Pay Attention! Comics News Round Up – 04/05/10

News you can use and news you may have missed! Let's get it on!

This Is What You Don't Believe, Still True The iPad launched last week to great fanfare and gnashing of teeth, as examined by iFanboy Josh on Friday. Preliminary sales numbers are in, with an estimated 700,000 iPads sold on Saturday alone. Heidi MacDonald has several more links and reactions.

Let's do some quick number crunching, though. Blackest Night #1 had an estimated 177,105 preorders. Siege #1 had preorders of around 108,484. So we've got 700,000 iPads sold at a five hundred dollar price point, with many more guaranteed to fly off the shelves over the next year. The best-selling comics in the industry are shipping under 200,000 copies.

Up til now, mainstream digital comics have been something lurking on the horizon, just waiting to slouch toward Bethlehem to be born. With the advent of the iPad, an entirely new market is ready and waiting to be wooed into reading comics. Five hundred bucks is a steep entry point, but it sure looks like a lot of people are more than willing to spend it. The next, say, six months are going to be pretty interesting as publishers, and enterprising indie creators especially, scramble to get on board. There's money there for the taking. Marvel & Comixology are some of the only game in town right now, and they are already in the top 25.

Welcome to Thunderdome!

Howard Chaykin Howard Chaykin's Black Kiss is getting a fancy re-release from Dynamite! Chaykin discusses the series in a somewhat NSFW interview with Kiel Phegley at CBR. He talks about the origin of the series, the influence Raymond Chandler had on his vision of Los Angeles, and even teases a sequel. For more Chaykin, listen to The Comics Journal's MP3s of his 1987 interview with Amazing Heroes or read the slightly NSFW (sensing a theme?) interview from TCJ #300 with Ho Che Anderson. Make sure to click through to all six pages. Chaykin is an interesting guy to listen to, or read about, especially considering the fact that his career can be measured in decades at this point, but he still manages to rock the house with books like Dominic Fortune.

Big Eyes, Small Mouths? "I don't like manga!" is a common refrain. That's kind of like saying "I don't like movies" or even "I don't like comics." Paul Gravett takes on those myths with visual aides and interesting insights. Just like the American comics industry has artists as varied as Jim Lee, JH Williams III, Darwyn Cooke, Amanda Conner, and Marcelo Frusin, the Japanese comics industry has Katsuhiro Otomo, Rumiko Takahashi, Takehiko Inoue, and Daisuke Igarashi. He even suggests a few entry points for the manga-curious.

The Anatomy History Lesson We occasionally hear about comic retailers being arrested and charged with distributing pornography or obscene materials. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund fights these cases on behalf of the accused. What you might not know is the origin of the CBLDF and what it has to do with the rise of Vertigo, better contracts for creators, and Alan Moore bidding DC Comics a fond farewell.

Stephen R. Bissette, creator of Taboo and artist on Saga of the Swamp Thing during the highly-acclaimed Alan Moore run, has the info you didn't even know you wanted to know. He posted twelve long essays about a mid-'80s comics controversy, a ratings debacle, creator's rights, and various other subjects. Be aware that some links may be a little NSFW, so click carefully. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, and twelve.

The history of comics is incredibly interesting, from the earliest trials of Eisner, Kirby, Siegel, and Shuster, to Jim Shooter writing comics for DC Comics at fourteen years old, to the indie explosions in the '80s and '90s. Bissette's posts are one of the most interesting glimpses into the recent history of comics, and a record of actions that are still felt, and sometimes repeated, today.

Is San Diego Too Big? San Diego Comic-Con is officially sold out, according to Kevin Melrose at Robot 6. David Glanzer speaks on the sell out with CBR and sheds some light on some of the difficulties Comic-Con International faces when organizing the biggest cons in the country. Dedicated con-goers face a few obstacles when preparing for SDCC, too. The con has a maximum capacity of around 125,000 people. The local hotels have an even smaller capacity, resulting in a frustrating rush to register hotel rooms that Heidi MacDonald has termed Hoteloween. If you want a hotel room, you've got to wake up early (or sneak some personal time in at the job) and hope you can score one of the 16,000 rooms in town.

