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Thoughts on Andy Diggle, Exclusivity and Timing

If you can find it (lord knows I’m not going to go through the effort to look for it), you’ll see discussions between me and various people back in late 2004/early 2005 about what Andy Diggle should do after his awesome Adam Strange mini-series was ruined by being forced to tie-in with an Infinite Crisis lead-in.

At the time, it was interesting to note that the consensus (well, the consensus among the people I was talking with) was that his best fit, if he wanted to move into superhero territory, was to follow Brian Michael Bendis on Daredevil. However, even then, Ed Brubaker was rumored to be getting that gig (it is simply astonishing how long Brubaker was rumored to be following Bendis on Daredevil. He did not take over until 2006, but I assure you, it was already being talked about like a sure thing in late 2004).

But what was seen as a bit of a foregone conclusion at the time was that Diggle definitely should (and would) move to Marvel Comics when his exclusive contract expired at the end of 2005.

But then a funny thing happened on the way to the forum Continue Reading »

Thoughts on the Search for the Next Sorcerer Supreme

I find it pretty amusing that Marvel is actually doing stuff like “Odds on who will be the next Sorcerer Supreme,” because, really, folks, and I mean this with absolutely zero disrespect to Brian Michael Bendis, but come on, the guy doesn’t go by what “makes sense” for stuff like this. He goes by what he thinks makes for the most interesting story. Which is perfectly fine, of course, but it’s just funny to do “odds” as if there is some rhyme and reason to the decision who is the next Sorcerer Supreme, like “Ah, yes, that makes sense!” besides “wouldn’t it be interesting if Character X was Sorcerer Supreme?”

NYCC Thoughts on Immonen’s Next Move

I have recently been bemoaning the artwork on New Avengers, so to learn that Stuart Immonen, only one of my favorite artists in all of comics, is going to be the next artist on the title, well, I quite reasonably am extremely excited!

Not only is Immonen a great artist, but he’s also timely, so that helps the book’s schedule. I only wish he was doing the book for the big 50th issue this month!

NYCC Thoughts on Hickman’s Fantastic Four

When I featured Jonathan Hickman on a Month of Writing Stars, I noted that he was likely to soon be too famous for such a feature, and unsurprisingly, a week or so later, it was announced that he is going to be following Mark Millar on the Fantastic Four!

This is great news, as the Fantastic Four is the exact type of series that plays to Hickman’s inventive nature.

Dale Eaglesham is a capable partner for him on the book.

I look forward to the run a good deal (and I await learning where Millar and Hitch will end up)!

Thoughts on the $3.99 Standard Comic Book…

After thinking about it a bit more, I actually think that Marvel MAY actually be handling this situation as well as they can handle it.

Note the stress of the word “may.”

Brian Hibbs recently wrote a great column about possible price increases and the possible market reaction, and I found myself absolutely agreeing with him.

There are a few points at play here:

1. Marvel and DC feel as though they NEED $4 comic books right now. Last month, issue sales were down from a year ago, but the actual dollar intake by the companies was UP, so they were actually making more money now than they were a year ago. Why? Because their highest selling titles were $4 (Secret Invasion and Final Crisis, plus others).

2. Standard economic theory is that you charge more for the lower selling products, because the higher selling products sell enough to pay for the lower price point. Meanwhile, the lower selling products usually have a cult following who will support the niche product at a higher price point (for a time, at least). To wit, Marvel Illustrated comics. Shanower and Young’s Wizard of Oz looks AMAZING, but come on, it’s a niche product, so Marvel is charging more money for it.

3. However, an across-the-board $4 price point would likely not work right now. Hibbs notes the same thing I’ve noticed – fans will not pay $4 for, say, a third X-Men comic book. Or a third Batman comic book, etc. Perhaps $3.50, but not $4 (by the by, I disagree about $3.10 or $3.25 being a viable price point – fans are irked by price increases PERIOD, so there’s no point in doing it if it is not going to significantly affect your return – I think $3.50 achieves that, though).

4. That said, what fans WILL pay $4 for is the “important” comic books. You see this right now with Secret Invasion. If the content is “key” to the shared universe, then readers do not seem to mind the extra buck. Hibbs notes this with his costumers, and I concur from what I’ve seen.

5. So therefore, Marvel APPEARS to be handling this the way Hibbs thinks works – they’re charging a dollar more for the books that they know the fans will buy anyways because of the content. A new Avengers book by Brian Michael Bendis and Mike Deodato? That’s going to sell. Jeph Loeb’s Hulk? It’s going to sell. $3 or $4 is likely not going to make a marked difference. $4 for, say, Green Lantern Corps or Young X-Men IS.

So while this definitely sucks, I think Marvel is probably handling it as well as they can right now with the current market.

Thoughts on the Current Heroclix Situation…

So what does the closing of Wizkids actually mean for the Heroclix brand?

Does this mean that it is simply just going to continue under the “Topps” name now?

Anyone out there actually play Heroclix? Heroclix has always struck me as a neat little game, but I’ve never actually played myself, so I was wondering if there are any players out there who are into it. It seems pretty popular, as far as I can tell.

