We’ve got more Alan Moore/Marvelman behind-the-scenes talk, VIZ Media’s Gagan Singh talking about the future of digital manga, a summary of the Comics Ink/Pretty Deadly brouhaha, and a bunch of other stories in this week’s edition of the News Round-up.
More details from Alan Moore regarding the Marvel Miracleman deal
We know we’ve discussed this story before, just last week, in fact, but Pádraig Ó Méalóid, writing for The Beat, has posted a previously unpublished October 2010 interview with Moore that sheds some more light on how Marvel’s acquisition of the the 1980s Marvelman/Miracleman stories came about, provides details on Moore’s stance on the whole thing, and shares various anecdotes and observations from the esteemed writer. The rather lengthy interview is in three parts, here, here, and here. Some excerpts:
On comics editors:
Alan Moore: As far as I can see, most of the people who call themselves editors in the comics industry would be hard pushed to define the word ‘edit.’ Most of them would say, ‘Oh, it’s one of those guys who phones up the artist and make sure everything comes together in time’ – which is actually production, it’s not editing. If you want to look for a real editor in comics, you have to look back to somebody like Steve Moore.
On the decision to change “Marvelman” to “Miracleman”:
Alan Moore: I didn’t like it, because it was actually accepting Marvel Comics’ bullying, so of course I objected to changing it. When it became clear that that was the only way it was going to be – apparently, I was told that, when the new editor at Marvel took over, and he actually took over Jim Shooter’s desk, they apparently found a crumpled letter from Archie Goodwin – a wonderful writer, and a wonderful editor – that was to Jim Shooter saying, ‘Look, Alan Moore says that he’s not going to allow us to reproduce Captain Britain unless we allow him to call…’ – I’d suggested that we call the book Kimota! as a solution similar to the Shazam! solution [at DC Comics], but no, I got some very stroppy letters back from people who once meant something at Marvel Comics, and were all-powerful and supreme, and are now probably working in Blockbusters next to the guys from DC.
On the impact of his run on Marvelman and the decision to not contest Marvel’s attempts to reprint the stories:
Alan Moore: OK, yes, I know that it’s because I wrote Marvelman the way that I did that it became the work that it’s become, but the fact remains that I had taken somebody else’s property without knowing that that was what I was doing, because I was being assured that this wasn’t what I was doing, so I said that certainly I would, any information that would help, but also I felt that, [Marvelman creator] Mick Anglo is in his nineties and has a wife who is suffering from dementia, and I just thought anything that could actually get Mick Anglo some money at this point in his life, when it sounds like he could use it—if there was anything I could help towards that with, then I was prepared to do it.
… one thing that I said… if [Marvel] brought out a collection [of Marvelman] then I would want all of the money from the first edition to go to Mick Anglo. This was at a time when I thought, yes, I did do a lot of the work on it and it would be nice if, I don’t know, Leah [Moore] and Amber [Moore], or [Melinda Gebbie], were to profit from it in the future, but by the time that Marvel Comics were involved I just thought, ‘No, let it go, give all the money to Mick Anglo,’ and… it looked like it was going to be quite easy to do, but then I kept getting all these contracts that didn’t seem to want me to give the money to Mick Anglo… Eventually I signed [a contract that said 'give the money to Mick Anglo or take my name off it'].
Be sure to check out the comments section in the third part of the interview, as it has writer Kurt Busiek (Marvels, Astro City, Avengers) weighing in on the whole affair as well as the broader subjects of creator ownership and the value of reprinting and preserving comics material.
Manga at NYCC
Deb Aoki recently wrote a brief but comprehensive piece on the manga presence at NYCC (Publishers Weekly). Below are some excerpts.
On Kodansha Comics’ Attack on Titan:
… Hajime Isayama’s sci-fi manga about a mysterious race of man-eating giants, is selling like gangbusters for Kodansha Comics. To meet the demand, they’ve ramped up their releases, so new volumes will be published monthly in print and in digital format throughout Fall 2013, so that by January 2014, the English editions will have caught up with the latest Japanese release, Volume 13.
With over 500,000 volumes of Attack on Titan currently in print, it’s now one of the best selling comics series in North America—yes, not just bestselling manga, best selling comic series, period.
