Category Archives: Spotlight

Comics Creator Eleanor Davis Arrested at Georgia Regents Protest

Eleanor Davis, the creator behind You & a Bike & a Road, Libby’s Dad, How To Be Happy, and more was arrested at a protest at Tuesday’s Georgia Board of Regents meeting. They were charged with obstruction and trespassing charges.

Davis, along with others, were protesting “the system’s policies that restrict those without legal immigration status.” The policy bars attendance from five of the state’s top universities and paying in-state tuition at others.

The Board members chickened walked out of the meeting when the protest began but later returned.

The protest was a mix of “faith leaders and current and former University System of Georgia students.” Similar protests have been held at previous meetings and organized by the Atlanta-based Freedom University. That organization provides tuition-free college preparation for students impacted by this policy.

Davis has been released after the Georgia Civil Disobedience Fund paid her bail.

Advertisements

Listen to Catalyst Prime & Comics Diversity with Guests Christopher Priest, Joe Illidge, & Desiree Rodriguez on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

“Diversity” has turned into a marketing buzzword in comics and few deliver that behind and on the page. Lion Forge Comics‘ new Catalyst Prime universe of comics is actually delivering that in every sense with new characters we’ve never seen and a group of creators who bring varied perspectives to the page. Talking about this exciting new universe are guests Christopher Priest, Joe Illidge, and Desiree Rodriguez.

Christopher Priest is the legendary comic writer who has written for Marvel, DC, Valiant, and more. He was part of the group of creators who launched Milestone Media. Along with Illidge, Priest oversees the Catalyst Prime line of comics.

Joseph Phillip Illidge is a public speaker on the subjects of race, comics and the corporate politics of diversity. In addition to his coverage by The New York Times, CNN Money, the BBC and Publishers Weekly, Joseph has been a speaker at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Digital Book World’s forum, Digitize Your Career: Marketing and Editing 2.0, Skidmore College, The School of Visual Arts, Purdue University, on the panel “Diversity in Comics: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Sexual Orientation in American Comic Books” and at the Soho Gallery for Digital Art in New York City. Illidge is the Senior Editorial Manager for Lion Forge Comics.

Desiree Rodriguez is a pop culture critic who has written for Women Write About Comics, The Nerds of Color, is the co-host for the DC TV Classics podcast, and editorial assistant for Lion Forge’s Catalyst Prime initiative.

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month (ok, one day late this month)!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 42,000,000 in Europe

That number dips a little (2 million ) since last month, but generally is a rebound from the dip of the previous months before that. But, that’s still 12 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 240,808,941 individuals interested in comics.

Gender and Age

In April women accounted for 45.45% while men accounted for 54.55%. This month things shifted slightly with men remaining the same in population size and women dipped a little. Due to that, men account for 57.14% and women 42.86%.

Things are pretty similar to last month when it comes to the graph of gender and age though men retake a majority at age 65+.

Relationship Status

Things remain pretty steady since last month other than “married” which dropped 900,000 individuals and “unspecified” also dropped 1 million. That’s where most of the month’s change comes from.

Education

Things haven’t shifted here much compared to last month.

Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

Listen to Kristen Gudsnuk Discuss Her Comic Series Henchgirl on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

Mary Posa hates her job. She works long hours for little pay, no insurance, and worst of all, no respect. Her co-workers are jerks and her boss doesn’t appreciate her. He’s also a supervillain. And her parents… well, they’re the most famous superhero couple in Crepe City, along with her sister. Cursed with a conscience, Mary would give anything to be something other than a Henchgirl, but no matter what she does her plans always seem to go awry.

This past Wednesday writer and artist Kristen Gudsnuk joined Graphic Policy Radio to discuss her comic series Henchgirl with hosts Elana and Brett.

Kristen Gudsnuk is a New York City-based comic book writer and artist. She is the creator of Henchgirl, published by Dark Horse Comics. She’s also the illustrator for the children’s series VIP.

Exclusive: Lion Forge Reveals Interconnecting Variants for Superb #1 and Incidentals #1

We’ve got the exclusive reveal of two variant covers for Lion Forge‘s Superb #1 and Incidentals #1, two new debuts for their Catalyst Prime line of comics. The variants are part of a series of interconnecting series of covers being released.

Superb follows teenager Kayla Tate who is forced to move back to her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio where the mysterious superhero “Cosmosis” battles the supposedly-benevolent corporation Foresight. The superhero, Jonah has Down Syndrome and Lion Forge will be working with the National Down Syndrome Society on the portrayal of the character and will include educational material for readers.

Superb is written by David Walker and Sheena C. Howard with art by Ray-Anthony Height, LeBeau Underwood, and Veronica Gandini.

Incidentals follows billionaire Bo Vincent Chen who brings together a superhero team after The Event. Things don’t go according to plan.

Incidentals was created by screenwriter Ramon Govea who’ll also serve as the story consultant, will also bring on Larry Stroman (Penciller), Rob Stull (Inker), Snakebite Cortez (Colorist), and Saida Temofonte (Letterer) to work with writer Joe Casey.

