Funnybook Babylon

October 12, 2010

FBB NYCC 2010: I Promise I’ll Buy the Trade Edition

Filed under: Articles — Jamaal Thomas @ 10:30 am

The Con is over! Here’s a round-up of the best (and worst) news the Con had to offer.

The Davids Brothers and Uzumeri did a bang-up job covering the con for Comics Alliance (when they weren’t hosting a Q&A or eating at 5 Guys). Go read. My favorite part? Uzumeri’s coverage of Sunday morning’s DC Nation Town Hall panel, where Co-Publisher Dan Didio gave the following anecdote:

“DiDio told a story about a fan reading “Brightest Day ” on an iPad in an airport lounge at 12:30 in the morning. Not realizing that “Brightest Day” was not a legal digital download, DiDio leaned in and complimented the colors and quality, at which point the fan replied: “I know who you are, Dan DiDio. I promise I’ll buy the trade!”

That just says it all, doesn’t it?

Great News

  • Jason Aaron and Ron Garney are working on Ultimate Comics Captain America , a miniseries scheduled for January 2011.
    Why You Should Care: The two previously collaborated on Wolverine: Weapon X , a delightfully inventive take on the world’s most overexposed superhero. Aaron has proven capable of mining underexplored facets of caped protagonists, and it looks like he’ll be adding Captain America to the list. If that doesn’t convince you, try this: if you think McCarthy/Red Scare Captain America is interesting, wait until you get a load of Vietnam-era Captain America!


  • Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos are relaunching Alias sometime in late 2011-early 2012. Why You Should Care: If you’re a fan of Bendis’ classic work, this is pretty encouraging. Although his work on Avengers and Ultimate Spider Man is fine, I’m looking forward to seeing some of Bendis’ less mainstream work. Yes, I’m pretending Scarlet doesn’t exist.
  • Si Spencer and Sean Murphy present Hellblazer: City of Demons, a stand-alone bimonthly five issue miniseries.
    Why You Should Care: Have you seen Murphy’s artwork in Joe the Barbarian ? Stellar. At Saturday’s Vertigo: On the Edge panel, DC Senior V.P. and Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger described the book as akin to a Constantine Elseworlds tale, which implies that the protagonist doesn’t necessarily have to be in one piece at the end of the story.


  • Dark Horse Boookshelf: Dark Horse Comics announced a new digital comics program that will launch with 150 titles, with about 20 new titles added per month. The digital comics will cost about $1.49, with longer arcs costing between $2.99 and $5.99.
    Why You Should Care: According to Micha Hershman, Dark Horse’s V.P. of Marketing, the program will use a proprietary system that ducks the Apple monolith. Apple’s done a great job with the App Store (other than its content restrictions), but publisher experimentation with content delivery systems should always be encouraged.
  • Marvel/DC Universe Animation: DC announced the DC Showcase Animated Shorts Collection, which features Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam (comng in November), Batman: Year One and Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. They also introduced footage from the All-Star Superman animated movie (based on the classic Grant Morrison mini and adapted by Dwayne McDuffie) and the upcoming Green Lantern Animated Series. Marvel also announced details for its Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes animated series, scheduled to premier October 20th on Disney XD. For a collection of minisodes introducing the characters, check here.
    Why You Should Care
    : This is a golden age of superhero animated projects. That’s not enough? Look below:

  • Price Reductions – Marvel and DC announced that they would renew their focus on $2.99 titles. DC will decrease the price of their standard books from $3.99 to $2.99, but will also reduce the length of most books from 22 pages of story to 20, excepting annuals, specials, and some miniseries. Marvel plans on launching new books in January at a lower price point due to the success of their digital initiative.
    Why You Should Care
    : Lower prices! I also think that the announcements serve as grist for the mills of all the amateur corporate strategists out there who love to speculate about behind the scenes developments at the Big Two. Even though these announcements are superficially similar, it’s interesting to note how the publishers chose to frame the price adjustment. The press release from DC Comics sounds desperate, like someone finally looked at the sales figures and figured out that the publisher had no long-term strategy. Co-Publisher Jim Lee described the move as a “financial risk” to hold on to fans who are “increasingly reluctant to sample new titles” or “abandon[ing] titles and characters that they’d collected for years”. Even though the books will be more affordable, readers are getting less content and creators will get paid less. Marvel’s announcement, made at the ICv2 Digital Conference on Thursday, set an entirely different tone. Senior V.P. of Sales & Circulation David Gabriel explained that the success of Marvel’s digital comics initiative gave the publisher the flexibility to decrease the price of some books without compromising on book length. While DC is desperately trying to stop the bleeding by pandering to a declining customer base, Marvel is building on its success by lowering costs for consumers and creating opportunities for retailers. I’d be interested to see where both publishers are in the next year. One other thing about Marvel’s announcement – it’s a beautiful example of burying the lede. What’s the real shocker in Marvel’s announcement? That digital sales for Ultimate Thor #1 surpassed the amount sold to Midtown Comics, one of Marvel’s biggest direct market accounts. I think Gabriel just proclaimed the impending death of the direct market…

Good Cause Interlude

: As you may know, Steve Rude has some financial issues — his house is up for foreclosure — and is auctioning some of his original artwork to raise money. Check out his website or his Ebay auction here .

Less Great News

  • Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning are preparing a one-shot entitled Devastation that will serve as a finale to their much-beloved work in the “cosmic” section of the Marvel universe. The pair will be moving on to work on a new Heroes for Hire book.
    Why You Should Sigh: If you were a fan of Marvel Sci-Fi, you now have one regularly scheduled book to follow: Hickman’s Fantastic Four. I haven’t read anything about whether other creators will pick up the threads left with the Thanos Imperative, but I’m a little dubious. I know, I know, I’m being negative. On the other hand, it’s cool that Abnett and Lanning’s talent is being recognized. It’s just too bad that Marvel Cosmic is still the little leagues.
  • Sean McKeever is bringing back one of Marvel’s worst ideas in 2011. No, it’s not Avengers Forever 2. Onslaught. Yes, Onslaught.
    Why You Should Sigh: Onslaught!

Other Interesting Projects

  • Nick Spencer and artist Christian Ward are collaborating on The Infinite Vacation, a five issue miniseries from Image about a man addicted to travelling through various alternate realities. Check out the trailer here.

My personal reaction to the Con this year was mixed. It was the annual FBB4L reunion, and it was great to see David Uzumeri, David Brothers and Gavin Jasper. It was also very cool to meet Chris Sims, David Wolkin and (briefly) Sean Witzke. On the other hand, the Con was way too crowded. Comics Alliance reported a crowd of at least 100,000, and it felt like all of them were on the main floor Saturday afternoon. I’m sure that it was a tremendous success for the attending creators, publishers and retailers, but as a person who wasn’t selling anything, it was torture. Think of it this way: Evan Dorkin is right. I still found some pretty decent deals, including several volumes of Eddie Campbell’s Bacchus for a dollar apiece. Here’s what I picked up:

Next Week: Meaty Content! We should have a NYCC podcast up soon. Check 4th Letter for a special crossover event. I will post something this week (maybe)!

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