Archive | February, 2012

Comic Book Men

18 Feb

by Mike Hansen

Kevin Smith

Kevin Smith at somebody's else's comic book store. (Image via Wikipedia)

I liked this show.

I’d guess it’s mainly because I’m a Kevin Smith fan, and his recent Q&A/standup specials have been downright brilliant. Having worked in a comics shop, it seemed pretty accurate to me – with trying to find stupid stuff to do during the frequent downtime, the freaky customers who come in trying to make money off their junk, and the employees making fun of customers (and each other) when nobody else is around. Most comics shops are really unprofessional, and to me that’s part of their charm – I mean, who wants to hang out at, say, Walmart?

The “Pawn Stars” moments Continue reading

Dear Marvel: You’re Welcome

7 Feb

by Mike Hansen

“Marvel is the only publisher that mandates a recap page go at the beginning of every comic to catch the reader up on what’s happening if they’ve happened to miss an issue.” – Marvel Senior Vice President-Sales David Gabriel (from his ICV2 interview)

Well, except Red Skull: Incarnate. That miniseries didn’t have a recap page in any of its five issues. Marvel’s pretty good about including them most of the time, though.

When I was editor on Dark Horse’s monthly manga titles, they always had a recap page:

Oh My Goddess! Part X #2 IFC

from Oh My Goddess! Part X #2 (published by Dark Horse Comics, March 2001)

Here’s a recent Marvel one:

Mystery Men (Marvel) #5 page 1

from Mystery Men #5 (published by Marvel, November 2011)

Now, I wasn’t the first editor at Dark Horse to use recap pages, but I did make them 100% new-reader-friendly in 1999-2001.

Marvel started doing recap pages around mid-2002.

I applaud Marvel for Continue reading

More Ways to Improve Collected Editions

2 Feb

by Mike Hansen

One or two comics...

(Photo credit: fengschwing)

I just came across this today:

A couple weeks ago, before I wrote about various publishers’ collected editions, The Weekly Crisis posted “10 Ways to Improve Collected Editions” – some highlights:

1 – Keep your Readers Informed
Let’s start off with one of the simplest and easiest way to improve the way companies approach collections. As much information as possible must be easily available when making a purchase, and that includes all creators and collected issues. For best effect, these must be placed in an easily readable part of the back cover and (perhaps more importantly) in the product description of the item.
Yes! There have been a number of times when publishers, especially Marvel and DC, post incomplete or inaccurate info about book contents in Previews. Sometimes this is a good thing (additional pages in the X-Men by Claremont & Lee Vol. 2 Omnibus for more extras), sometimes not (Legends of the Dark Knight: Marshall Rogers dropping solicited content). With collected editions SO dependent on preorders, these books need to be figured out ahead of time as much as possible.
2 – Extra-er Material
HELL YES

4 – People Must Sample

It’s the traditional drug dealer tactic: the first one is free, the second one isn’t. If you get people hooked on your series, they are more likely to come back for more. … It’s not just putting this first chapter for free, but also making sure that the people reading this know that the collection is out and available for purchase/pre-order, with in-house ads placed in the digital comic.
I wholeheartedly support this – as far as I’m concerned, this is the only way for new stuff to find a bigger audience.
Free Comic Book Day does an okay job, but I think it’s better at getting regular comic-shop purveyors to check out new material than at bringing in brand-new readers. Still, every bit helps.
I’ve been a big supporter of Continue reading

Before Watchmen: Not Interested. Here’s Why

1 Feb

by Mike Hansen

Cover of "Watchmen"

Watchmen.

It is what it says it is: Watchmen prequel stories not by the authors of Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.

FromDC’s Source blog:

BEFORE WATCHMEN includes:

  • COMEDIAN (6 issues) – Writer: Brian Azzarello. Artist: J.G. Jones
  • NITE OWL (4 issues) – Writer: J. Michael Straczynski. Artists: Andy and Joe Kubert
  • OZYMANDIAS (6 issues) – Writer: Len Wein. Artist: Jae Lee
  • SILK SPECTRE (4 issues) – Writer: Darwyn Cooke. Artist: Amanda Conner
Before Watchmen Comedian cover

Not Watchmen.

Each week, a new issue will be released, and will feature a two-page back-up story called CURSE OF THE CRIMSON CORSAIR, written by original series editor Len Wein and with art by original series colorist John Higgins. There will also be a single issue, BEFORE WATCHMEN: EPILOGUE, featuring the work of various writers and artists, and a CRIMSON CORSAIR story by Wein and Higgins.

“The original series of WATCHMEN is the complete story that Alan Moore and I wanted to tell. However, I appreciate DC’s reasons for this initiative and the wish of the artists and writers involved to pay tribute to our work. May these new additions have the success they desire,” said Dave Gibbons, WATCHMEN co-creator and original series artist.

“Comic books are perhaps the largest and longest running form of collaborative fiction,” said DiDio and Lee. “Collaborative storytelling is what keeps these fictional universes current and relevant.”

Because Watchmen isn’t a story, it’s a “universe”? And it’s not enough to be a Cold War-era metaphor; it needs to be “relevant”? Huh.

Before Watchmen Dr. Manhattan cover

Not Watchmen.

From Comics Alliance:

With the exceptions of Wein and Higgins, none of the creators involved in this initiative were involved in the original production of Watchmen. This announcement does clear up where quite a few popular creators, such as Jae Lee, J.G. Jones and Amanda Conner, have been working for the past year or so since ending other projects.

And Adam Hughes hasn’t drawn a published comics story since, what, Wildcats/X-Men? He was working on All Star Wonder Woman, but who knows if that’s still happening…

This explains why DC offered Alan Moore the Watchmen rights back only with the provision that these prequels could be published: because they were already being made by that point. (Moore refused.)

Before Watchmen Ozymandias cover

Not Watchmen.

I truly believe that the only reason Continue reading

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