Below are the 1:25 variants by Phil Jimenez.

Listen to The Problem with HydraCap: Secret Empire and the Truth about Hydra on Demand

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

This past week the first issue of Marvel‘s Secret Empire was released bringing together a year of build up revolving around Captain America actually being an agent of Hydra. On this episode of Graphic Policy Radio, we discuss the history of Captain America, the connection between Hydra and Nazism and what this comic storyline all means in the age of Trump.

Joining hosts Elana and Brett are Steven Attewell and J. A. Micheline.

Steven Attewell wrote that article everyone quotes about Captain America being a New Deal Democrat and can tell you which specific New Deal jobs program Steve Rogers worked for before he joined Project Rebirth. Attewell also pens the “People’s History of the Marvel Universe” column for Graphic Policy. He teaches public policy at CUNY’s Murphy Institute for Labor Studies. He is the founder of Race for the Iron Throne.

J. A. Micheline is a writer and critic who often writes about comics, particularly from a race and gender perspective. She is an Editor at Comics Bulletin. She has also contributed to VICE, The Guardian, and The AV Club.

Demo-Graphics: Comic Fandom on Facebook – European Edition

Each month I run demographic data of comic “fans” based on data mined from Facebook. Due to popular demand, I have split out and launched a “European edition” that runs on the 15th of every month!

This data is compiled using key terms, “likes,” users have as part of their profiles. Primarily terms are focused on generic ones such as “comics” or “graphic novels” or publishers. I stay away from specific characters, creators or series, because this does not indicate they are a comic book fan. Over 100 terms are used for this report.

This data is important in that it shows who the potential comic audience could be. This is not purchasers, these are people who have shown an affinity for comics and are potential purchasers and those with an interest.

Also, with this being online/technology, due to laws and restrictions, those under the age of 13 are likely underrepresented. Europe also has some other data restrictions that will be discussed below.

Facebook Population: Over 44,000,000 in Europe

After a decrease for a few months, this month’s results remain steady with no change. But, that’s still 7 million more individuals compared to what I reported for the United States in the beginning of the month. Worldwide, there’s an estimated 282,456,070 individuals interested in comics. That’s an increase of 9 million compared to last month.

Gender and Age

In December women accounted for 45.45% while men accounted for 54.55%. This month men saw some gains but things generally remained steady. Men account for 54.55% while women account for 45.45%.

With only a few changes, the below graph is similar to last month.

Relationship Status

There’s been some shift since last month. “In Relationship,” “Married” and “Civil Union” all increased a bit from the previous month.

Education

Things haven’t shifted here much compared to last month.

Gender Interest

And here’s where data privacy differs. In some European nations this information can’t be reported which means either removing those countries or just not reporting on this. I chose the latter for now.

And come back next month for a new look at the data and the first comparison of just Europe!

Take Part in the 2016 Freelance Comic Creator Survey

I’m proudly partnering with Heidi MacDonald of The Beat to launch a yearly survey to find out freelance rates for those in the comic book industry. This project launched after discussions with comic freelancers and we worked with them for a comprehensive survey that will yield actual information that we can make conclusions about.

The survey is COMPLETELY ANONYMOUS and absolutely no individual information will be shared.

The hope is to find real information that helps benefit creators as spotlighting information like this and bringing it into the public helps. Keeping it secret only benefits publishers.

You can fill out the survey below or through this link. Please only fill it out once (it’ll ask it if you want to take it again and that’s because otherwise it wouldn’t be anonymous!).

In an age of fake news and opinion, help us report actual facts that benefits the industry!

The Comics Are All Right: Marvel, Diversity and the Comic Market Part 2

I kicked off what will be at least a three-part series looking at the state of comics and a shift to more diverse characters, stories, and creators. The first part looked at 2016 as a whole for the comic market.

On a macro level more units were shipped with a lower average cover price resulting in an overall loss in dollars. Since we just have estimated numbers from diamond we don’t know sell through at the store level. These numbers also include some sales through services like Loot Crate which doesn’t benefit stores. It’s flawed, but the best we have.

I felt before moving on to individual series to really look at trends it was good to take one step down and explore shipped units and sales by month from 2015 to 2017.

When we look at the trends since January 2015 we see the overall volume has increased slightly, but generally has remained steady with some increases which we’ll discuss.

On average 7,361,111 comics have shipped for the top 300 while 8,147,778 for all comics shipped by Diamond.

What the above clearly shows is the sharp increase and hard crash in the comic cycle primarily due to major launches or events.

  • April 2015 – Star Wars from Marvel and Convergence by DC Comics launch
  • July 2015 – Secret Wars launches from Marvel
  • November 2015 to December 2015 – Secret Wars wraps launching new first issues for Marvel, Dark Knight III launches from DC Comics
  • June 2016 to November 2016 – Civil War II plus new first issue series for Marvel, DC Comics launches Rebirth

While I don’t want to call the above launches “stunts” we can see events and series launches boost sales creating an artificial bubble of sorts that eventually crashes. April 2015’s high was followed by a loss of about 33% for a September 2015 low. December 2015’s high also sees about 33% loss for a March 2016 low. With 2016’s “stunts” taking place over a longer period we should be about in the low from that event’s high just in time for upcoming events in April.