Notable upcoming releases from VIZ Media, Vertical, and Yen Press:
- Terra Formars by Yu Sagusa and Kenichi Tachibana (VIZ Media): “[A] sci-fi tale in which cockroaches are sent to terraform Mars where they develop into an even more malevolent species than they are on earth.”
- In the Clothes Named Fat by Moyocco Anno (Vertical): “[T]he story of a young overweight woman in a world where slim and gorgeous women reign, who embarks on a drastic weight loss campaign and deals with the self-destructive emotional effects of bulimia.”
- He’s My Only Vampire by Aya Shouto (Yen Press): “[A] quirky Vampire-driven gothic-romance.”
Gagan Singh on comics piracy, the developing digital device ecosystem, and more
And speaking of manga, ICv2 has a two-part interview with Gagan Singh, chief technology officer for leading North American manga publisher VIZ Media. It’s excellent stuff, not just your typical softball marketing-as-news piece. Some highlights:
On the “print vs. digital” debate:
I’m not even married to print versus digital. As an officer in the company it is my interest to first and foremost make sure the product is available to all readers. And if you’ve chosen to give up your print book and go buy a Kobo, or a Kindle or an iPhone or iPad, then I want to make sure you have the content available to you. If you are someone who has given up reading on the Web illegally and want to buy a print book, I want to make sure that we can direct you to the right places to make that acquisition, so that was a big part of our website redesign and development.
On the continuing problem of pirated manga “scanlations”:
We try to engage our community on it.
It is amazing how many fans do not actually realize what it does to the artist when the artist is cut of out the arrangement. We try to make that a point as well. In each of our panels, we try to emphasize that yes you can get all this stuff, but if you care about this content and want to continue having it, you should purchase it from legitimate sources. We don’t care if you come to us or some of our partners.
But I don’t personally believe you can shut it down through legal means. It would require the entire industry and a very concerted effort to go after this. The best you can do is education; you can’t shut down the supply chain.
On the future of digital manga:
There was a report out last week that children are reading a lot less children’s books, Kids are reading a lot less than they were 10 years ago. I suspect that as a nation, we have a reading problem, but it’s anecdotal. I don’t really have any convincing data.
I think the next real question is what percentage of those in the next generation grew up reading online for free and are they willing to pay for it?
My favorite example is when you’re in the digital domain, your biggest competition is not the next manga or the next book, your biggest competition is Angry Birds because it’s only one click away. When you get into debate over mind share, I’m not just trying to get them to read the next book, I’m trying to get them to not listen to that song or play that videogame. That is a bigger challenge where marketing and mind share is concerned.
“Worst news round-up ever!” or “An excuse to post pictures of The Simpsons‘ Comic Book Guy“
It all started Wednesday, when CBR’s Hannibal Tabu relayed the following incident in his weekly review column:
The retailer at [L.A.-area comics shop] Comics Ink made the case that “Pretty Deadly” #1 has superseded “The Monarchy” as the worst comic ever. The case that was made was that this comic combined “psycho babble, [being] pretentious, bad writing and meandering.” While it has only one issue to “Monarchy’s” twelve, it is remarkable in its rough hewn, unfinished looking art, drifting narrative and tedium. Said retailer tore a copy of the issue up in front of customers, stating there’s “nothing in there that makes you want to pick up the second issue.” That’s hard to argue against.
Image Comics, which publishes Pretty Deadly, got wind of the story and fired back, withdrawing all copies of Pretty Deadly from the store. As president Eric Stephenson explained in a Bleeding Cool piece (emphasis our own):
I did shop at Comics Ink regularly when I lived in Los Angeles, but I stopped after an incident in which a staff member literally took books out of my stack at the cash register and told me [he] was doing me a favor by putting them back on the shelf. I did not ask for this guy’s input — I was buying Christmas gifts and knew exactly what I wanted — and even after I told him to take his hands off my books and ring them up, he continued to insist he was trying to “help me out.”
I later talked to Steve, the owner, and expressed my displeasure with the situation, noting that his employee was costing him business. Steve laughed this off and told me that he was aware of this particular employee’s habit of taking books out of customers’ stacks, but that while it rubbed some customers the wrong way, “he has his fans.” Maybe he does, but I know that our art director used to shop there as well when he lived in LA, and he experienced the exact same treatment, literally having comics pulled from his stack at the register and shamed for liking them.
