DC Adjusts Some $3.99 Books

DC Adjusts Some $3.99 Books

Rich Johnston is reporting that starting in August DC will be dropping the page count on some of their newer books priced at $3.99.  This is a change from the standard DC had set for its $3.99 books which would all have at least 30 pages of content.  So far it looks like only lower tier titles will be effected.  Some of the titles being changed are Emerald Warriors which spins out of Green Lantern Corp, Time Masters which in a mini series companion to the Return of Bruce Wayne and continues what Dan Jurgens was doing in Booster Gold, and Mighty Crusaders which sees the Red Circle characters being folded into one book.  I would assume the strategy is to try and generate more for less given that these books are not going to be top sellers.  These are the kind of books that sell at a level that Marvel cancels books at.   (more…)

Hollywood Exposure Helping Comics

There is a very clear trend now with comics that are made in to movies or TV shows.  No matter how well the property does, especially in the case of a movie, it still helps drive sales of the comics they are based on.  This is a interesting trend now as traditionally print comics have not been able to capitalize on Hollywood success.  April’s Book Scans top 2o and the most recent NY Times Best Sellers lists helps illustrate this trend.  The collected version of Kick Ass has topped both despite the movie not doing quite as well as the producers hoped.  The most surprising on the lists is that first volume of the Losers.  Even before the movie came out it was doing well with the NY Times list showing that interest only grew after the movie’s release.  Early hype of the Scott Pilgrim movie has lead to the first volume of the comic to jump in sales as well.  The Walking Dead already does well in collected form but those numbers will likely grow as well with the TV show coming to AMC later this year.  It will be interesting to see how Jonah Hex does once the hype for that movie kicks into full gear.  I should stress these are sales outside the direct market.  It is a trend among the average bookstore shoppers.  It is very good to see this happening, as it is likely being helped by the steady decline of manga related titles and the general acceptance of the graphic novel as something more then the old disposable entertainment view comics uses to have.


When Rich Johnston made a post, not long back, about how HTMLComics was hosting pirated comics the countdown clock in my head went off as to when the site would get taken down.  Johnston’s post meant the major comics publishers would suddenly notice the site was there.  This week the site was official taken down through a consortium of publishers.  The official statement from the lawyers can be found here.  It’s entertaining to read their statement as they try their best to spin this as a major victory, when in truth HTMLComics meant little to the actual piracy of comics.  The guy that ran the site just happened to have a very poor understanding of copyright law.  He believed his site fell under fair use and in his mind he was streaming comics and not letting people download them.  It was a easy take down for the publishers as HTMLComics was hosted in the US and the guys name was all over it.  He never stood a chance.  Even the FBI was involved.  Now I don’t have a problem with piracy but this guy was asking for it with his missguided understanding of what he could do.  Perhaps part of the misunderstanding is because of the many manga based websites that host translated files the same way that HTMLComics did.  The manga sites are no more legal then anything else, they simply fly under the radar as Japanese publishers are primarily worried about what happens directly in the Japanese market. (more…)

Movies and Comics

I am not surprised to find out that the movie adaptation of the Losers did not do well this weekend.  It came in at number four in its debut, according to Box Office Mojo.  Now I was a fan of the comic but when I saw the tailer I thought the movie looked like junk and from the reviews I have read it looks like it was indeed a poor adaptation.

This is coming off the previous weekend where Kick Ass fell well below expectations.  This lead to Rich Johnston wondering in a post if comics based movies are going to go into a downturn of sorts.  I would assume meaning that Hollywood would loose interest in comics.  I don’t believe that will happen and I’m sure Iron Man 2 will do very well and change that tune.

What I find most interesting in all this is the diversity of the comics being made into movies right now.  The average person would not know or care that the Losers was a comic.  It probably just looked a rip off to the A-Team to most.  The upcoming Jonah Hex movie will just be seen as a western to the average person.  Scott Pilgrim will just look like a quirky indy film and so on.  While it is too bad many of these non super hero movies based on comics are not doing well, it is still a very welcome site to see them being made.  To put it a better way, it is nice to have genre based diversity. (more…)

The Marvel Age?

I read this qoute from Marvel artist David Aja by way of today’s Jounalista at the Comics Journal.

Ann Nocenti told me recently she had a bunch of teenagers at house that said “marvel comics are for old people”.

It might be just me but I found that incredibly funny.  It does point to the fact that the majority of  the direct market books in recent years are sold to older men.  I don’t think that is a bad thing just a interesting thing.  Most of those teens that would have been reading X-men back in the day are more inclined to read manga now or some young adult fiction adaptation done in a manga style, if any comic at all.  It’s hard to say what they will be reading when they come of age though.  Many worry that comics as we know it will die because of this.  I do not believe that will happen, but things could end up drastically different in time.

Perhaps this all helps explain why non manga related graphic novels are growing while other things are either in decline or just keeping their head above water.  Marvel and DC are at least safe as they have their movies and other divisions to help drive interest towards their characters.

C2E2 Notes

It was a busy weekend for news thanks to the C2E2 convention in Chicago.

