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Matchett’s Musings: Working For GrayHaven Part II

Hey everyone!  Sorry about the delay, had some personal issues both comic and non-comic to deal with.  I’m back and will be posting from my regular Thursday (ish) from next week.  

Working At GrayHaven Part 2:  Bigger and Better (Part 1)

Welcome back to my memories of the stories I published with GrayHaven during my tenure with them both as writer and editor.  Last time we spoke about some of the early volumes I was involved with and some of the early lessons I learned as a creator and some lessons the company learned too.

Once again this only deals with volumes I was involved with as a writer and is from my own perspective.  Other versions of events may vary, I can only tell you what happened from my perspective.

I won’t waste much time and take you right to where we left off last time with Vol. 7, which I actually wasn’t in…but I was meant to be.

Note:  This section is a lot larger than I anticipated so I have decided to split in half.

Hope you enjoy!

Vol. 7:  Dreams and Nightmares

I don’t really remember much of the submission criteria for this volume but I do remember the story I put forward.   The entire volume was themed with ‘Myth’, which again was a genre I hadn’t played in much and was eager to explore.  I remember really taking a long time coming up with the story that became ‘Until The End’.

The story featured two wizards named Garth and Rex (short for Rexmus) who represented the light and dark side of magic respectfully.  Starting off in modern times the six page story told a tale of them essentially fighting each other since medieval times.  It was a story I was really looking forward to seeing published and I was paired with a new artist to GrayHaven.  I don’t remember this artist’s full name now but I believe his first name was Robert, who upon initial communication was very eager to bring my warring wizard’s to life.

After the initial communication though, he stopped answering e-mails from me and the editor on the book.  He vanished from the face of the earth and by the time we realized he wasn’t going to draw the story, it was too late to find a replacement.  This was my first experience with an artist who had let me down and flash forwarding to today it is something I have come across far too often.

There was nothing that could be done.  There was some talk of turning the story into a webcomic but that never really came to fruition.  The story likely needs a lot of polishing from what I’ve learned in subsequent years (this story was written in 2011 and I would say I’ve grown quite significantly as a writer) but I would still like to see it come to life at some point.

It is true what they say, there is no such thing as a wasted idea and some of this story may even appear as apart of something else entirely down the road, who knows.

My disappointed was short lived however as I was about to begin my most prolific period as a writer for GrayHaven.  The company as a whole was getting bigger and better and it seemed that I was going to face the challenge to do the same creatively

Vol. 9:  Once Upon A Time

Like I’ve said many times before, growing up my biggest influences to me for the rest of my life were likely ‘Batman The Animated Series’ and a complete collection of Arthur Conan Doyle ‘Sherlock Holmes’ stories.  I can likely link everything I have liked or been passionate about back to those two things in some fashion.  Another big influence growing up that I don’t talk about very often is the steady diet of Disney movies I enjoyed in my youth…and even until today.

I’m a big fan of animated films and it all started with Disney films like ‘Aladdin’, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Lion King’.  I was really eager to participate in a volume based around Fairy Tales such as Vol. 9 of the Gathering was.  The only stipulation this time was that all stories had to have some moral undertone or ‘lesson’ for readers, just like all good fairy tales do.

I quickly came up with a story where the moral would be ‘always listen to your elders’ and would feature a cast of talking dragons.  I found it hard at the time to think of many fairy tales to feature dragons as protagonists and thought it would be something a really talented artist could sink their teeth into.  Essentially the story revolves around an older dragon telling a younger generation about a volcano where the most dangerous dragon of them all resides.  The young dragons are told to stay away but of course, one of them decides to check out the legend for himself and comes across the dangerous creature first hand.

Upon reflection it’s a pretty simple, straightforward story that really benefits from the art of Paula Cob who I worked with on this story and a few subsequent others.  Paula is a very talented artist whose work I adored when I first saw it in ‘Vol. 3: Heroes’.  She had worked primarily to date with a writer who also happened to be her husband in Ignacio Segura but I was eager to see if she would lend her manga style art to my little fairy tale.

Fortunately for me, she said yes and I’ve had the pleasure of working with Paula on a number of occasions.  I’m still a big fan of her work and find it sad that she doesn’t participate in GrayHaven stories as much as she used to due to her and Ignacio working on a personal project.  Her art style gave my story the scale it needed and I think added a lot to my fairly straightforward tale of doing what you’re told.

I also edited the book but don’t have many memories of it.  This likely means it all ran fairly smoothly which is always something to be celebrated.