At first I stopped going when this particular employee worked then the more I thought about it, I stopped going to Comics Ink altogether…
… The notion that Image’s response to all this somehow reflects a negative attitude toward criticism is ridiculous. Obviously, everyone’s opinions are different – there are good and bad reviews for everything – and likewise, I don’t think anyone has an issue with a retailer offering advice on a title when someone asks. Taking books out of customers’ stacks at the register or ripping up comics in front of customers? That’s just bad form. At that point, a line has been crossed from offering advice to bullying the people who keep your store in business. We have offered to take back the copies of Pretty Deadly #1 at Comics Ink, and have asked Diamond to cancel the stores orders for issues 2 and up. Kelly Sue and Emma are two of the most insanely awesome people working in comics, the book is receiving rave reviews, and it’s sold out — I’m pretty we can find a home for whatever copies Comics Ink doesn’t want to sell.
And now, in what is hopefully the last we’ll hear of this story, comes an apology to Image Comics and Pretty Deadly creators Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios from Comics Ink owner Steve LeClaire:
I am the person that ripped up a copy of Pretty Deadly #1 at the store on Wednesday night. A small group of long time customers who know me well asked me what I really thought of the book. For dramatic effect, I ripped a copy of the book after giving my review. I personally found the book lacking a coherent storyline and the art too muddy to follow. That was my opinion. The book was still on the shelves for sale for all those who wanted it. I made a mistake of thinking I was having a private talk with a small group of friends.
I apologize for my actions.
Comics Ink is the kind of comics shop where most of our regulars know us. The atmosphere in the store is light and fun and silly. This incident seemed to be another one of those fun moments at the store. That does not excuse my actions but simply puts them into context.
I want to apologize to Eric Stephenson for any treatment he received at the store in the past. I want people to buy the books they want from what the store offers. That always has been and continues to be my goal for Comics Ink.
I want to apologize to the folks at Image who work tirelessly to make sure books like Pretty Deadly reach stores like mine. My actions were not meant to belittle those efforts.
I want to apologize to Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios and the rest of the creative team responsible for Pretty Deadly. That the book was done by a female creative team did not encourage my actions nor was it meant to be misogynistic or anti-female creator. I do understand that it takes time and effort to create a comic book. And while I didn’t enjoy what I read, it was and is in the best interest of my store to sell the books I ordered and not destroy them. Aside from the small group of regular customers who did witness my actions, Comics Ink was and is selling copies of Pretty Deadly to all who ask for them.
So all’s well that ends well, right guys?
Hulk vs. Superman
A Toys Daily community member who goes by the forum handle 沉默是柑 (Google Translate tells us that this is pronounced “chénmò shì gān” and means “silence is orange”) has posted an impressive Hulk vs. Superman “dio-story” featuring the (very expensive) Hot Toys Hulk and Superman figures. We’ve mirrored lower resolution versions of the pictures in the gallery below:
IMAGINE Agents #1 sells out, heads to second printing
From the press release:
BOOM! Studios is proud to announce that IMAGINE AGENTS #1, one of its newest original series written by Brian Joines (Noble Causes) and illustrated by popular Mexican artist Bachan (El Bulbo, Justice League), has sold out at the distributor level (copies may still be available at the retailer level). The publisher has rushed to a second printing.
