Archive for the ‘comics general’ Category
I don’t remember the year this story starts. 2006, maybe? Whatever the date, this is how I remember it:
I had to miss Heroes Con for some reason. It was probably baby-related. Fraction came home with a copy of 30 DAYS OF NIGHT: EBEN & STELLA #1 that a man named Kenneth had given him and asked me to sign for his daughter. Her name was Autumn.
I thought it was a funny choice — E&S is a pretty gory comic, not really intended for kids, but Fraction explained that she was a gothy preteen with an interest in manga and a notion that she might like to work in comics one day. Her dad was trying to encourage her in that direction. I loved that. I signed the book and sent it off.
The next year at Heroes, baby Henry in tow, I got to meet Autumn and her dad. She and I chatted and as a former gothy-teen myself, I liked her immediately. We exchanged email addresses and corresponded on and off for the next few years. Autumn wasn’t a big letter-writer, but she sent me the occasional character design or thought on a story idea and every year at Heroes she and her dad (and her mom, once or twice) would come by our table and hang out for a bit. (Her dad eventually got published–as both a comic writer and a short story writer too!)
Autumn’s graduated from high school now and I think her interest in comics has waned as sometimes these things do (I put them down for a while at her age too). I still hear from her occasionally on Facebook, but she’s changed her name to Georgie and she’s moved on to different interests for the most part. She seems happy, so I am happy for her.
Still this year at Heroes I kept an eye out for a sassy redhead with raccoon eyeliner and striped arm warmers–a girl I knew wasn’t coming because she only existed in the past. The real Autumn is a grown up now and at that age where a road trip with dad is a hard thing to prioritize. It’s all right and good, but it still breaks my heart a little because even at the age of 42, I want everyone to accept and embrace my evolution, but the evolution of others is a thing that stubbornly defies my understanding.
Don’t you feel sorry for my children?
Where were we? Ah yes. This year at Heroes.
So while I was scanning the crowds for my ghost of teenagers past, a tiny little elfin child slipped in under my view. She was dressed as Fiona from ADVENTURE TIME and she had her father in tow. She leaned in over our table and announced in a voice awfully big for such a small child, “I LIKE TO DRAW NINJAS!”
Well. What would you do? I asked her name. ”Winter,” her father volunteered.
Sometimes, the universe is not subtle.
Next, Winter declared that she and I should make a book together. That I would write and she would draw and it would be about NINJAS. And also zombies. And cheerleaders.
Now… I am a very busy lady right now. I have 3 monthly ongoings, am still wrapping up a graphic novel, I’ve got a creator-owned book slated to start soon, plus a family and oh, we just moved and at some point, I have to get my clothes out of boxes.
But… come on.
“Yes!” I told Winter. “This is a thing we must do.”
Over the next couple of days, Winter’s daddy, Neil, and I conferred on how to make this happen in a way that wouldn’t add any additional stress to my schedule and we settled on this:
- I asked Winter to make me a list of 10 things she wants to draw. I got this reply:
The main story idea from Winter is that of a Ninja Princess and her
Cheerleader Friends joining forces with vampire ninjas to fight zombie
ninjas from invading her kingdom.
The princess also has a superhero friend named Rock, a female rock
star with pink and blonde hair who uses guitars, drum kits, flutes,
clarinets and an amp in battle.
Her other favorite things to draw include:
Kittens especially ninja kittens
Good & Evil witches
- Over the next 10 months as we lead up to Heroes Con, I will occasionally tweet a panel description with the hashtag #winterstale. I will endeavor to work in Winter’s 10 favorite things to draw, and thus, 1 panel at a time, we will put together our Ninja Princess Zombie Rockstar mini-comic, which we will then run off punkzine style and sell at Heroes, with all proceeds going to Winter’s college fund.
- BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE.
- Winter and I would like to invite you to play along.
- If you or your children (Ages 1-100) would also like to draw our Winter’s Tale, all you need is a Twitter account. Respond to any #winterstale panel description with a twitpic or a link to your drawing and we’ll repost them to WintersTales.tumblr.com.
- If all goes well, you can make your own Ninja Princess Zombie Rockstar minicomics and we’ll swap at the end of this.
Okay, now go tell your friends and organize your art supplies. The first panel description goes up in a week.
