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CSBG Archive

Meta-Messages – Joe Casey and Ashley Wood Say Goodbye to a Friend…

All October long I will be exploring the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.” Here is an archive of the past installments!

Today we look at the final issue of Automatic Kafka (#9, to be precise), where the creators of the book, Joe Casey and Ashley Wood, meet their creation and explain the book’s cancellation to him.

Automatic Kafka was an excellent comic book by Joe Casey and Ashley Wood that ultimately was a bit too “out there” to sustain itself commercially. The book lasted only nine issues, and in that ninth issue, the hero of the book, Automatic Kakfa (an android who was part of a mass-marketed superhero team during the 1980s) meets his creators…

I love Casey’s commentary about the tradition of creators appearing in comics…

Casey spends much of the issue commenting on modern comic books…

The end of the issue is especially touching. I hope that we soon get a US reprint of this series. As you can just see from the above pages, it was a standout comic.


DC print this in trade in the US!!!

Shit, I was just about to say that I’m going to pick this trade up once I find it, but I guess I won’t find it.

Is it in trade elsewhere, like?

ok, I gotta get this comic. Joe Casey + Metal Gear artist Ashley Wood = automatic win.

Good title overall, but I never cared for this issue. Casey was waaaaay too self-congratulatory about how avant-garde his work was.

Folks, if the book didn’t sell enough in “floppy format” back in 2002 to merit a trade back then, I doubt that DC’s going to think there’s enough of a market to make it worthwhile printing nearly a decade later. Sales figures from CBG show that issue #1 sold 16899 copies in July 2002 (surprisingly, some 1500 copies more than “Y the Last Man” #1 the same month). Issue #9 from March 2003, however, sold 8130 copies (that month’s “Y the Last Man”–issue #11–sold just over 26000 copies).

Then, too, there could be a rights’ issue involved. If Casey and Wood have the rights to the book (and since the book was published through WildStorm, I’m guessing they retained at least some, if not all, the rights), they could take the book to another publisher which is willing to print for a “smaller” market. DC might have retained some rights for a period of time but the company doesn’t feel that it could make enough money to publish (especially if Casey and Wood would earn some of the profits from a trade). I mean, let’s face it. The reality is that MOST trades don’t sell 2000 copies in their first month and many suffer a serious sales drop (60% and greater) after that first month and even more afterwards.

I can’t buy anything that Joe Casey writes until he stops wearing sunglasses indoors and at night like a total douchebag.

seeing those pages like that some one really needs to put the thing into trade.

@JosephW: I understand what you’re saying, but at the time, I hadn’t even heard of this book. Would I have gotten it? I don’t know, but reading about it now, I WANT IT!

Plus, as Dr Fleming said, it’s available in HC in Spain, so there is a market for it.

You’re probably right that there is a rights issue. Hopefully if DC won’t print it, Casey and Wood will get the rights back and maybe IDW will collect it.

Of course, I also hope that eventually Giffen gets the Heckler rights back and we get a trade of that from Boom or someone.

I can’t pick up a single issue.
All sold out at the place I buy them AND online.
I hate good comics that are hard to find.

Mychael Darklighter

July 30, 2012 at 3:52 pm

just bought automatic kafka trade for $55.

F*ckin’ Loved This Sh!t when it came out along with Wildcats 3.0, thanks for the reminder, into the long boxes I’ll dive.

I love everything Joe Casey has ever written. Ill have to pick up the individual issues of this online

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