Last week, I was a panelist/pundit on ComiCenter, a live discussion show about the comic book industry. The weekly hour-long show is hosted by Atom! Freeman, co-owner of Brave New World Comics, and Bryan Daggett, assistant editor of Comic Book Resources, and is streamed on Geek Week. Also on the panel was retailer Edward Greenberg, owner of Collector’s Paradise, and podcasters Daniel Campisi of Reality Check Fail and Angela Paman of Invisible Jetcast and 2 People Talking. (Extra Awesome Points for clicking on every single link in this paragraph.)
We talked about the big publishing initiative that DC Comics will be starting at the end of August and into September, where their entire superhero publishing line will be relaunching with 52 new comics starting at issue #1. Perhaps even bigger than that is the news that DC will be releasing their comics simultaneously in print and digital. Lots of opinions. Let me know what you think. Are you interested in buying one of the new 52? Will you be buying DC’s digital comics?
I’ve been invited to be a panelist on today’s live web broadcast of ComiCenter, a comics industry discussion show. The episode goes live tonight at 7:15 PM Pacific at GeekWeek Live. Follow along online and you can submit questions through GeekWeek’s chat.
We’ll likely be discussing the massive news of DC Comics relaunching their entire superhero publishing line in September and their new digital comics strategy, as more details have been released over the last couple weeks. But really, who knows? I could spend the entire hour attempting puppetry of the penis. It’s live internet TV! Anything can happen!
The weekly show is recorded live at Brave New World Comics in Newhall, California. So if you’re in the neighborhood, stop in, be a part of our studio audience, and maybe buy some comics and/or graphic novels!
If you miss the live webcast, the episode will get posted on YouTube by Moopsy Productions about 6 days later. I’ll be sure to embed the video here once it posts.
The show is hosted by Atom! Freeman, a sales and marketing consultant in the world of comics and co-owner of Brave New World, and Bryan Daggett, who also hosts the Geek Week podcast. The first episode had an excellent conversation about digital comics with writer and digital advocate Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) and comics journalist Andy Khouri of Comics Alliance. They’ve also had horror writer Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), writer Sam Humphries (CBGB: The Comic Book, Fraggle Rock), The Panelists‘ academic Charles Hatfield (Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature) and many more impressive people have served as guests.
Tragically they’ve already jumped the shark and asked me to be on their show. Tune in tonight!
It’s been a rough first month of 2011 for comics in general, with good and not-so-good news turning heads throughout the industry as the times continue to change. There’s been some adjusting locally too.
Top Cow Productions, a partner studio of Image Comics, announced during my week of computer meltdown that a reorganization has taken place. The LA-based publisher will consolidate its resources to more closely rely and coordinate with Image’s central office in Berkeley. From the press release: “Image Central will work more closely with Top Cow to coordinate production, marketing and sales efforts in much the same way it already does for the other Image partners.” Publisher Filip Sablik stressed that Top Cow would retain their editorial freedom. Heidi MacDonald’s The Beat looked into this further here and here.
While the hope is that Top Cow will be able to benefit from some of the successes Image has seen recently, such as The Walking Dead‘s continual rise in popularity thanks to the AMC TV show and new hits like Chew and Morning Glories, it doesn’t mean good times for everyone. Unfortunately some people from Top Cow were let go to eliminate new redundancies from the closer partnership, such as PR and Marketing Coordinator Christine Dinh, Director of Sales and Marketing Atom Freeman and Editor/Designer Phil Smith. Freeman, an award-winning retailer who co-owns the comics shop Brave New World Comics in Newhall, was hired as Direct Market Liason last summer and promoted to Director of Sales and Marketing this past October. No word yet on what’s next for Dinh and Smith, although at least Smith is helping with the transition. Sablik has stated that now other layoffs are planned. At Image Comics, PR and Marketing Coordinator Betsy Gomez has been replaced by Sarah deLaine.
Top Cow President Matt Hawkins bluntly told The Beat, “There’s going to be more consolidation (like Image and Top Cow) and some people won’t be around in a couple years”.
Just prior to that news, Top Cow announced they had signed artist Jeremy Haun (Detective Comics) to an exclusive contract. Haun, who has worked on Top Cow’s Alibi and Berserker, has been assigned to The Darkness with writer Phil Hester, one of Top Cow’s biggest properties. The book was a massive seller in the ’90s where it had a record-selling 11 variant covers for a single issue. Haun will also have the ability to develop new original properties. On his site, he explained that the contract goes into effect February 2011 (so, tomorrow). In explaining the reasons for his decision, after being a freelance artist for years, he said, “The major ones where working as a regular artist on a continuing series and almost more importantly, being able to develop my own concepts.” As he points out, Haun has written Narcoleptic Sunday for Oni Press and a story in Image’s award-winning Comic Book Tattoo anthology based on the music of Tori Amos, so he does have some writer chops. And more original creator-owned comics is always a good thing in my book.
Top Cow Productions started in 1992 as the studio for Image Comics co-founder and partner Marc Silvestri. Throughout the decade, they grew a line of successful fantasy comics like The Darkness, Witchblade and others guided by Silvestri’s distinct art style that defined the look of the publisher for many readers. The publisher has struggled to shake that perception over the last ten years, and have been pushing their attention to more creator-owned books such as the new thriller Echoes by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Rahsan Ekedal, and the upcoming supernatural noir Netherworld by co-writers Bryan Edward Hill and Rob Levin, and artist Tony Shasteen. Hill and Levin have both worked for Top Cow in the past, last collaborating together on Broken Trinity: Pandora’s Box. MTV’s Geek News has a preview of Netherworlds.