EDITED TO ADD A COUPLE OF THINGS:
- I tweet from @kellysue.com
- If you want to play, but don’t want to join Twitter, don’t sweat it. I’ll cross post panel descriptions here and on our Tumblr page. (NOTE: The page address is WintersTales.tumblr.com — taleS, plural — the singular was taken.) Get me a link to your art and I’ll put it up. No big deal. Just help me out by using the tag #winterstale wherever you can, okay?
- All right. I’ve got a bunch of work to do today and a big meeting tomorrow, so this is all you’ll likely hear on the subject until next week.
- Should should probably start practicing drawing ninja princesses now.
I wanted that to be simple. Sad face.
Captain Marvel Costume by Jamie McKelvie
It was announced over the weekend at WonderCon that Dexter Soy and I will be doing a Captain Marvel book starring Carol Danvers, starting in July of this year–my birthday week, as it happens. Happy birthday to me!
I’ve got interview links to share galore:
And I want to take a moment to clarify something I said in the Newsarama interview that’s taken on a life of its own. Here’s the bit:
The problem isn’t just that we have to get folks to buy it; it’s that we have to get retailers to order it. The failing of our distribution model is that our customer isn’t really the reader, our customer is whoever places the Diamond order at any store. So if there’s a perception that the book won’t sell, it gets under-ordered and it becomes this self-fulfilling prophecy.
Here’s a thing that happens to every creator on Twitter on one Wednesday or another: an incredibly sweet reader who really wants to support you, writes to tell you that they tried to buy your book at their LCS and it was already sold out! It’s only noon, they say! The shop only opened at 10! Your book must’ve flown off the shelves!
And then the creator, not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings, says, “Wow! Thanks for your support — better pre-order the next one!” and then they cry into their coffee. Because, friends, selling out by noon on a Wednesday is not good news. Heck, selling out by Thursday is not good news. That means your book was under-ordered — if it was ordered at all. If the consumer wants the product and we can’t get them the product, our system is broken.
I hate the pre-order thing. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Ten years ago, I was complaining about it on the [Warren Ellis Forum] — I’m a shopper. I looooove to shop. I will spend money. But I am not going to buy a pair of shoes that I’m expected to order three months in advance and am not able to try on! And that’s what we’re asking of our readers. It’s the dumbest system. No wonder we have problems! Is there another industry that works like this?
That is absolutely and in no uncertain terms not meant to vilify the retailer. They retailer is as much a victim of this system as anyone — they’re working with surprisingly slim profit margins and unlike their brethren at Barnes & Noble, their products are not returnable. Which means, whatever they order, they have to be able to sell through–or they’re stuck with it. They’ve got limited shelf space and literally hundreds of titles choose from every month. I do no envy them their position. The system makes it very difficult for the retailer to take risks…
Which is where pre-ordering comes into play. If you register your interest in a title–your commitment even, if you do it in the form of a pull–with your retailer, then they know that they’ve got a guaranteed sale there. And the more pre-orders they have for a title, the more likely they are to order a couple extra for the shelf, because they can have a reasonable confidence that the book will have some buzz. The better the orders, the better the forecast, and the more likely the publisher is to keep putting out the resources to keep producing the book. Remember, they’re working with limited resources too–I know, I know–but think in terms of time, not money. There are only so many editors in an office, they can only spread their attention so thin. The number of books that can be produced by any one office is limited and the ones that will win out are the ones that are expected to bring in the highest profits. Feels crass, I know, but at every stop on along the way, this is a business.
Without pre-orders, the retailer has to intuit how many copies of the book they’re going to be able sell based on their experience with similar titles in the past. With Captain Marvel, we’re asking them to work out an algorithm based on what?
- The previous Ms. Marvel title, which made it to 50 issue in an entirely different economic market and hasn’t been on the shelves in years;
- Two decidedly midlist creators. Let’s do ourselves the honor of speaking frankly, shall we? I am very proud of my work. I have been a working professional in the industry for a decade and published by the “Big Two” for three years. But. Dex and I are hardly Bendis and Bagley.
- The sales of other female-led superhero titles… Right.
So. I don’t mean to sound dramatic. Really, no one’s life depends on this, does it? I worked in a surgery clinic for a while–that was life and death. This? It’s not a career-killer. This is just a bummer. And the bummer is that we’re swimming upstream here. Without preorders, retailers are going to quite naturally make modest assumptions about our prospects.