GraphicLy officially launched its desktop version of their digital comics store with their mobile version soon to debut.  I tried the desktop version and found it to be somewhat better then the LongBox digital service.  There are a number of free comics on GraphicLy and it’s easy to sign up.  It will have the same problems as the various comic App stores in that it will not feature any brand new comics.  Much like LongBox I found I did not like the interface on GraphicLy for reading comics.  It would be nice if these readers were a bit more simple.  I’m not a big fan of all the iTunes like bells and whistles.  On the positive side the comics are at least cheaper then print ranging from 99 cents to $1.99.

: Diamond is considering moving shipping days up to fit a Tuesday release.  The idea being comics could come out on the standard day that mainstream books, DVDs, and music.  I don’t know how that would help given then most everyone is used to Wednesday being comic book day. (more…)

The Rebirth Of A Rebirth

I ended up being disapointed with Flash Rebirth.  It started off well but it quickly become plagued with problems from delays to editorial have a far to heavy hand on the project.   Despite that I wanted to give the relaunch of the Flash monthly a try.

I like Francis Manapul’s work, so that was enough to over come my initial dislike of Barry, which was one of the problems I had with Rebirth.  I’m glad I did read this as the first issue was more like what I was expecting Rebirth to be.  Barry is far more likable here.  It does a nice job of establishing Barry back in Central City giving him a new purpose as a crime scene investigator for his day time job.  The most noticeable difference between this and Rebirth is Manapul’s artwork.   Ethan Van Sciver’s stiff style does not lend well to the Flash, which hurt Rebirth.  Conversely Manapul’s style is perfectly suited for the Flash as you really get the sense of Barry’s speed and the various cool things he can do with his powers.  John’s writing here is much better as well as it appears editorial did not lay a heavy hand on.  So there is hope for a Barry Allen Flash in the modern DCU after all, although I still prefer Wally.

SHIELD #1 Sells Out

According to CBR, the first issue of Hickman’s SHIELD has sold out and is going to a second printing.  For me that is the best news I have heard from Marvel recently.  I thought the first issue was great but I wasn’t sure how well it would do given how new a property it is and while Hickman’s Fantastic Four is doing strong numbers it is not a top ten selling book.  Of course SHIELD selling out doesn’t mean it is a top ten book either, as it depends on what the first print run was, but it does mean the book has exceeded Marvel’s expectations.  Hopefully this will encourage Marvel to put out more books like this.

And going from the positive news we come to the “what are they smoking” news.  The nominees for this year Eisner awards were released late last week.  Much like last year there are some real head scratchers on the list as several things that deserved to be nominated were not while things that did not deserve it were.  The most notable is that James Robinson was nominated for best writer for his mind numbingly awful work on Cry for Justice.  The only list Robinson should be nominated for is the “writer who should be banned from ever writing the Justice League again” list.  It’s made even more maddening when a talented writer like Jonathan Hickman was not even nominated.  On the positive side super talented manga writer artist Noaki Urawasa has  received multiple well deserved nominations for his work on both Pluto and 20th Century Boys.

Digital Comics Can Be Sold in Comic Shops

I made this point in a previous post among other points, but I wanted to come back to this point as right now it’s one of the larger issues I’m seeing with all the news and debate that the iPad has generated.  I’m getting increasingly angry as everywhere I look people are talking about the digital age potentially damaging or even killing comic shops.  Vaneta Rogers, who has been doing a great job of covering news related to digital comics, has a recent column where comic shop retailers give their reactions to the iPad.  Many of them are clearly worried about the future of their business.  This angers me because there is absolutely no reason for retailers to be worrying like this.  Simply put, comic shops must be allowed to sell digital comics.  The direct market is the backbone of the industry and it should be supported in all possible ways.  Allowing comic shops to sell digital comic is the only logical solution to most of the early problems digital comics bring, but no one seems to be addressing this.   (more…)

Leonardo da Vinci, Agent of SHIELD

Well Jonathan Hickman does it again.  He managed to make the Fantastic Four into one of the better books at Marvel, which has been much needed relief given how bad many of Marvel’s books are at the moment.  Within the first issue of his new SHIELD series he manages to do the same with this property.  It is a fresh new take on SHIELD where we find out SHIELD is far more then just the organization that Nick Fury founded.  Its secret history goes all the way back to the days of Imhotep in ancient Egypt.  The issue goes on to show that many historical figures were part of SHIELD, including Leonardo da Vinci.  Before I read this issue the idea of da Vinci being a comic book hero sounded lame, but it works perfectly here and has me looking forward to more with him.

Dustin Weaver’s artwork really shines here in the same way Dale Eaglesham’s work does on Fantastic Four.  And perhaps the most amazing thing is that it is a $3.99 Marvel book with more then 30 pages of content.  This is the first book from Marvel, since they introduced the $3.99 price tag, where I can say without a doubt that readers will get more then their money’s worth here.  It also more then makes up for the mind numbing misery that is Siege.  Marvel is not looking quite so hopeless creatively to me now.