Saturday, February 07, 2004

Same Old Story…

…same old song and dance. Another small press book bit the dust this week, and it, like most, will be mostly unnoticed, much like it was while it was being published.

I started reading SHADES OF BLUE back when I worked for ComicBook Galaxy. They were self-publishing through AMP Comics at that time, and a review package showed up in my mail slot out of the, well, blue. The book was a charming little ditty, a real rarity; it focused on a young girl with super powers, and it wasn’t in color. It featured some sharp dialogue, and the wonderful art of an unknown named Cal Slayton, whom I predicted big things for. The first series lasted nine issues, and then it moved to Digital Webbing, where it has run another five. Unfortunately, issue five is a screeching halt ending.

There’s a sad, but understandable from writer and publisher Jim Harris that opens the book, as he explains that financially the book cannot continue. Even in black and white, apparently they’re losing money every issue. That’s just fucking wrong. Here you had a wonderful all-ages book with a strong young girl appeal and it never found a large enough audience or niche. Harris discusses the idea that not having color killed some of their chances, but considering the cost of printing in color, you can hardly blame him.

I think the real shite of it all is that Jim won’t get to finish telling his story. It was obvious that the underlying meta-plot of the book was getting stronger play, and that answers the longtime readers were curious for were right around the corner. You could feel the creative team’s excitement growing with each issue, even as they were watching sales fall into the toilet. And this is not a localized phenomenon. How many books over the past decade have disappeared like this? Where are Martin Wagner and B.C. Boyer, for instance?

As we draw near to seeing Dave Sim finish one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of the medium, I think it would behoove us to step back and think about those whose dreams were perhaps not as lofty, but just as legitimate. To them, I offer my condolences, and the thought that I appreciate that they tried. And I hope that someday, somehow, those stories find their way into the world of the waking. Lucien’s library is already too full.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Comics news pundits were appalled at the shocking events of the latest Marvel news conference, which climaxed in Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada's right breast being accidentally revealed when President Dan Buckley accidentally leaned over the large editor and undid his shirt. Accidentally.

Discussing the new Daredevil mini-series, Father, Quesada was in the middle of detailing his new take on the character when Buckley interrupted by telling him that he would, according to onlookers, "get [Quesada] naked by the end of this conference". When Quesada continued unabashed, Buckley then apparently reached over and unbuttoned Quesada's shirt revealing a ninja star, much like one that Daredevil-villain Bullseye would use, pierced through his nipple.

Matt Brady, of popular internet comics newsarama Newsarama, commented that at that point, when the room went silent, all eyes fixed on Quesada clutching his chest and Buckley just looking kind of odd and frowning, it was all he could do to stop himself from muttering, "This never would have happened if Mike [Doran] was still working at the company."

All parties involved have since issued statements that this was in no way a publicity ploy to try and re-establish Marvel as the shocking comic company where anything can happen despite the company's recent devolution into rehashes of old comics by creators who were popular ten years ago. Nonetheless, this may be the most shocking comics moment since Mark Millar and Chris Claremont french-kissed in front of an audience of stunned fans at last year's SDCC.