Does that all make sense? There are no bad guys here. We’re all stuck in the same machine.
All that said, I don’t have a better idea! I’d advocate revolution if I had ANY idea how to do it better. I do not. I leave that to wiser folks. In the meantime, with apologies in place, I ask you –
If you favor an underdog–and if you read superheroes, I’m betting you do–and if you think you might be willing to take a $3 or $4 (I confess, I have no idea what price point we’ll be at) gamble on Carol, Dex and I, please let your retailer know by preordering.
When I get back home and I have a chance to breathe, Chris Sebela is going to help me put together a little pre-order form that you can print off this site and take to your local comics shop. We’ll endeavor to thank you for your support by making this as easy as possible.
Of course I’m not the first person to beat this drum. I never said I was. I’m frankly surprised that bit of that interview has gotten all the traction it has. Warren Ellis started making pre-order coupons for his books and advocating the practice easily ten years ago. I humbly recall that I got pissy about it back then. (Sorry, Papa.)
Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this. Thank you for the insane and unexpected amount of support Carol, Dex, me and Jamie have gotten from you over the past two days. I am… astonished, frankly. You’re challenging my pessimism–which is a very Danvers thing for you to do.
And if our book is not for you? That’s okay. You’re not dooming our comics, our gender, the future of comics, or comics by or about women. Taste is subjective and we can still be friends. (You know, though, if you’ve never pre-ordered a comic before, you might take this opportunity to try it–it doesn’t have to be Captain Marvel. You can take support something else–how about an indie or creator-owned book that might not be stocked by your shop at all with out a preorder?)
And, lastly, in whatever form it may take, I thank you for your passion for comics. Without that, we would have nothing.
Follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook. Join the conversation on my Jinxworld Forum.
Hey, Eagle Award Nominations are open! Can I make a few suggestions?
Favourite Letterer: Dustin Harbin
He HAND LETTERS Casanova, y’all. Like BY HAND. And it looks INCREDIBLE.
Favourite Editor: Alejandro A. Arbona or Steve Wacker
Alejandro is my guy. We’ve worked together on SIF, RESCUE and OSBORN and every time he makes me stronger. He also has a way of calming me down when I’m freaking out for which I am eternally grateful. And Wacker? Wacker’s quietly changing the industry. Later you’ll see I called it. (Okay, Jen Van Meter called it. I quoted it.)
Favourite American Comicbook: Colour: Casanova
DUH. (Also it’s misspelled on the dropdown menu as CASSANOVA. I added the proper spelling and hopefully they’ll combine the nominations.)
Favourite 2010 Single Story: “Count 5 or 6,” CBGB #4
Yes. I am suggesting you nominate a story by Chuck BB and myself. Sue me. I’m proud of it. Also? It was already in the drop down menu when I cast my vote so someone else liked it enough to nominate it first and I’m flattered by that.
That said, it does stand the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell and I’m not even sure it’s appropriate to the category as it didn’t look like there were many other short stories listed, but what the hell. You might consider it.
Favourite Comics-Related Movie or TV Show: RED
It was so much fun! And so not embarrassing or demeaning! That’s right. You heard me.
Favourite Comics-Related Website: Comic Alliance or The Comics Reporter
Tom and Laura continue to impress me. I’d be delighted to see either of them take this.
Roll of Honour: Howard Chaykin or George Perez
ALL of my friends deserve awards and kudos for their continued hard work, but these are the ones I feel really strongly about and/or I fear might not be the most obvious choices.
Just my opinion, of course, but there you go.
You can hand your old comics out at Halloween (which, unless you have a huge collection of Scrooge McDuck’s, I do not recommend), donate them to your local library, put them in the recycling bin, leave them at a barber shop or use them for kindling (we’ve done that and honestly, for a few of those comics it was no better than they deserved). One of the most satisfying options, however, is to send them off to American troops fighting overseas.
Andy Khouri and Mark Sable asked me on Twitter yesterday to remind them how you go about doing that. Good news: it’s pretty easy. You’re going to be out the price of postage, but it’s worth it.
Here’s how it works:
- Go to anysoldier.com.
- Click on WHERE TO SEND.
- Click on ANY SOLDIER SEARCH TOOL.
