That's That Shit: 5/22/13: Everyone's Quitting, I Don't Even Know Where to StartA comics news article
That's That Shit
Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 05/22/13
Hi. That's That Shit is exactly what it says above -- we talk in-depth about everything that happened in the comics world last week, and then look forward to some notable releases slated for this coming Wednesday.
Your panel of judges are Comics Bulletin Managing Editors Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover, who pretty much have paper and ink in their blood, and CB Columns Editor Andrew Tan, who got his start in comics late in life through Adrian Tomine and is slowly dipping his toes into the broader aspects of the medium. So we deliver the news, Andrew asks the questions and hopefully everyone learns something.
BUT FIRST SOME MUSIC
AND IF YOU TELL ME TO SHUT UP...
James Robinson No Longer at DC
Scott Lobdell offers to pick up his slack
Nick Hanover: James Robinson, who is perhaps best known for his work on DC titles like Starman and The Golden Age, has announced that he is leaving the company, with Earth-2 #16 functioning as his last issue at the publisher. Though it appears that Robinson is leaving on friendly terms, his departure from the company isn’t a good sign for Earth-2 and it isn’t exactly promising for DC, either. DC has struggled with keeping talent these past two years and Robinson is simply the latest evidence of DC’s brain drain, and it’s a bit odd that his resignation was announced via Twitter, rather than through a press release or any kind of official announcement. Robinson does have a new Image series on the horizon, called The Saviors, so Robinson may have left DC in order to focus on creator owned work, or he may have some upcoming tv or film announcement, since he has a long history of work in those fields.
Art from The Saviors
Andrew: I was at my local comic shop the other day and I heard someone talk about how they’re trying to get away from DC/Marvel and was getting into Image comics. In general is this hemorrhage of talent related to the prominence of creator owned comics and the wild success of Robert Kirkman?
Danny: It seems like nobody’s happy at DC -- with constant needs for rewrites and last minute changes to previously approved storylines and overall editorial chokeholds, writers have been quitting books like crazy since the whole New 52 relaunch began. With the decline of Vertigo, DC’s own creator-owned imprint, and the success of stuff like Walking Dead and Chew, Image has become the place to be for quality creator-owned comics. DC and Marvel have both hired creators based on their Image work, but it hasn’t been working out too well for DC for the most part. Mainly because they’re hiring people who are used to working without a whole lot of editorial and then beating them over the head with lots of editorial mandates.
James Robinson, in happier times
Liefeld Turns to Kickstarter to Relaunch Brigade
Top level donors get year supply of pouches
Nick: Because we all demanded it, Rob Liefeld has decided to relaunch his old Image series Brigade, which I have no memory of whatsoever but probably own a billion issues of it anyway because of my habit of walking into Half-Prices and buying gigantic boxes of comics they can’t sell. Apparently it lasted for 24 issues as a regular series, and was rebooted once before in 2010 when good ol’ Rob managed to do exactly one issue of it before giving up. But the important thing here is that Liefeld wants to Kickstart it so that he can give the first issue away for free.
As much as I like creators taking the indie music approach of giving away stuff for free because you’ve already admitted to yourself that no one wants to spend money on your labor of love, this seems a little ridiculous. The last time the series was rebooted it was a failure, and as far as I know, this is not a Liefeld series with a devoted cult following. So what Liefeld is asking for, it seems, is a Kickstarter for the comics equivalent of a vanity pressing. But what do I know? Liefeld is more than halfway towards his goal of $17,500 so clearly he’s onto something.
Wait, what’s that? If I pledge $1500 or more I get the opportunity to have lunch with Rob in Orange County? And he’ll “pick up the tab at one of Rob’s favorite spots?” AND he’ll entertain me with “stories from a 27 year career in comic books?!” Well, shit, can all of us CB Staff somehow put together $1500 and document the experience? I nominate Andrew as our representative.
Art from Brigade, notice distinct lack of pouches
Andrew: Only if I can ask him how he got Johnny “Legs” Leguizamo to be in Spawn.
Danny: That’s Todd McFarlane.
comiXpress Shuts Down
Forfeits ownership of awkward capitalizations of the letter X to comiXology
Nick: ComiXpress, which specialized in printing comics on demand, announced they were shutting their service down this week after nearly a decade of operations. As many people have pointed out online, comiXpress had some quality control issues and were notorious for their problems getting back to people in an orderly fashion. While they did have some high profile clients, specifically the Cerebus Archives, those issues apparently caused them to lose significant market share to competing services like Lulu, which has a better reputation though it does cost more. More recently, Ka-Blam has provided a cheaper alternative, though it too suffers from quality control complaints.
As services like comiXology’s Submit become more popular, it stands to reason that we may continue to see POD services fold until only one or two are left standing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as quality control problems can be killer for any indie comics creator hoping to compete for rack space with the big guns, and hopefully the better products will win out in the end.
Andrew: Tee-hee, you used fold when referring to print-on-demand companies shutting down.
Danny: This isn’t a huge loss, thankfully -- there are lots of POD services self-publishers can hit up instead.
New Company, Fangrabs, Aims to be Netflix of Comics
Will also make super weird recommendations based on your roommate's abuse of your account
Nick: A new company called “Fangrabs” has launched, and its business plan is to be the Netflix of comics. Basically, you use their service to check out graphic novels and manga, they deliver them to you, you return them when you’re done, you know the drill. The subscription fee starts at $15/month, which allows you to check out two titles per month, while $20/month nets you unlimited service, two titles at a time. It’s not a bad idea, especially for people who live in less populated areas and don’t have access to good comic book shops or well-stocked libraries and prefer physical editions to digital material. And they apparently have content from all the major publishers, including DC, Marvel, Fantagraphics, Image, Dark Horse, etc.
