw this as inevitable, though for many years we “fought” it. And for people of certain temperaments, this Brave New World is going to be a place where they can flourish.
Despite the new direction my old “alma mater” has taken, I will always be proud and honored to have worked during the last “gasp” of “fanboy” comics. Fanboy Comics has produced financially successful and groundbreaking works like Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, the Giffen/DeMatteis JLA run, No Man’s Land, and Crisis. It’s clich? I know but… you need heart and soul in the books you produce.
This Has A ?Bullet Through The Head? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
All I Want For X-Mas
Remember Dan Slott?s GLX-Mas Special I mentioned here a few weeks back? I?ve heard that a number of artists will be contributing to the one-shot, including Matt Haley, Georges Jeanty, Mike Wieringo, Mike Kazaleh, Ty Templeton and Paul Grist. Slott?s GLA collaborator, Paul Pelletier will be contributing the cover.
This Has A ?Monkey Joe?s Revenge? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Josh Howard?s Dead@17 trilogy has been one of the breakout indie hits over the last two years. Last month, Howard announced his second original comic project, Black Harvest, a six issue miniseries to be released later this year by Devil?s Due Publishing. While on the surface, the two projects seem to resemble each other, the transition from Dead@17 to Black Harvest wasn?t so simple, as Howard elaborates:
- I knew Black Harvest was going to be a big risk from the beginning.
If I?ve learned anything from my relatively short time in the comic book industry, it?s that you can never predict people?s reactions. Things that you thought would resonate or strike a nerve with people don?t, and things you never gave a second thought to end up being a pretty big deal.
I was completely unprepared for the attention that Dead@17 received. Even as I worked on the first series, I never thought it would do well enough to warrant a sequel. Sure, I had more story to tell, but I was realistic. The comic industry is notoriously resistant to anything ?new.? The same companies are still putting out the same books about the same characters ever since comics began 60 years ago. I thought at best, I put this out, learn the ropes a little, and then move on to something new.
But strangely enough, before I knew it, Dead@17 had become something of a hit. Not by mainstream standards by any stretch of the imagination, but it was doing pretty alright for itself, considering I was an absolute nobody on an unknown title from a company no one had ever heard of (in other words, it barely broke even). So I put my other story ideas aside and began work on the sequel. It seemed in the book?s best interest to keep the momentum going. I thought, ?After this, I will get to all those other ideas I have floating around in my head.? But popularity continued to grow and it was evident that I should probably go ahead and see the story through to its conclusion.
So, 3 mini series and 3 one shots later, I was finally at a point where I felt I could do something different. I had a barbarian story I wanted to do, a retro superhero tale, and an idea about a starship. Lots of ideas, but none of them horror. Dead@17 was it – That was my take on the horror genre. It had teenage girls, zombies, and demon possession. What more was there to do?
I began work on one of my other concepts, getting as far as halfway through the first issue. Then something happened. Something that doesn?t happen everyday, but when it does, you grab hold of it and don?t let go.
It came from several different places, but it all seemed to gel in my mind at once. I?m addicted to 24 hour cable news, and I think the constant attention to missing kids was the initial catalyst for the idea, the Elizabeth Smart abduction in particular because of the weird circumstances surrounding the case. I wondered how such an experience would affect someone, especially that young. Would they ever be the same? Could they truly ever re-adjust to normal life?
As I began to (obsessively) develop it, throwing in other ideas I was playing with at the time, it became clear that the story was going to be full of horror elements. But it was more than that. There elements of sci-fi and old fashioned fire-and-brimstone religion as well. It seemed to make for a cool mix of ideas and concepts, so I made it my priority.
Then I began to panic. Should I jump into something horror related so soon after Dead@17? I wasn?t sure if I was comfortable with becoming known as just a horror guy, as much as I enjoy the genre. I felt I really needed to do something completely different to show my versatility.
But then I thought, to heck with versatility. There will be enough time for all that stuff later.
So, this November will see the release of Black Harvest #1. A new story at a new home, but still the same Dead@17 guy drawing cute girls and gratuitous violence in various combinations.
If you liked Dead@17, I think you?re in for some surprises. As the pretentious comic book writer clich? goes, ?There will be lots of twists and turns, and no matter what you think is really going on, you?re wrong.?
This Has A ?Time Is Near? Factor of Ten Out of Ten
Man In The Middle
Speaking of Josh Howard, I?m told that he?ll be drawing one of the stories in the Legends of The Middleman, which I first mentioned last week. Howard?s story will follow the Middleman of ?barbarian prehistory?, while Dean Trippe and Ryan Cody respectively chronicle the Middlemen of Victorian London and World War 2. All three stories are written by Middleman creator, Javier Grillo-Marxuach (Lost).
Additionally, I?ve also heard that Grillo-Marxuach is writing a top-secret project for DC Comics?
This Has A ?League of Professional Jealousy? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
All Those Things You Say
And now for your viewing enjoyment, a quick look at the Black Widow 2 miniseries by Richard K. Morgan, Sean Phillips and Bill Sienkiewicz. It should be out around the end of the month?
This Has A ?Romanov Dynasty? Factor of Nine Out of Ten
Vampires? In? Space!!!
Steve Niles has a new three issue 30 Days of Night miniseries coming out in January, entitled Dead Space. Niles will be co-writing the mini with Dan Wickline and the artist named Milx will paint the book.
This Has An ?Eternal Night? Factor of Seven Out of Ten
Mark Millar has posted an update on the status of The Unfunnies, his unfinished creator owned title from Avatar. Basically, he said that the contracts are in order, the first two issues might be re-released together as a cheap primer for potential new readers and that he wants issues three and four to come out in the same month, most likely in February 2006.
In other Millar news, he also mentioned that the sequel to Chosen is coming out from Dark Horse near the end of 2006.
This Has A ?Back From The Dead? Factor of Eight Out of Ten
Weathering The Storm
As you may have heard, a number of comic book professionals have banded together under the Inkwell banner to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Signed scripts, comics and original artwork has been donated and will be sold on ebay. Contributors include Joe Quesada, Steve McNiven, Brad Meltzer, Stan Lee, Brian Bendis, Mike Mignola, Adam Kubert and several other creators. The pics below are just a small sample of the items available:
The auctions start tomorrow (September 12) at 9:00pm, just bookmark the link here and keep checking throughout the week.
For more about Inkwell, please visit: http://www.inkwellrelief.com
And we?re done for the week. See you in seven?
PS If anyone has any rumors, stories or news to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to everyone who has been sending stuff in. It?s greatly appreciated.