There is the issue of overships for Marvel which in December could have been in the 100s of thousands of issues. Even when taken into account, the amount shipped is equal to year’s past. So, volume is higher (we can quibble on overships), so again lets look at the cover price during the same time period.

In June 2016 we begin to see a drop of weighted average cover price of comics with lows through much of the rest of the year. These lows for cover price are the lowest since before 2015 and that dime an issue adds up. In Marvel’s interview with ICv2 they said October 2016 is when they heard/saw issues beginning. That’d be after four months of weighted cover prices dropping. So while comics were being sold, more needed to be sold and when it comes to shops with a physical space, that changes a lot of math as to dollars earned per square feet of retail space.

There’s clearly volatility looking at the monthly numbers driven by the ebbs and flows of events and relaunches and add in a decreased average cover price being sold. All of that together creates an uncertain time, but can we chalk up that volitility to any one publisher?

Below I took the reported top 300 units shipped and top 300 percentage of the market as reported by Comichron for each month.

We see Marvel on a decline since June 2016 with some of their lowest months in February and March 2017. When Marvel says they see sales diminishing, this could be what they’re discussing and again look at the massive drop for them from June 2016 to September 2016. That’s a decrease of about 1.8 million units.

Compare that to DC Comics increase which begins to spike in June 2016 before things stop from falling in December 2016. Though DC is doing better in the latter part of 2016 than at any point since this data from January 2015 it’s still not enough to make up for the Marvel freefall. Remember DC’s cover prices have been $2.99 compared to Marvel’s $3.99 so again units being sold for an average cover price that has decreased impacts perceptions.

And we’re not seeing other publishers picking up the market. Most remain pretty steady with spikes here and there due to one comic with a solid release (an example being the recent The Walking Dead 25 cent promotion for Image).

But what about dollars? Below is a rough estimated of what the above equals in dollars.

From the highs of June 2016 from Marvel and DC each publisher has dropped about $8 million and $4 million by the time March 2017 has rolled around. We see a decrease in units resulting in a decrease in dollars.

So, while the big picture for 2016 looks mixed, we can see from the above that the latter half of 2016 has seen the bubble pop resulting in a sharp slide to where we are in 2017.

But what isn’t working? For that we need to look at each individual series. We’ll explore that in part 3!

Underrated: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice Ultimate Edition.


 

Batman v Superman Dawn of JusticeLet’s not beat around the bush here: the theatrical cut of Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice wasn’t the greatest superhero movie of last year and while it wasn’t the worst comic book movie of the year, it was perhaps one of the most disappointing – for me at least. I had expected so much from the movie, because it was fucking Batman and Superman on the big screen together. And… well we got an average movie. There were parts that were great (Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot), and parts that were pretty good (Henry Cavil), and… some less than savoury parts. I left the theatre feeling quite unsure of how I felt; did the good outweigh the bad, or did it balance it out? What didn’t click for me? Could the movie had been better?

Shortly after seeing the movie I found out that there would be an R rated extended cut of the film released for home media, and I wondered whether that would do anything to set the film right.

As it turns out, it did.

Almost every problem I had with the pacing, plot and direction of the movie was made better by the extended cut. I still wasn’t happy that the entire movie had effectively been told in short form in the trailers, but there wasn’t much I could do about that other than not watching the trailer in the first palace. Since that wasn’t an option…

Look, I get that Warner Brothers probably had concerns about audiences sitting for an extended period of time… I mean the near two and a half hour run time of the theatrical cut was the longest movie in recent memory, and understandably Warner’s were concerned about audiences attention spans. It’s not like we’d ever sit patiently during Lord Of The Rings, or binge watch five hours of Daredevil in one sitting. That’s just not who we are. And to think we’d rather have  a great long movie longer than a slightly shorter average one would never cross their minds. 

It’s okay, though.

Whether it’s thanks to the success of Deadpool, or the critical slamming early on, or both, the Extended cut of the movie is a much better story in every way. The plot holes that resulted from the opening sequence are fixed because of the additional footage showing the soldiers using flame throwers to incinerate bodies to mimic Superman’s heat vision, if you wrote the movie off based on the theatrical cut then you’re missing one of the better superhero movies of last year.

Yeah, I said it.

The Extended edition is a better move than Civil War is, but because the real version of the film was never released in theaters, the movie as a whole got quite an unfair reputation – albeit fairly earned based on the expectations people had for this supposed juggernaut of a film, and what was initially delivered. If you’ve only seen the theatrical cut of the movie, then give the Extended edition a shot. The additional scenes add significantly to the overall experience, delivering a much better experience than anything you’d have expected from the theatrical experience.

« Older Entries