Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

June 17, 2011

Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: A Publishing News Column

By Tom Spurgeon

There's an enormous amount of publishing news out there from the last 10 days or so, much of it overwhelmed by DC's decision to relaunch its entire line and bring on same-day digital at the same time. I beg your forgiveness for the length of what follows.

* above-the-fold item #1: Box Brown is raising money for a kind of project I've been waiting for someone to try: a limited-lifespan publisher devoted to publishing alternative comic books. He already has the cartoonists he wants to use lined up, a heady mix of veterans of this particular form and those that have never tried it before.

* above-the-fold item #2: Mark Siegel is seeking money via Kickstarter for his Sailor Twain project, but with an interesting distinction. While the eventual printed copy will come out from the First Second imprint of which Siegel is the head honcho, Siegel is looking to buttress the on-line serialization of the book through this fundraising campaign, in order to bolster those following it for free that might eventually be looking for the collected edition.

As Siegel explained it to me:
"The book is the book, but the online serial has its own life, and is quite a different experience (besides serializing the story, there's the companion blog, with history and art notes, plus the interactive conversation aboard). From Macmillan's standpoint, First Second is running a few experiments online under its "To Be Continued" banner. There's the Iranian dissident project "Zahra's Paradise," and MK Reed and Jonathan Hill's "Americus," plus the upcoming re-launch of Derek Kirk Kim's "Tune," and of course my own project. In each instance, they're very different approaches, and to a large degree, it's up to each creator to make it stick. My hope is that the webcomic experiment takes off, and we can make a case for it with Macmillan, on a broader basis. With my own Sailor Twain, I get to try a bunch of things which I wouldn't necessarily test on First Second authors -- in case it falls flat and I end up with egg on my face, at least it's just my own face.

So the Kickstarter is meant to support the webcomic, not the book -- though of course, I hope to show that a success there will do good things for the printed book as well.

* above-the-fold item #3: Brigid Alverson has a succinct write up here about how SLG is making some of its content available to digital comics readers through a devoted business partnership. Alverson also looks at existing options to access SLG material.

* another Kickstarter campaign going on worth noting that maybe doesn't have broader publishing-news implications is Shaenon Garrity seeking $10K to publish all six years of her pioneering webcomic Narbonic under two covers. The news would be if the very popular Garrity didn't make the money needed to move forward.

image* PictureBox has for sale a limited-edition Gary Panter book that accompanied a European arts show. It's called The Land Unknown. It's hard for me to imagine a lot of comics fan thats wouldn't want an object that fun-looking on their shelves. Additionally, the publisher has announced a CF art book for Fall 2011, to be called Sediment.

* an omnibus edition of the very fine Osamu Tezuka manga Dororo will come out in February. I think Vertical currently sells it as three volumes.

* fun headline at Robot 6 over the fact that we will get more Beasts Of Burden comic books from Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, even as it heads toward movie development.

* I did not know the new Casanova series will be called Casanova: Avaritia nor that it would be four (full-length) issues in length. Now I do.

* cancelling the Uncanny X-Men recently title allows for Marvel to re-launch the Uncanny X-Men title before year's end. I can't imagine that splitting the X-Men into Cyclops- and Wolverine-led factions is as interesting as if you'd split them into Cyclops- and Kitty Pryde-led factions, but maybe that's just me. The one good thing that Marvel does with their stunts these days is more often than not have a good book for people to read that might fall into the promotion for the promotion's sake, and it seems they have a significant degree of confidence in writer Kieron Gillen.

* I'm behind on the bulk of my Kickstarter-related announcements, but it looks like Kind of Blue! didn't need my help at all.

* the always-formidable English micro-publisher Blank Slate Books will be translating Pierre Maurel's 3 Déclinasions for an English-language edition this winter.

* Joe Casey and Nathan Fox are taking over the Robert Kirkman/Todd McFarlane effort Haunt, I guess so Image readers can see in 2011 what the other mainstream comics writers will be engaging in 2016.

* the best kind of creator updated is a Roger Langridge creator update. He has three books on the way, probably more since this was posted.

* the Transmetropolitan: All Around The World art book benefiting the CBLDF is continuing to make its journey from conception to consumption.

* Tom Neely has several thousand pounds of his newly-printed The Wolf in his home; he would like to sell you several ounces of it.

image* here's one off the beaten path, and "about comics" rather than comics besides: the writer Matt Maxwell has collected a bunch of his columns about comics into The Collected Full Bleed for kindle users. I love these kinds of efforts generally, and I always get something out of Maxwell's perspective on comics issues.

* Desert Island sent out a press release with the line-up for Smoke Signal #9; cover by James Jean, authorized reprint of Wood's "Disneyland Memorial Orgy" now celebrating its 45th anniversary, and this creators line-up:
John Campbell
Ludovic Debeurme
Michael DeForge
Glynnis Fawkes
Matt Furie
Marcellus Hall
Glenn Head
Sam Henderson
Michael Kupperman
Gerald Jablonski
Tim Lane
Jason T. Miles
Max de Radigués
Robert Sergel
Conor Stechschulte
Leslie Stein
Sounds great to me.

* I missed the launch of a new web site devoted to reviews and feature-style pieces: Graphic Eye.

* this is the first time I've heard of an editor being brought on board to help a webcomic make the transition into print, but such a move makes total sense.

* finally, I also totally missed this press release for Donna Barr's on-line comics effort A Little Death.



posted 12:00 pm PST | Permalink

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