But what I’m curious to hear is how they’re legally able to provide this service. There aren’t regulations around comic rentals in the same way there are around video rentals, and they seem to be operating in a kind of grey area that makes me wonder how long it will be before one of the publishers takes offense. There’s no information whatsoever on the site about how they license this material or whether any of the money goes back to the publishers and creators and that’s slightly concerning, particularly since there’s no real answer to what would happen if you subscribed to the service and soon after they were shut down.
Also that logo is fucking horrible. Sorry, I just need to point that out. HORRIBLE.
Andrew: Fangrabs isn’t the best name either. Although this does seem like a great idea, what with the rise of high resolution screens that can begin to rival the quality of printed comics. However, at a price point higher than Netflix’s service, I can’t see this getting off the ground at all.
Danny: So it’s like a library except you have to pay for it?
CW’s Wonder Woman Has New Writer
This is still a thing?
Nick: Aron Coleite, who has credits on series like Heroes and even Marvel’s Ultimate X-Men, has been added to the CW’s still in-development series Wonder Woman, which the CW previously had scripted by The OC’s Allan Heinberg. The CW notably did not develop a pilot from that script, but apparently they have not abandoned Wonder Woman just yet, and are still working at developing a series for the iconic character.
Of course, before all this, the first attempt to bring Wonder Woman back to the silver screen met heavy criticism due to its attempts to merge Wonder Woman with series like Ally McBeal, which isn’t that surprising considering it was a pilot for NBC done by David E. Kelley. There’s no telling whether this will ever go anywhere, but given the success of Arrow, it’s no wonder the CW would continue to put energy into the project, as they’re more or less the only place to watch superheroes on tv anymore, until SHIELD premiers, that is.
Our thoughts exactly, Wonder Woman
Andrew: Please, please, please tell me that Wonder McBeal pilot is somewhere on the internet. And that there’s a dancing baby gif WITH A MAGIC LASSO.
Danny: People say Wonder Woman’s a tough property to adapt, but that sounds like bullshit to me. Suits are just overthinking the thing because it’s a female superhero and they’re afraid nobody will be into it. Either way, if it’s on the CW it’s going to look pretty bad, judging by Arrow/Smallville/Birds of Prey.
Nick: You best not be talkin’ shit about Arrow, Danny. Garsee will come in beat you senseless with She-Hulk figurines.
THIS WEEK’S HOTNESS
Sunny Vol. 1
(Taiyo Matsumoto, Viz)
Danny: Matsumoto’s that realness -- one of the few Japanese comics creators with indie sensibilities to make their way across the Pacific. He’s got a really distinct style as seen in the classic Tekkon Kinkreet, and Sunny is his latest series. Translated by Michael Arias, director of the Tekkon Kinkreet animated film, Sunny follows three kids at a Japanese orphanage in a more “slice of life” approach than the energetic Tekkon, but expect great art comics contained within this hardcover.
Nick: I needed a new manga to pick up, and this seems perfect, especially since it’s just starting and I won’t be tempted to go buy the entire series all at once like I did with 20th Century Boys (thanks Danny, you asshole).
Danny: Dang, I never got past Volume 1 of 20th Century Boys (but only out of laziness) You’re ahead of me on that one (and only that one). If you ever come across any Matsumoto book, pick it up because they’re pretty hard to find. That’s how I own a copy of Gogo Monster without the slipcase cover.
My Dirty Dumb Eyes
(Lisa Hanawalt; Drawn & Quarterly)
Danny: I think people on the internet know the work of Lisa Hanawalt already. She’s got stuff all over the place. Here’s a review she drew of War Horse. She was part of the now-defunct Pizza Island collective with Julia Wertz, Kate Beaton and Meredith Gran. Go google her, I ain’t your momma. but My Dirty Dumb Eyes is her first major print release and it’s probably hilarious.
Nick: Drawn & Quarterly has turned into a haven for web-based female indie creators and I’m 100% into that. As much as Chester Brown’s work fascinates me, I can only handle his brand of male creepiness for so long before I start contemplating self-castration. And I say that as someone who chose Paying for It the book of its respective year not once, but twice.
Admittedly, I didn’t recognize Hanawalt’s name at first, but after checking out the War Horse review, I’ve definitely seen her work and enjoy her style, as it’s situated somewhere between Phil McAndrew and Graham Roumieu, what with the watercolors and heavy use of white space and surreality. I’m glad to see publishers like Drawn & Quarterly branch out into showcasing more of this kind of content rather than heavy handed autobio stuff and I think that cartoonists like Hanawalt have promising futures.
Danny: You have no idea how pleased I am that “indie comics” no longer means “male creeps.”
The Bounce #1
(Joe Casey, Dave Messina; Image)
Danny: Joe Casey doing a superhero comic is rarely not a treat. He’s a writer who’s always trying to come up with new approaches to the genre and Hanover and I (at least) can’t get enough of it. The second of his slew of new releases for 2013 is The Bounce, which combines superheroes and slackers and stuff. I don’t know much about it, but I’m excited to pick it up. I dunno, man, it’s a superhero comic, do you really need a pitch there?
Nick: I know Image has been billing The Bounce as a slacker Spider-Man and that seems silly, but hey, if it works, so be it. All I know is that I trust Joe Casey and whatever he wants to do with superherodom, I’m content to watch, especially when it’s at Image, as the publisher has been on a roll with reinventions of superherodom for the past few years. For people who are bored with the traditional mainstream superheroics and in need of something that isn’t afraid to take itself less seriously, look no further than The Bounce.