Welcome to the weblog of the writers and artists of Ferret Press (a publisher of fine comix) and PANEL (a Columbus, Ohio comic creators collaborative.) Here you will find our musings on comics, art, the creative process, politics, the web, and life.
Here's a really good (and really depressing) Publishers Weekly article looking at the nitty gritty math of independent comics publishing and the (mostly non-existent) revenues: The Kirkman/Bendis Debates: Let’s Do the Math. The writer, Todd Allen, actually gets into the numbers to show you how much money a typical Image comics will make, and let's just say it mostly falls into the "beer money" category. Even for name creators with a lot of Marvel/DC work on their resume.
"If you look at ex-DC/Marvel writers paired with artists without many Big Two credits you get Joe Casey on Godland, Joe Kelly on I Kill Giants, Todd DeZago on Perhapanauts, or Larry Hama on Spooks: Omega Team. That is to say, the street cred may be there, but the sales are so low as to make you wonder if anybody’s making money off those books. Especially when Image is charging a $2500 listing/production fee off the top, which would suggest a color comic doesn’t start to put a dime in the creator's pockets until the sales start climbing to the 4-5K range."
So what kinds of numbers are these books pulling in? Godland is barely hitting 3K copies a month.
In my ongoing quest to get my wife reading comics, I started getting her Marvel's adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. We've read the first issue, and for the most part she liked it. The first cover is a little goofy (laid out like a magazine), and the inside art--by Hugo Petrus--glams up some of the characters. But all in all, not a bad adaptation.
What is odd though are the ads throughout the book. Not normally reading serial comics, my wife found them very distracting, really interrupting the flow of the comic. I realize that Marvel is probably counting on the trade of this adaptation as opposed to the pamphlets, but they probably could have done more to appeal to the probable readers of the comics by moving the ads to the back of the issue and eliminating some of the following house ads:
Iron Fist--with a man strangling Iron First
Wolverine--with a zombie in Captain America's suit
Cable--A Messiah War crossover ad
Also, the Krod Mandoon and PSA about marijuana use weren't exactly aimed at a typical P&P reader.
Panel's been kinda busy lately, trying to get Superstition wrapped up and what not. AGORA, Motor City, flying out of country... it's been jam packed. Don't think we've forgotten about Character Wednesday. This week is a late post of Molly's pick: Lex Luthor. Join us as we try to wash Superman Returns out of our collective memory.
Molly picked me to pick the one for next week: Spiderman.
A warm hello to all the friends of the ferret! I'm currently in Iran, visiting family. Well, to be more precise, right now I'm on the island of Kish in the Persian Gulf, taking a break from the hustle and bustle of Tehran. Kish is mainly a resort island, with about 50-60 hotels and lots of touristy attractions (dolphin shows, parasailing, jet skiing, etc.) It's sunny and beautiful out here, but the temperature is close to 90 with 130% humidity.
We're staying at the Dariush Grand Hotel, which is an impressive 5-star hotel built to look like the ancient capital of the Persian empire, Persepolis. Here's a picture of the hotel, from Wikipedia:
Of course I've been taking lots of pictures myself, which I'll upload when I get back to the states. Hope all is well with everyone reading this post. I'll be back to my regular (irregular) posting schedule in about a week.
Not dipping as far back this time, and revisiting a run I've previously posted on: the DeFalco/Frenz Thor series that followed the Simonson issues I got into too late. I recently dug through a pile of these to loan a sampling of this Lee/Kirby homage to Matt and got the notion to dust off this particular issue along the way. This title was one of a handful that kept getting better while everything around it went to hell in the late 80's/early 90's, so this run remains one of my all-time favorites to this day.
An odd appeal to me from this era as well: we've all heard of the nostalgic "feel" of old comics-- the smell of those old pages when you crack open a back issue. For me, the books from this time carry that effect the heaviest. Silly as it sounds, whatever combination of paper weight, cover stock, and ink they were using around this time made the biggest tactile impression on me of any books I've ever bought new off the rack. It's a pleasure opening most Marvel or DC books from this time period (I would have plucked this one from the shelf of Central City's east side location in December of 1987, don't ask how I know off the top of my head) for that effect alone, and I miss whatever combination of materials they were using at the time.
This issue is just a few episodes into the DeFalco/Frenz run. Ron is obviously starting to evoke Kirby with many of his layouts, but inker Brett Breeding is reining him in a bit, giving the pages a hint of a Buscema/Palmer look. These guys are actually among my favorite pairings of illustrators. DeFalco channels Stan Lee hyperbole with ease and knows how to write with a cosmic scope; the first several issues after Simonson included a three-part battle with the Celestials which was itself all kinds of awesome. In this issue, Thor is finally returning to Earth after the long absence begun in Walt's series, and he finds a number of things have changed.
Most troubling is the appearance of Steve Rogers in an adsurd red, white, & black getup, answering simply to "The Captain." The editorially mandated change in Cap's title (black costumes, grey Hulks, blue & gold armored norsemen and Steely Dan-style Iron Men all happening at the same time) involved the government stripping him of the Captain America role and handing it to an unstable redneck. At about the same time, the "Armor Wars" story in Iron Man (which I still haven't yet read) involved Tony Stark going all neocon for some reason and causing a rift between the two Avengers. Thor learns all this when he arrives at the Avengers' hydrobase (the mansion having recently been wrecked by Roger Stern) and is troubled by things having become so darned complex whiole he's been away, and even wonders if all that has happened is a result of Rogers himself becoming unbalanced and untrustworthy.
The rest of the Avengers depart, which is okay because this was one of the more oddball gatherings of Avengers ever (though their book at the time was excellent). Only the Black Knight and The Captain are still hanging out with Thor when a subplot resurfaces: an army of Egyptian gods seeking to invade Asgard crashes the Avengers' HQ, seeking to take out Thor before the real fight begins. This is where things get really good, as the Black Knight and Cap strive to keep up in the middle of a battle with an army of actual deities. Actually, Cap fares okay for a while...
Things soon go sour, though, especially when Thor is separated from his hammer and overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of his enemies. The thunder god is on the ropes, and a squad of super-beings bears down on Cap...
Remember a few posts back, when I expounded on the paradigm superhero scenario-- that moment of facing down a runaway train with no apparent hope of victory only to miraculously find a way to beat the odds and save the day? That stuff gets me every time. Here's another example:
That was so cool the first time I turned the page and found that surprising splash, and it has the benefit of making perfect sense. The magic behind Mjolnir isn't that only Thor can lift it, but only those as noble and virtuous as the norse warrior god can (check out the inscription on the side of the hammer as seen in Journey Into Mystery #83 if you don't believe it); if Captain America doesn't fit that bill, who the heck does? Our heroes rally, and Thor delivers one of those brutal one-sided villain thrashings I dearly love to see, paraphrasing Shakespeare as he deals the knockout blow. We're treated to a touching farewell scene as Thor is reassured by his newfound kinship with Cap that his friend's honor remains intact-- and Iron Man must be a dick.
Animated Kirk enjoys Star Trek comics (and gnomes)
Over at the io9 site, in a feature titled Boldly Going Where No Comic Had Gone Before, Graeme McMillan takes a look at the weirdest and lamest scenes from over 4 decades of Star Trek comics. From "Evil Kirk" slapping regular Kirk's face, to Scotty's love life, to the infamous X-Men/Star Trek crossover, there's lots of weirdness to entertain you.
Including this little gem:
As Tony would surely point out, the comic book awesomeness at the link has made animated Kirk a bit verklempt.