Vol. 10:  The Unbelievable Arthur Richmond Is One Smart Cookie

Previously known as ‘the adventure’ volume I believe Vol. 10 is something that to this day sends editor James O’Callaghan into traumatic flashbacks.

A little background about Vol. 10, which began like any other Gathering volume and had people submit stories with a different take on the ‘adventure’ theme.  The trouble was that the amounts of submissions were low so it was decided that the interested parties would take their individual stories and combine them.

The new main story would feature a character called ‘Arthur Richmond’ who would serve as our Indiana Jones style protagonist.  It was up to our editor to figure out how all our individual stories would figure into a larger hole.  For that task, I cannot give but the highest praise to James who took several different stories (including one that had talking birds) and somehow made it work.  I would say he made it work more than any of the rest of us on the editorial staff would have in any case.

My section basically served at the books epilogue where we would discover that the entire tale was one told by an aged Arthur to a pair of young men in an adventurers club.  Of course they don’t believe his story of talking birds and magical cookies (you had to be there) so Arthur goes home, clearly dejected.  The closing scene has him go down in his home to a sizable trophy room, where indeed we discover his stories were all true.

It wasn’t conventional but it somehow did work.  I was proud to be a part of it and thought my epilogue gave it a suitable note to end on.  On this story I was fortunate to work with artist Sam Tung, who was an early GrayHaven fan favorite.   He only worked on a handful of GrayHaven projects before going on to do some production work for Iron Man 3 and GI Joe 2.  Apart from my misfortune regarding my Vol. 7 story, my extremely good fortune with artists seemed to continue.

Volume 11: Silver Age

This volume was a big passion project for GrayHaven publisher, Andrew Goletz.  He wanted to do a volume that would harken back to the classic ‘silver age’ of comics where Marvel where just coming into the eye of the public and comic took themselves a little less seriously.

I was initially tempted to bring back my inept hero from Vol. 3 ‘Commander Cosmo’ when submitting for this volume but it wasn’t an idea Andrew was in favour of.  He wanted to avoid stories that connected to each other as he did not want customers to feel pressured into buying several volumes in order to get a complete story.

Understanding and agreeing with his logic, I decided to do a story revolving around time travel.  I love time travel as a storytelling device and if you meet me for more than five minutes, I would say you’ll soon learn that.  I also decided that I would have a female protagonist as that was something I had yet to do in any of my stories to date.  Regular readers of these articles will know that I feel very passionate about the portrayal of female characters and having more of them in comics, so with that in mind I created Lucy Letwood.

Having stole a time band that her father invented, Lucy was a young woman who finally found herself LOST IN TIME!!!!  I basically wrote this story with a big stupid grin on my face and tried to have as many silver age callbacks as I could cram in.  I was especially proud of having the classic Stan Lee moment where a character would point out that something was crashing through a wall even though we could clearly see it.

It was drawn by an artist named George Amaru who has become something of a GrayHaven staple and is one of my favorite artists to work with.  Not only is George a really nice guy but he is extremely talented.  He gave the story the exact tone it needed and made my silver age multi panel pages work flawlessly.  I’ve worked with George a couple of times since, even tasking him with a Living With Death short ‘The Reporter’ which I released on the comics Facebook fanpage a number of months ago.  I’ve been wanting to work with George on something long term for years but at that time, it wasn’t possible.  These days he is a very busy guy working for GrayHaven, Bluewater and Inverse press on a variety of projects.  When his schedule clears up, I hope to work with George on something long term.

I brought Lucy back in a future volume and would love to tell more of her story at some point.  It was really with this story that I started to get more attached to the characters I was creating.  I didn’t just want them to be there and then gone forever, I saw life in them beyond the stories.

This was when I really wanted to creating larger stories starring some of the Gathering featured characters.  I knew that would have its own problems however.

Next:  More characters I didn’t want to say goodbye to, ghosts that aren’t ghosts and the final Gathering stories.

Got any comments, suggestions or questions? Let me know! Also follow me on Twitter @glenn_matchett

Funko’s Pop! Disney: Inside Out Out in May

Meet the little voices inside your head! Inside Out is the latest Disney-Pixar 3D computer-animated feature!

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Funko has shown off their latest POP! releases with Pop! Disney: Inside Out which hit shelves in May. Inside Out is in theaters June 19th!