- Leaving everything else blank, put either COMICS or COMIC BOOKS into the REQUESTS AND EMAIL CONTENTS field. (As I write this, COMICS returns 8 units requesting comics–7 Army, 1 Air Force; 5 in Iraq, 1 in Qatar, 1 in Afghanistan and 1 in the Philippines.)
- Click on one of the soldiers names and read their email, making sure what they want is actually what you’ve got. Often they’re specific — they want funny comics, or newspaper comics, or Marvel comics, or they may even request a particular hero.
- Once you find someone who either wants what you’ve got or is just generally requesting comics, click where it says CLICK HERE TO REQUEST THE COMPLETE ADDRESS.
Now, it’s been a while since I’ve done this and I can’t proceed any further right now because I don’t actually have any comics to send, but if I recall correctly, you fill out a short form and then you’re emailed the soldier’s address. I believe you can request up to 2 addresses per day. (While you’re at it, you might look at what else your soldier is requesting–sometimes it’s something as simple as cotton swabs. Surely you can throw a package of q-tips in the box.)
The postage fees you pay to an APO or FPO address are NOT international shipping rates. You pay domestic rates, so while you are picking up a bill, it’s pretty small considering the effect. And it’s worth mentioning that our local UPS store in KC used to pack up any donations for troops overseas for free. They’ve since changed ownership and we’ve since moved, so I have no idea if that’s common practice or not, but it’s certainly worth asking.
Jeffery Klaehn has a blog, wherein he has posted excerpts of interviews with a number of comics folks, including Fraction and me. I can’t remember how long ago we did this interview, but I sound horribly pretentious. (I totally name-dropped Neil Gaiman, btw. As in, “Neil Gaiman once told me…” You can go ahead and shoot me int he head right now.) (Not that I don’t adore Gaiman — I do, absolutely. But really. That was just tacky.)
Fraction comes off far better and, as always, his interview is worth your time. I’m thinking in particular of social fiction and science fiction as illustrated by Warren Ellis’ HELLBLAZER piece “Shoot” and TRANSMETROPOLITAN #40.
(It’s a little beside the point, but if I haven’t said so recently, I’ll say so now: I remain in awe of Ellis’ talent.)
Anyway, the blog is here:
From my contribution to the Blog@Newsarama series I [HEART] Comics:
I drifted away from what I loved and got all frothy about the industry and its trends. The comics industry is not comics. You’re smarter than I am (and, let’s face it, prettier too) so you know this already and you don’t need to be reminded, but for me this is kind of an AH HA moment, one for which I probably need to thank Michael May. This is a big idea for a mind like mine that can get fat and comfy jogging back and forth on the same old neuropathways, even when the very nature of back and forth means zero progress is being made.
The comics industry is not comics.
More in link.
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(That’s me on the far left!) I didn’t think to jot down notes for my lame-o con report until, oh, the last day or so. As such, this is going to be frightfully incomplete. If we had a meaningful encounter and I’ve forgotten to jot it down here, it’s because a) I’m an idiot and/or b) I’m greedy and I don’t want to share your love with the masses. I assure you, it’s not a lack of interest.Okay, in no particular order:
- It was so great to see Ed Brubaker and Mel Tomlin. I wish the money truck would come to our house so we could move in next door to them in Seattle. Alas, I’m not holding my breath. (Mel has a real gift for, well, gifts. She bought Henry the only sunglasses he’ll tolerate and a puppet book that he just loves.)
- Speaking of couples I wish we lived closer to: Eric Searleman and Beth Kawasaki. Love.
- Totally had dinner with Zoe Bell! She’s hilarious and awesome. (Thanks for including me, Ed and Mel!) There was another gentleman there, from Sony, I think, who was a delightful conversationalist. He went out of his way to make me feel welcome, which I appreciated. So much so that I forgot his name. Wah wah. Anyway, thank you kind stranger.
- We chatted with Tim Callahan and his brother a bit at the Marvel booth. Tim’s a really bright guy; if you haven’t checked out his blog, I recommend it.
- I am was waaaay too old for the IDW/Circle of Confusion party! It was, like, a gabillion people and loud music and I am a dinosaur who does not get the point of loud music when no one is dancing. However, in the four seconds that I actually stayed I got to chat with THEREMINA (At long last!!), Wil Wheaton, Warren Simons, Joanne Starer, CB Cebulski, Andy Schmidt, Dan Curtis Johnson, Ben Templesmith… and I don’t even remember who all else. The place was PACKED and there was a line down the block to get in, so I’d call the party a wild success even though it wasn’t my bag. (Imagine that!)