The second printing’s new cover:
Odds and Sods
More news from around the world of comics and related media:
- Signed comics and one-of-a-kind original art put up for auction to raise funds to help horror comics writer Steve Niles after the home he shared with his partner, musician Monica Richards, was destroyed in a storm and subsequent flood that hit the Austin area. The creator of 30 Days of Night and Criminal Macabre, unfortunately, did not have flood insurance. Niles, Richards, and their pet turtle Gil are currently staying at a friend’s guest room. (Comixverse)
- Lou Scheimer, producer of Filmation Saturday morning cartoon fare such as Shazam!, The Superman/Batman Hour, Blackstar, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power, and BraveStarr, passes away from complications from Parkinson’s Disease aged 84. (The New York Times)
- HALO, The Witcher, and EVE Online developers along with Dark Horse Comics custom projects director Nick McWhorter discuss the similarities and differences between storytelling in video games and comics. (Polygon)
- Toymaker Mattel to create original entertainment through Playground Productions banner. (Variety)
- Fun Home, a musical adapted from the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, Opens at Broadway’s Public Theater. (Broadway.com)
- Nowhere Men writer Eric Stephenson talks about the “science is the new rock & roll” conceit of the comic, which finally saw the release of its sixth issue last week after a long hiatus. (Crave Online)
- Resurrectionist, a medieval period werewolf-themed illustrated novel by the sister-and-brother creative tandem of writer Elena Carrillo and artist Jaime Carrillo now available for order after a successful Kickstarter campaign. (Comixverse)
- Eddie Kim visits the Japanese American National Museum exhibit entitled Marvels and Monsters: Unmasking Asian Images in U.S. Comics, 1942-1986. (L.A. Downtown News)
- After last week’s rather surreal attempted assault-by-air-conditioner come more reports of threats and extortion attempts by alleged members of the triads (Chinese organized crime) targeting the film crew of the Michael Bay-helmed Transformers: Age of Extinction, which is currently filming on-location in Hong Kong. (The Hollywood Reporter)
- BOOM! Studios announces the launch the globe-trotting espionage action-comedy Deceivers, the newest title from 2 Guns and Robocop: Last Stand writer Steven Grant. (Comixverse)
- Rob Salkowitz asks: How can geekdom’s minorities preserve safe spaces at conventions? An especially salient question after reports surfaced of girls and women being followed around and sexually harassed by camera-toting goons during NYCC. (ICv2)
- Greg Rucka and Michael Lark talk about Lazarus. (Multiversity)
- Dancer Daniel Curry, who suffered serious limb-threatening injuries during a live performance of the Broadway production Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark earlier this year, made a public appearance in a benefit concert to raise funds to help pay for the medical expenses—including a number of unspecified amputations—he has incurred since being injured. Curry claims that the accident was caused by faulty equipment while the show’s producers insist that it was due to human error. The dancer is considering filing a $75 million lawsuit against the show’s producers and its equipment suppliers and an OSHA investigation into Turn Off the Dark‘s worker safety practices is currently underway. (The New York Times)
- 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejects Stan Lee Media’s claim to the Conan IP, reaffirms Paradox Entertainment’s rights to the use of the character. (Deadline)
- Artist Steve Epting talks about Velvet, which has him reuniting with Captain America collaborator Ed Brubaker. (Ain’t It Cool News)
- Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Promise) talks about his new graphic novel Boxers & Saints, which features a story set during the Boxer Rebellion. (NPR)
- The Fifth Beatle, Vivek J. Tiwary and Andrew C. Robinson’s graphic novel about the tragically short life of Brian Epstein, to be bundled with the 10th Anniversary special edition of Rolling Stone Italy, three weeks before it is released in other territories. (Comixverse)
- Just in time for Halloween, Dana Jennings writes a piece examining EC Comics’ place in the comics medium’s history and how it continues to influence comics creators today. (The New York Times)
- Mark Waid’s Eisner Award-winning Daredevil to end with February’s issue #36. (IGN)
In case you missed them…
Don’t forget that we regularly post new previews of trade paperbacks and hardcovers. This week, we added sneak peeks of 14 titles including previews for My Little Pony: Pony Tales, Vol. 1 (IDW), the Cowboy Ninja Viking deluxe hardcover (Image Comics), and Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Search, part 3 (Dark Horse).
Joining in on the Pacific Rim merchandise review action is Zedric, with his opinions on Pacific Rim: Tales From Year Zero, a graphic novel published a few months ago by Legendary Comics, intended as a prequel to the Guillermo del Toro film. Zedric also examines how the development of the tablet computer has impacted the enterprise of digital comics in the 205th edition of Leaving Proof.
We leave you now with the new UK trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which gives us an early look at Cap’s new “Commander Rogers” costume, Falcon, Black Widow, and the eponymous Winter Soldier in action. Also, Robert Redford with what looks like either a poorly-fitted wig or a pretty patchy hair implant job.