Pop! Disney Inside Out Anger Pop! Disney Inside Out Disgust Pop! Disney Inside Out Fear Pop! Disney Inside Out Joy Pop! Disney Inside Out Sadness

Funko’s Inside Out Fabrikations in May

Fabrikations is Funko‘s line of 6” soft sculpted figures. These soft sculpted figures were created with the collector in mind. Each Fabrikation Soft Sculpture is filled with a dense foam to achieve a high-end lush feel. In addition, each Fabrikation is weighted to allow each figure to stand securely on the surface of your choice. These two hit shelves in May.

Inside Out Fabrikations Anger Inside Out Fabrikations Sadness

Big Hero 6 Adds $2.24 million

big hero 6Taken 3 was top of the box office, earning $0.4 million in its first weekend.That’s the second-highest opening ever for a film in January. The film’s opening is 18% lower than Taken 2‘s $49 million debut.

Selma was second with $11.2 million, an impressive jump as the film has moved into wider release. In general other sites have said this is a disappointing wide release. The film has a 98% approval on Rotten Tomatoes, and an A+ Cinemascore.

In geekier films, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies earned $9.4 million this past weekend, and brought its domestic total to $236.5 million. The film has slowed its earnings and has $22 million to go before it passes The Desolation of Smaug. If it doesn’t earn that, it’ll be the lowest earning film of the series.

And closer to comic books, Big Hero 6 continues to earn, bringing in an additional $2.2 million, and its domestic total to just under $214.5 million.

Big Hero 6 has also done well and when you add in the foreign earnings (47.6% of its earnings) the film has brought in $409 million worldwide.

Big Hero 6 Easter Eggs

You can get Big Hero 6 on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere February 3, and Blu-ray Feb 24!

Marvel and Disney Kingdoms’ Cover to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad #1!

Coming in March 2015, the world famous, thrill-packed Disney attraction Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roars to life like never before as the newest Marvel and Disney Kingdoms comic series! Marvel has released a first look at Pasqual Ferry’s thunderous cover to the exciting first issue!

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is being brought to us by writer Dennis Hopeless and rising star artist Tigh Walker. The all-new 5-issue series reveals the never-before-told saga of how the dangerous gold mine of Big Thunder Mountain became the haunted legend it is today. Malevolent mine owner Barnabas T. Bullion is determined to shelter his teen daughter Abigail from the dangers of the Wild West. Little does he know his brave young daughter has other ideas – which include robbing her own father’s mine as a masked bandit!

Earthquakes! Floods! Dynamite-chewing goats! Can the denizens of Rainbow Ridge survive the clash between mankind’s greed and nature’s fury? And what is the protective power that dwells deep within the mysterious mountain?

BIG THUNDER MOUNTAIN RAILROAD #1 (OF 5)
Written by DENNIS HOPELESS
Penciled by TIGH WALKER
Cover by PASQUAL FERRY
On Sale March 2015!
Elements based on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad © Disney
32 PGS./All Ages …$3.99

Big_Thunder_Mountain_Railroad_1_Cover

Big Hero 6 Nabs a Golden Globe Nomination

big hero 6The nominations for the 72nd Golden Globe Awards were announced today. And while The Walking Dead was again robbed and overlooked by the Hollywood Foreign Press, and most comic movies not even on the radar to begin with, it was nice to see at least one comic related film get some love.

Big Hero 6 made the list, as it was nominated for “Best animated feature film.” It will go up against The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The Lego Movie.

Big Hero 6 was based on a comic from Marvel, though the film deviated significantly from the source material. It did have numerous winks and nods though to its roots.

Congrats to all the nominees!

Out of the films mentioned above, who do you think will win? Who do you want to win? Sound off in the comments below!

Disney Wants Us to Pirate the Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens Trailer (Updated)

star wars the force awakensThe first trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hits theaters this Friday, but unless you live around the nine Regal Cinemas, you’re going to miss out. This isn’t the first time this has been done to promote a Star Wars film. When The Phantom Menace trailer premiered in 1998, that was on 75 screens in 26 stats. Many fans showed up to watch it, and then left.