- All my colleagues on the Comic Book Tattoo were delightful company. Special thanks and shout outs to Rantz, Ted McKeever, Jeremy Haun, my most beloved Andy MacDonald, E. Bess (Oh, and hey! I met Leland Purvis at long last!) Dean Trippe, Lea Hernandez and Kako.
- At the Eisners, we checked in with some of our favorite people: Ivan Brandon (who looked totally great, modern and stylish… until he put on the JEANS JACKET. Dude. It was a nice jeans jacket, but COME ON), Kristyn Ferretti (Yowza), Jeff Parker, Joe Casey, the Twins, Ed and Mel. Mel and I both rocked the fake hair. Tom Spurgeon looked fantastic, like he’d walked right out of Gatsby, in a beautifully put-together linen ensemble. Heidi MacDonald sported the most impressive shoes of the evening. The awards were a bit long, but shoot — Fraction was nominated so I’d have happily sat through a reading of War & Peace. I’ll do it again, too. [Ivan wrote me to insist that he didn't put the jacket on until AFTER the ceremony, so that's entirely different. Mm hm. Ivan, you have no idea how satisfying it is to tug on your pigtails.]
- Had my yearly catch up with Joey Cavalieri at the Hyatt on Saturday night. He declared my blouse very 80s and meant it in a good way. We also discussed the merits of the various wedding dresses that wandered by and our crushes on the Immonens.
- SOY GELATO! at Mondo Gelato with Kit Fox! Awesome.
- If I try to talk about how great Terry and Susan were, I’ll cry. They took such great care of all of us. And Terry made me a HUNGRY FOR CHANGE button with a cupcake on it!
- I bought presents for me and Miss April from JustJenn, a fellow cupcake enthusiast.
- Saw colorist extraordinaire and my Twitter pal Trish Mulvihill at the Hyatt and it had been so long since I’d seen her that I didn’t recognize her. Dur. As we were walking away I asked Fraction who was the woman with the gorgeous mane. “That was Trish!” I was too embarrassed to go back and say hello again properly so I make my confession here.
- Han! Oh, Han! How I adore Han! Han and Megan (who is similarly adored) came back to the condo to see Henry. *Sweethearts*. I ran into Jill briefly but somehow never saw Dan or Chu. WTF?!
- Sam “Kubark” Humphries still has the best hair in comics, California and possibly the world.
- Sam, what was the name of your friend – the gentleman who gave me the polaroid? He used to be a nanny…? He was charming. [Mystery solved: Lou O’Bedlam!)
- Met Kevin Church for about 2 seconds at long last. Hi, Kevin!
- Saw Aman and Scott too! How is it I’ve never made it to Aman’s Big Gay Dinner? Am I retarded? (Rhetorical question.)
- Saw Bryan O’Malley and Hope Larsen in passing. I like them. In addition to being crazy-talented, there’s something really… warm… about them. Does that make sense? Sincere, unadorned, no-bullshit. Hope, in particular, exudes good taste, too. I bet I’d be stupid jealous of their home.
- Speaking of Canadians with good taste: Chris! Butcher!
- Okay, that’s enough for now. I need to go get my car inspected. I’ll correct name spellings and add links later.
- EDITED TO ADD: Dinner at Morton’s with Rick Alexander! And guests Gloria (Eep! Her last name escapes me.), Nick Barrucci, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (who, very mysteriously, stopped me later and told me my husband was a Very. Bad. Man. Something to do with some text messages…?) and Ivan Brandon. Hello, yum?!
- EDITED TO ADD: Right next to JustJenn, we met a couple of guys from Kansas City! I promised to put them on the email list the next time the whole KC Comics crew gets together. Well, I hope they read this because my stack of postcards and business cards doesn’t seem to have made it home with me. (Fraction, did you pack them…?) Guys, if you do see this, drop me a Twitter DM or leave a comment here.
- EDITED TO ADD: Finally met Kevin McShane! I met Kevin on Flickr, but as it turns out three of his friends also friends of mine — all from different circles. He knows Dave Holmes, who I used to perform with in NY; Irene White, who I went to college with; and Opus Moreschi, who I met in Las Vegas and met through an old music posting board. Weeeeird. Opus was also at SDCC apparently, but our paths never crossed, alas.