Thoughts on the new Black Panther…

According to Marvel.com (and an article in the Washington Post), Marvel is introducing a brand-new female Black Panther.

Reginald Hudlin is still writing the book.

I think that what we have here is a clever way of Marvel ending the Black Panther/Storm marriage. If T’Challa is killed and replaced by a female Black Panther, then you have Storm now free and clear of the marriage without a divorce, and you still have a Black Panther. And, to boot, you get a FEMALE Black Panther, which is an interesting twist (and, of course, you can always bring T’Challa back in the future, only now he can’t be married to Storm for some reason – maybe it’s T’Challa from the past or whatever).

However, the only way this works is if the new Black Panther is NOT Storm. If it IS Storm, then while that’s certainly a clever enough idea, I don’t think that really does anything for Storm. If it is T’Challa’s sister (introduced by Hudlin, no less), then it is a very clever idea by Marvel.

Can’t wait ’til we find out which one it is.

SDCC Thoughts on Neil Gaiman Writing Batman

You have to hand it to DC. They already had a good deal of notable announcements, from the Milestone characters to Warlord returning to the Archie characters to Kevin Smith’s Batman mini-series.

But then they dropped the big bomb

Whatever happened to the caped crusader?

Neil Gaiman.

Andy Kubert.

January 2009.

Talk about just blowing everyone else out of the water – one of the few comic book writers out there whose mere presence on a comic book gets media attention, and DC has him writing BATMAN (even if it is only for a short period of time, which is likely)?

What a pull by DC.

And that about does it for the stuff that struck my fancy! Feel free to drop a note in the comments about any SDCC news (that I did not mention) that has YOU really excited!

SDCC Thoughts on Morrison’s Vertigo Work

From the Vertigo Panel coverage at CBR:

“One of the things I’m always asked at conventions,” said Stewart, “is when is the next Seaguy.” Stewart said that he’s been asked that question for five years, and now both “Seaguy 2: Slaves of Mickey Eye” and “Seaguy 3: Eternal,” will be out soon.

This is followed by the announcement that Sean Murphy, a young artist who I dig a lot (here is his website), is going to be the artist on Morrison’s upcoming Warcop series.

To quote Dr. Sam Beckett, “Oh boy!”

SDCC Thoughts on Kevin Smith’s Batman Mini-Series

Sounds like fun (I like that he’s already done most of the mini-series), but can’t say that I am a fan of Onomatopoeia.

Then again, it could be Batman fighting Constantine Drakon, so I should just count my blessings, eh?

SDCC Thoughts on Mike Grell’s Return to Warlord!

As you can tell by the exclamation mark, I am quite pumped about this one!

Chris Arrant at Newsarama has a good interview with Grell (that’s where the image comes from).

In the interview, Grell first explained that it was meant to be a mini-series to celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Warlord, but soon was given the green-light as an ongoing series!

I wonder if perhaps a series of mini-series would be better here, too, but whatever, man, it’s Grell back doing Warlord! Woohoo!!

SDCC Thoughts on the Superman Titles

I know I recently gave Supergirl a hard time for having ANOTHER new creative team, but I have to say, the idea of getting a Geoff Johns protege to write the book and then have the book basically tie directly with Superman?

That’s a smart idea.

Has Supergirl’s title EVER been this tied to the main Superman titles? Ever?

SDCC Thoughts on the Idea of Stan Lee Doing Ultimate Spider-Man

That’s how IDW described the concept of Larry Hama being behind the G.I.Joe reboot for the new IDW ongoing series.

Well, would anyone actually want that?

Remember Just Imagine Stan Lee?

I’d have stressed instead the fact that Hama’s recent G.I.Joe work has been just as good, if not better, than his old work, so you have a guy whose famous for creating a title AND has been doing good recent work on the title (G.I.Joe: Declassified was really quite good).

I wasn’t much a fan of Hama’s Spooks, but his recent G.I. Joe work still has me looking forward to this series.

SDCC Thoughts on Diggle Named New Thunderbolts Writer

If it weren’t for that pesky Neil guy, Andy Diggle becoming the new Thunderbolts writer would be the coolest news of the Comic Con for me, personally, as Ellis’ Thunderbolts was a really great book, so I was fearing the worst with his departure, and Andy Diggle is one of the few writers out there that is not much of a step down from Warren Ellis (whose Thunderbolts run was great).

At the same time, I remember a few years ago, when the signs all seemed to be pointing to Diggle being the next DC writer to make the move to Marvel, but then he stayed at DC, instead – and promptly did basically nothing of note (I mean, don’t get me wrong, I have really enjoyed his Hellblazer work and I absolutely adored his Green Arrow: Year One mini-series, but he did not exactly have a ton of major projects that would make you say, “Ah, so THAT’S why he stayed!”)!!

So while it’s a few years later then one would think, he’s at Marvel now, and I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeves for the Thunderbolts. I just hope Songbird isn’t screwed!!


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