Is SDCC too big? The con is still several months away, and while Comic-Con International keeps a few day passes behind for walk-ins and online sales, things look pretty grim. Attending the con requires some serious preparation. Purchasing four-day tickets means shopping four months after the con ends, hotel reservations need to be done four months ahead… that's a big commitment. Getting engaged is easier, it seems like. SDCC is a big con, and by far the most popular, but maybe it's time to break things up a little. Reed has several successful cons going, hopefully including the upcoming C2E2. Maybe the comics companies and Hollywood should break things up a little? Have a lot of medium sized explosions rather than one huge one and then a lot of small ones?

Wondercon Quick Hits I attended Wondercon this weekend with Ron and Conor. While the con wasn't as news heavy as San Diego or New York Comic-con, there were still a few stellar kernels that broke. Paul already covered the Image announcements and the long-awaited return of All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder next year as Dark Knight: Boy Wonder, while Josh posted the news of IDW's upcoming True Blood comic. Greg Rucka parting ways with DC, and therefore his gig writing the adventures of Batwoman, was quite possibly the biggest bombshell dropped at the con, but it leading to more Queen & Country and Stumptown pretty much instantly healed the wound of no more Kate Kane. I recorded the Greg Rucka panel, and you can hear that here if you like. There are several unreported anecodotes in there.


  1. Ohhh the  CBLDF stuff will make for some bed time reading tonight.

  2. As someone who doesn’t generally read any other comics related websites, this should prove to be a very useful new feature.

    I’m not sure why I’m excited about Dark Knight: Boy Wonder. 

  3. Apple’s official sales numbers are 300k sold as of midnight Saturday. The 700k number was completely wrong. That analyst has a history of over-estimating sales numbers.

  4. That Rucka panel was the highlight of WonderCon for me.  As an aspiring writer, I felt like a learned so much just listening to him speak about his approach to writing specific characters (and the approaches of other writers, mainly related to Wonder Woman).  Anyways, he seems like an awesome guy and while it was a little sad that there were only 30 people ir so in that panel, I’m definitely glad I chose that over the Kevin Smith one!

  5. Hey, I like this news round-up idea.  It’s easier than searching the archives for everything I missed.

  6. Cool new column. Very gossipy.

  7. Is David Brothers Josh’s replacement? 😉

  8. Hmmm. Those Bissette articles are fascinating, but something about the layout of the posts just makes them very tedious to read…

  9. Yeah, I join Cnet’s Molly Wood in calling bullshit on the 700K number. The "Analyst", which is a code word for "monkey who pulls numbers out of his/her ass to make headlines" has a long and glorious track record of overestimation.

  10. Also, geoff johns said a little something about a justice league movie……

  11. Thanks for the round up! I look forward to your future writings here on!

  12. Oh wow, yeah, the 700k article is totally gone now, even. My bad on that front, but still– 300k? That’s still a pretty good run. I’m interested in seeing the first week sales, too.

     @Gabe He said a very little something– "Wait til San Diego" 🙂

  13. I really like this article. I often times find my self wanting more comicbook info than just Ifanboy can give me. However, given Ifanboys relatively user friendly interface I find myself bewildered when going to other sites and seeing that they don’t have something similar. The article and hopefully more like it will help me see more of the comic book world. I feel old writing this and I am only 21. Lol.

  14. San Diego just sounds like it’s gotten a little bit too ridiculous for my tastes.  I was hoping to get out there next year, but I think, instead, I’ll hit New York, Emerald City, Heroes Con, or WonderCon instead.

  15. Chaykin’s Black Kiss!  For those of you who weren’t around when this was released, it was quite controversial.  Imagine Criminal with shemales.  Great book and a part of comic history.

  16. Oh damn, I remember Chaykin’s Black Kiss when they were first released on the racks. They came sealed in black plastic bags. I always wanted to read this and completely forgot about it. Gonna have to check out that trade. I really digged Chaykin’s 80’s-era art. These days it’s too damn stylized and too wacky to take seriously.

    Thanks for the Stephen Bissette articles. Really like this round-up column. Hope it’s a regular feature.

  17. @ultimatehoratio: It sounds very cool.  I was 5 when it came out orginally so I was a little young.

  18. @david brothers

    you are missing part one of the Bissette posts. the current one you have marked as one is actually the prologue. here is the link for part one: