Friday, March 27, 2009

Comics Stuff that gives me hope

-The first volume of DRAMACON creator Svetlana Chmakova's NIGHTSCHOOL is being released by Yen Press in April. She and I did a couple readings together a year or three back, and she had a lasting impression on me as being just a really, legitimately nice person. To the best of my knowledge, she's also the only person on earth to have a copy of PARTING WAYS signed by both the artists and the writer, which I think is really neat, though I can't really articulate why.

-The Future of Comics (I) Fiona Staples' new WildStorm series, NORTH 40, written by PS238's Aaron Williams, was recently announced as part of the imprint's new "creator-driven" comics line. And, if I'm not mistaken, her first Wildstorm work, SECRET HISTORY OF THE AUTHORITY, written by Michael Costa, is on sale...actually, now, I think*. You should all rush out and buy three copies immediately: one to read, one to give other people to read, and one to save as a collectible that will someday pay your childrens' college tuition.

OK. maybe you should only buy two copies.

-Boom! Studios has struck a deal to get their Muppets and Disney comics on the newsstands. If they're put on a level where kids can actually see/reach them (unlike, say, the Archie digests in Safeway checkout stations), this is fantastic news for Boom! and quite possibly the wider North American comics industry as well, helping hook a new generation of comics readers at a young age. Mind you, that presumes the Muppets are still recognizable to younger readers as the slice of awesome they are (or at least once were--haven't watched any new Muppets stuff in years...), but at least The Incredibles should be able to find traction, both with kids and parents who'll be able to recognize a "safe" property for kids to read.

-After the commercial success of 52 and the less successful COUNTDOWN and TRINITY series, DC's trying something different with its upcoming weekly series, WEDNESDAY COMICS. Even if it didn't have a pretty good-looking creative roster, I'd be seriously tempted to buy it for its oversized newspaper "unfold it to read" format. While the content's obviously going to be a big deal in making or breaking the thing, I'm in love with the idea of this thing. Nice to see a major comic company breaking away from the floppy/hardcover/trade format, giving creators a different kind of canvas to work on and readers a new (or at least uncommon) comic-reading experience.

-In addition to WEDNESDAY COMICS, DC's also bringing backup stories into some of its titles as value-added material to go along with a price rise. Steven Grant did a fantastic job explaining why the backup story thing is a great idea on almost all fronts, as well as why it probably won't work, in this week's Permanent Damage column.

Even if it doesn't work, between a creator-driven line, WC and the backups, these are looking like non-curse interesting times for DC creators at least. If there's an element of "let's throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" to it, well, at least they are trying to find new stuff to stick. Hopefully some of it will and the perception of what mainstream comics can be expands a little.


(*I checked, and yes it is on sale now.)