The nine locations are:

CA Irvine — Edwards Irvine Spectrum 22 & IMAX

 

CA San Diego — Edwards Mira Mesa Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX

 

GA Atlanta — Regal Atlantic Station Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX

 

IL Chicago — Regal City North Stadium 14 IMAX & RPX

 

NY New York — Regal Union Square Stadium 14

 

PA Warrington — Regal Warrington Crossing Stadium 22 & IMAX

 

TN Knoxville — Regal Pinnacle Stadium 18 IMAX & RPX

 

TX Houston — Edwards Houston Marq’E Stadium 23 IMAX & RPX

 

WA Seattle — Regal Thornton Place Stadium 14 & IMAX

 

Most likely Regal rolled up a large truck full of cash to make this happen, thinking it’ll drive individuals to the theaters, but in this day and age where the internet provides easy access, and access usually before planned, the move seems to be idiotic and shortsighted. If you don’t live around one of these theaters, then sucks to be you in Disney’s eyes. I guess major metropolitan areas like Dallas, Washington, DC, San Francisco, and many others’ money isn’t worth it to Disney, and movie chains.

The move is clearly to build hype around the trailer (not the movie) in a weekend that generally is a big one for movie theaters, Thanksgiving.

But, in the age of the internet, is this even worth it? Marvel hyped the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron to see it leak five days earlier. At first Marvel and Disney handed out “cease and desist” letters like candy, then eventually released the trailer officially. They are currently fighting Google to find out who leaked it. Chances are when the weekend is up, the trailer will be officially released, but before that happens, Disney is creating an artificial demand pirates are more than happy to deliver to.

There’s a chance more locations will be announced, but with just nine initially making the list, any more will come off as reacting to what’s likely a lot of head scratching, and anger. For such a huge movie that’s likely to be one of the highest grossing films of the year when it comes out, this seems like an unexpected, and unneeded bump in the road, and middle finger to those who have made Star Wars what it is, the devoted fans.

The Force Awakens will be released on December 18th, 2015.

Update: Starwars.com has released a much fuller list with quite a few cities missing off of the first update. It’s up to 30 theaters:

2014-11-24_1623

Big Hero 6 Drops to Second

big hero 6In its second week at the box office, Big Hero 6 dropped to second place, being knocked out of the top spot by Dumb and Dumber To. The film earned a little over $36 million domestically this weekend to bring its total to over $111.6 million.

Guardians of the Galaxy continued to bring in money earning over $300,00.

Here’s where everyone stands currently when it comes to “comic” movies in 2014.

Domestic Gross

1. Guardians of the Galaxy – $330.5 million
2. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $259.8 million
4. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $245.4 million
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $233.9 million
7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $208.5 million
8. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $202.9 million
9. Godzilla – $200.7 million
11. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $191.2 million
20. Big Hero 6 – $111.7 million
21. Mr. Peabody & Sherman $111.5 million
22. 300: Rise of An Empire – $106.6 million
24. Edge of Tomorrow – $100.2 million
36. Hercules – $72.7 million
45. Robocop – $58.6 million
104. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – $13.8 million
124. Snowpiercer – $4.6 million

Worldwide Gross

1. Transformers: Age of Extinction – $1.087.4 billion
2. Guardians of the Galaxy– $770.1 million
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past – $746 million
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier – $714.1 million
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – $709 million
7. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes – $707.8 million
9. Godzilla – $525 million
12. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – $474.4 million
14. Edge of Tomorrow – $369.2 million
16. 300: Rise of An Empire – $331.1 million
22. Mr. Peabody & Sherman – $272.9 million
25. Robocop – $242.7 million
26. Hercules – $242.1 million
38. Big Hero 6 – $148.4 million
56. Snowpiercer – $86.8 million
92. Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For – $39.4 million
254. We Are the Best! – $181,000

Spider-Man Beats the Avengers, Batman, and Superman

When it comes to dollars, it isn’t the comics that pays the bills for DC Comics or Marvel (or their parent companies), it’s the licensing of the 1000s of characters each character controls.

In May, License Global ranked Marvel parent company Disney at the top of a list of licensors with sales of around $41 billion in 2013. In contrast, DC’s parent company Warner Bros. was in seventh earning $6 billion. That’s not bad, but that’s a huge gap between the two.

Surprisingly though (or maybe not so much) Spider-Man is the strongest property according to the Licensing Letter. Spidey’s global retail sales is about $1.3 billion with the Avengers earning $325 million in 2013. DC’s Batman earned $494 million, while Superman earned $277 million.

What’s fascinating in the chart below are those earnings in the U.S. and Canada versus globally. Spider-Man and Batman are actually close for the former, and it’s the latter where the webhead takes off.

It’ll be interesting to see future reports, especially with Guardians of the Galaxy exploding this year at the box office.

licensing earningsPhoto credit: AP Images

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